After the end of the warning strike by the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL), rail traffic in Germany is largely stable. “The trains are running according to the timetable again,” said a railway spokesman on Saturday afternoon in Berlin. Long-distance, regional and S-Bahn traffic has been running again since early morning.
However, passengers have to prepare for full trains for the rest of the weekend. The railway recommends that you continue to find out about your own connections before you start your journey.
While rail traffic is starting up again, Deutsche Bahn is looking ahead to the timetable change this Sunday. With new long-distance and regional connections as well as additional trains on the rails, the offer for passengers should improve. However, prices for long-distance transport are also increasing for some of the tickets.
The union's second industrial action under its boss Claus Weselsky in the current collective bargaining round lasted until late Friday evening. Weselsky has promised to refrain from further warning strikes for the rest of the year and up to and including January 7th. After that, longer and more intense labor disputes will continue. Until then, the railway has time to take care of other issues.
More offerings through additional connections
The situation on the rails remains tense for passengers even without warning strikes. The new timetable is intended to provide more services through additional long-distance connections, especially on the routes between Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia and between Berlin and Munich. The disruption-prone train splitting in Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia, will then only occur half as often as before. Berlin will also receive a second transfer-free ICE connection to Vienna.
Together with the Austrian Federal Railways and other railway companies, the railway also offers a night train connection between Berlin and Brussels and Paris three times a week. The first of the so-called Nightjets takes off from the capital on Monday evening.
The timetable change also brings new offers between Leipzig, Jena and Nuremberg. In the future, five IC connections per day will be offered through the Saale Valley, it was said. So far there has only been one trip each. For the first time, Magdeburg will have a connection to Hamburg as well as more direct connections to Berlin and Rostock.
Tickets for the new timetable have been available since October. Tickets can still be purchased at the old price up to and including this Saturday. Higher fares apply from Sunday. The so-called flex tickets then cost an average of 4.9 percent more. The tickets are called that because they are intended to give passengers a certain degree of flexibility, especially when choosing trains.
Deutsche Bahn wants to renovate important rail corridors
The price for the Bahncard 25 increases by three euros when the timetable changes, it then costs 62.90 euros annually. With it, owners receive a 25 percent discount on every train journey they book. However, the price for the Bahncard 50, with which single tickets cost half as much, remains the same. There is also no change in the railway's saver and super saver prices. The additional offers in long-distance transport are made possible by a constant influx of new ICE trains.
However, the timetable change is unlikely to change the many delays. In November, only every second long-distance train ran without major delays - the lowest punctuality rate in eight years. The main reason for this is the overloaded and in many places dilapidated route network. The railway wants to tackle the problem starting next year with the comprehensive renovation of important rail corridors.
First up is the Riedbahn between Frankfurt and Mannheim, which will be closed for around six months for construction work. There will also be closures lasting several months next year between Hamburg and Berlin, where general renovation work is to be prepared for the following year.