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Toward a New Era of Rail: DB and ÖBB Enhance Routes, Comfort, and Night Services

Toward a New Era of Rail: DB and ÖBB Enhance Routes, Comfort, and Night Services
photo: Deutsche Bahn AG/Toward a New Era of Rail: DB and ÖBB Enhance Routes, Comfort, and Night Services
11 / 09 / 2023

Rail traffic between Germany and Austria is thriving. By the end of the year, Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) anticipate around a 40 percent increase in passengers compared to five years ago. Consequently, the two companies are expanding their cross-border long-distance services between the neighboring countries.

Stefanie Berk, Member of the Management Board for Marketing and Sales at DB Fernverkehr, said, "The shift towards rail travel remains strong. An increasing number of people in both Germany and Austria are choosing the environmentally-friendly train for journeys between these neighboring countries. Our goal is to stimulate even more growth with new trains, enhanced comfort, and additional routes. This can only be accomplished through the collaborative efforts of the railway companies involved. The expansion of the international timetable, in close collaboration with ÖBB, is our response to this rising demand."

Dr. Sabine Stock, ÖBB Board Member for Passenger Transport, stated, "By 2030, we aim to double the passenger count on Nightjet services. Deutsche Bahn is pivotal in this endeavor, given that many Nightjet routes either commence or conclude in Germany. The newly introduced routes from Berlin to Paris and Brussels, along with the deployment of the 'new generation Nightjet' in Germany, underscore the confidence both DB and ÖBB have in the night train service."

Beginning with the December timetable change, there will be an added ICE connection between Berlin and Vienna via Nuremberg. Extending this route to Hamburg will also provide the city with an additional daily link to Vienna. Furthermore, starting in December, DB and ÖBB will operate the ICE route from Berlin via Frankfurt/Main and Stuttgart to Innsbruck daily, instead of only on weekends. Long-distance trains between Munich and Salzburg will be available hourly from around 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Additionally, there will be bi-hourly services from Innsbruck to Munich between 6:40 a.m. and 9:40 p.m. daily.

Both ÖBB and DB are ramping up investments in new train models. Starting with the upcoming timetable change, the Frankfurt/Main-Munich-Salzburg-Klagenfurt route will utilize ICE 4 trains, enhancing both comfort and reliability for long-distance travel. The new-generation Railjets, which are scheduled to run between Munich and Italy starting in April 2024, will also offer a greater number of quality seats. These state-of-the-art trains promise a comfort level comparable to the ICE.

ÖBB and DB are deepening their collaboration in nighttime services. From December onwards, they will introduce Nightjet routes from Berlin and Vienna to Paris and Brussels. Initially, these services will operate thrice a week, with plans to run them daily by the fall of 2024. This expansion doubles the Nightjet routes available for Berlin.

From the onset of 2024, brand-new ÖBB Nightjet trains will be introduced. Their initial deployment will be on the Hamburg-Vienna and Hamburg-Innsbruck routes. These advanced Nightjets, capable of speeds up to 230 km/h, will offer unprecedented comfort, featuring individual "mini cabins" in the couchette and level boarding for passengers with mobility challenges. More routes encompassing Austria, Germany, and Italy are slated to be launched throughout 2024.

Source: Deutsche Bahn