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Germany: Deutsche Bahn Speeds Up ‘ICE’ Trains on Several Routes

Deutsche Bahn’s new winter timetable is valid starting today. It includes four new ‘ICE Sprinter’ connections. On several routes, the travel times just decreased. On top of it all, they added several direct railroad connections, including international ones.

Berlin, December 12th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Going from Berlin to Hamburg by train used to take one hour and 59 minutes before Deutsche Bahn (DB) spent months, and loads of cash, to renovate its train tracks between the two largest cities in Germany. During the construction phase, some 400 kilometers (248 miles) of train tracks were replaced on both sides while the trains were diverted, which meant the trip took longer. Now that the renovation has been completed and the new time table kicks in, we are back at 1:59 hrs..

Herds of Buffalos

In theory, if the tracks were built for high speeds, DB’s ‘ICE’ bullet trains would be able to reach Hamburg (or Berlin, on the way back) in under an hour, at their top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph), but the tracks on this route only support 230 km/h (143 mph). What this means is that the future has not arrived yet. Between Berlin and Hamburg, we are still travelling in the 20th century. But those ‘ICEs’ are faster elsewhere.

DB’s ‘ICE’ trains are comfortable unless they are overcrowded. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Deutsche Bahn just added four ‘ICE Sprinter’ connections and decreased the travel time on those routes. ‘Sprinters’ are like herds of buffalos, meaning they pick up speed quickly and do not stop for anything until they reach their destination. From Bonn and Cologne to Berlin, or vice versa, they just brought the trip duration down by up to 30 minutes to 3:55 hours.

More Eco-Friendly

The trip from Düsseldorf via Cologne to Munich used to take well over four hours. Now, they do it in 3:55 hours as well. But those extra-fast ‘ICE Sprinters’ connect those cities only twice per day. Once per day, another ‘ICE Sprinter’ goes from Hamburg to Frankfurt Airport in 3:45 hours. DB’s offer could have been more attractive than a flight if it was fast enough to underbid 120 minutes of checking in and waiting at Hamburg Airport plus 45 minutes of flying to Frankfurt. It does not, but it is more eco-friendly. The fourth new ‘ICE Sprinter’ connects Munich to Berlin, with a travel time of 3:55 hours. Obviously, almost all new ‘Sprinter’ routes have the same travel time, by coincidence.

‘ICE’ trains get people from A to B in style. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

There are several new direct train connections. In these cases, slower ‘IC’ trains will do the job. From now on, the Ruhr area can be reached from Eastern Frisia or from Bremerhaven without changing trains. Getting from Lübeck to North Rhine-Westphalia is now easy as pie. So is going from Cologne and Bielefeld to Stralsund and Binz at the Baltic Sea coast via Berlin.

Vienna and Zurich

In cooperation with neighboring countries, Deutsche Bahn is offering more international railroad connections which are supposed to be faster too. There are trains from Hamburg to both Aarhus and Copenhagen in Denmark which leave every two hours. There will be more trains on the route from Frankfurt to Lindau, Innsbruck and Vienna in Austria, and from Munich via Lindau to Zurich in neighboring Switzerland. How about DB’s new night trains from Zurich via Cologne to Amsterdam, or from Vienna via Munich to Paris? Discovering Europe just became more comfortable.

All of DB’s railroad connections, and those offered by their partners can be found on the company’s website. Tickets may be purchased there too.

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