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Old July 21st, 2015, 07:30 PM   #2701
LtBk
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Which third-world countries are you referring to? You mean the ones that don't really have any passenger service like most of Latin America or Africa? I'm not denying DB has problems and there is room for improvement, but it seems like some of you guys are exaggerating the problems. Than again this is the internet.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 08:49 PM   #2702
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I think it's fair to say (based on the comments) that DB is doing a poor job considering this is Germany, one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, usually known for it's work ethic and punctuality.

I've also personally had the experience of waiting for an ICE train that was 30 minutes late. Then I though it was an exception but it seems it isn't.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 09:17 PM   #2703
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The service nowadays may be flawed and lacking the necessary regularity, but I still think DB's concept of service, including the integration of the whole public transport network, is still setting the example for most countries.

Plus, we should specify if the long distance or the regional service are flawed (and divide by regions).
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Old July 21st, 2015, 09:33 PM   #2704
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
I think it's fair to say (based on the comments) that DB is doing a poor job considering this is Germany, one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, usually known for it's work ethic and punctuality.

I've also personally had the experience of waiting for an ICE train that was 30 minutes late. Then I though it was an exception but it seems it isn't.
I live in one of the richest countries of the world(USA) and passenger rail doesn't really exist for most of the population.

Last edited by LtBk; July 21st, 2015 at 09:38 PM.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 10:24 PM   #2705
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Other than Swiss and perhaps Austrians is there anyone else in Europe who rates their own rail system as good or very good?
Yeah Brit here. I rate the train services I use pretty highly, these being the London-Bournemouth services.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 10:41 PM   #2706
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5/10 is probably a more accurate assessment for rail services in Germany. After all, Deutsche Bahn its competitors don't do all things wrong. Yet, things tend to get worse and that's because the rail system in Germany is being run down systematically by the DB management which chases the short-term profits only.
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Old July 21st, 2015, 11:00 PM   #2707
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Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
5/10 is probably a more accurate assessment for rail services in Germany. After all, Deutsche Bahn its competitors don't do all things wrong. Yet, things tend to get worse and that's because the rail system in Germany is being run down systematically by the DB management which chases the short-term profits only.
This is a story that tends not to end well (cf. in the U.S. the Penn Central, Milwaukee Road...)
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 05:55 AM   #2708
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flierfy View Post
5/10 is probably a more accurate assessment for rail services in Germany. After all, Deutsche Bahn its competitors don't do all things wrong. Yet, things tend to get worse and that's because the rail system in Germany is being run down systematically by the DB management which chases the short-term profits only.
So who is to be blamed? Is there any outside pressure on DB fixing up stuff?
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 09:41 AM   #2709
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
I think it's fair to say (based on the comments) that DB is doing a poor job considering this is Germany, one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, usually known for it's work ethic and punctuality.

