Decades after their introduction, the dining cars of Deutsche Bahn's intercity trains are literally being thrown off the rails at the end of the year. Upon request on Friday, the group confirmed information from stern that all existing on-board bistro cars will be retired from the timetable change on December 10, 2023. The on-board restaurants and bistros on the ICE trains are not affected by the decision. The dining cars will also remain on Eurocity connections operated by foreign railways (for example from Hamburg to Prague).
“The bistro cars in the Intercity 1 fleet are equipped with uncomfortable revolving folding doors that are difficult to open, especially for travelers with a lot of luggage or older people,” a railway spokesman told the star. “In addition, the wagons, which are now prone to failure, have reached the end of their service life and will be taken out of service when the timetable changes in December 2023.”
So far, the on-board bistros have been used on most intercity connections on which decades-old, classic single-decker passenger cars run in locomotive-hauled trains (Intercity 1), for example on the lines to Westerland on Sylt or from Hamburg to Cologne. Intercity connections with double-decker trains, for example from Cologne to Norddeich or from Dresden to Warnemünde, do not have a dining car anyway. There is only a comparatively limited gastronomic offering available here - there are no warm dishes there.
After the on-board bistros are closed, travelers on classic intercity trains will also have to be prepared for the reduced snack offering, even if they sometimes travel eight hours or more across Germany. “On the relevant connections, the gastronomic service runs through compartment sales and at-seat service with a mobile caddy,” the railway spokesman continued.
With the commissioning of new trains such as the ICE-L (previous project name ECx) from 2024, the more extensive gastronomic offering on the tracks will again be offered on more connections - a dining car is available in these new models. The railway currently expects that the remaining Intercity 1 trains will be completely phased out by 2026 and replaced with new wagons.
Dining cars have been one of the quality features of long-distance trains since the introduction of the Intercity network in the 1970s. Over the years, more and more intercity connections have been converted to ICEs, and the Intercity now largely serves routes away from the main routes between the country's largest cities.
You can read all information about the new Deutsche Bahn timetable here.