I've also personally had the experience of waiting for an ICE train that was 30 minutes late. Then I though it was an exception but it seems it isn't.
No it's not an exception. It's a regular behaviour on ICE lines. And 30 minutes is practically nothing when the ICE is in question. In summer of 2014. I had the unforgettable trip from Düsseldorf nach Berlin, not only that the train was late for good 114 minutes, but the ICE had stopped in a tiny village station which is rarely served even by DB Regio trains, and what was really interesting is that there was another ICE waiting on the opposite track (?!?!???), people from this waiting ICE were instructed to leave the train and enter into ours, then we added another 27 minutes in waiting the third train to come and to bring the fresh crew (including the train driver) for our ICE in order to continue the trip.
DB has a very bad communication with users of their services, because they have a complete monopoly over the much of the network, and they really do not care about the quality, punctuality and overall package of their services, they care only about the money. For example, ICE's between Berlin (Leipzig) and München should be not called ICE trains at all, and it's the just another trick to charge more money for the non existent service, E in the ICE's name means Express, and speeds of average 100km/h (and it goes slower on some sections) between Naumburg and Bamberg can not be called high speeds, but DB is charging it like it's the proper ICE line.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 10:05 AM   #2710
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
I live in one of the richest countries of the world(USA) and passenger rail doesn't really exist for most of the population.
It's a matter of what you expect from your rail network. In the US, passenger rail transport is neglected on purpose, the US is a car-friendly society. Rail transport is for the urban poor. In Germany this has been different so far, although I fear that it is moving in the same direction. Politicians and DB don't seem to care for passenger rail transport much but large parts of the population actually do and their demands are being failed. It is as SturmBeobachter said, everyone who uses long-distance trains from time to time has experienced the kind of things that he described (running more than 30 min late, having to switch the train mid-journey, overcrowded trains, ...). Regional trains are no better, as they have to wait constantly for delayed trains to overtake them or other problems.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 11:12 AM   #2711
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Well, if you take a DB long distance "there is always something to happen", which will delay the train. Either the train brakes down or an infrastructure problem is bringing the train to a halt.
I'd be glad if this Homburg guy is sent to the desert.
Honestly, in China the "culprits" of massive delays would go to prison at one point.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 12:24 PM   #2712
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Some DB punctuality figures:
  • Roughly 95% of DB Regio trains arrive within 5 minutes of the time table
  • Roughly 99% of DB Regio trains arrive within 15 minutes of the time table
  • Roughly 79% of DB Fernverkehr trains arrive within 5 minutes of the time table
  • Roughly 92% of DB Fernverkehr trains arrive within 15 minutes of the time table
These figures only account for the trains that actually ran; cancelled trains are not included!
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 01:56 PM   #2713
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While it is true that whining in self-pity is a favorite pastime of Germans, I think we are right to say that in a country which has a GDP the size of Germoney's, you can expect more services, more reliable services, and more state-of-the-art amenities. As the statistics show, long-distance services are much more prone to run late.
Also note that the statistics above are misleading. DB counts the delay at each stop along the way. Therefore a train that leaves on time, but starts running late halfway through its parcours and continues to do so until the end of the line counts as 50% late only, whereas a passenger who has taken that train for more than halfway will consider the train late, period.
Therefore we are not exaggerating that despite the above quoted 92% punctuality, actually delays of 15-20 minutes are more the rule than exact punctuality.
And the reason Spain and France also appear at the end of the investment line is because after having invested heavily into HSR, following the 2008 crisis, both countries decisively slowed their investments. Germany on the other hand was spending rather little on rail infrastructure even before 2008 and continues to so now that the German economy is doing well again.
Before 2008, the German government was preparing DB for a launch at the stock market. Due to the slump in investments, it was decided that the prospects for raising money on the stock market for DB were not bright. However, DB has continued to operate as if it wanted to launch at the stock market tomorrow, postponing investments, neglecting proper maintenance of infrastructure and rolling stock, etc.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 02:12 PM   #2714
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So who is to be blamed? Is there any outside pressure on DB fixing up stuff?
Although I am in general not a friend of a competition in the rail sector because it leads to cherry picking, I must say that it worked on the Praha - Ostrava line in the CZ and the Czech Railways had to react massively to the competiton which increased the overall quality substantially.

I guess that the losses from the monopolistic behaviour are higher than the losses from not utilizing the network effect and that perhaps it is possible to manage the network even when allowing for competition. Unrestricted monopoly is very bad for the consumer surplus and quality.

So first of all I would start by completely separating the DB Netz and DB. DB Netz should be completely separate entity not anymore used to subsidize DB operations and activities and certainly not expansion abroad or utilized for protectionist measures in Germany.

What is sad about this is that German government fully supports the monopolist. It supports the policy of one entity, when the DB Netz money are used for DB activities abroad. And mind you. DB is thus entering competition abroad and German government supports this opening for competition on the EU level, so that DB could profit and expand, while it protects its domestic market. This is the core of the whole problem. The nationalistic approach of the German government and German institutions.

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Old July 22nd, 2015, 02:40 PM   #2715
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However, DB has continued to operate as if it wanted to launch at the stock market tomorrow, postponing investments, neglecting proper maintenance of infrastructure and rolling stock, etc.
Because who wouldn't want to marry an ugly bride, right?
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 02:46 PM   #2716
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Although I am in general not a friend of a competition in the rail sector because it leads to cherry picking, I must say that it worked on the Praha - Ostrava line in the CZ and the Czech Railways had to react massively to the competiton which increased the overall quality substantially.
Very spot on. Same happened in Austria on the Salzburg - Wien line. As Baron Hirsch mentioned, ÖBB offers free wifi on its RJ trains, but that is only after the privat competitor WESTbahn started to offer it.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 06:19 PM   #2717
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How often do you guys use the ICE trains?
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 06:47 PM   #2718
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I was using it every day, and minimum was once a week.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 06:50 PM   #2719
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Very spot on. Same happened in Austria on the Salzburg - Wien line. As Baron Hirsch mentioned, ÖBB offers free wifi on its RJ trains, but that is only after the privat competitor WESTbahn started to offer it.
But FREE Wi-Fi is NOWHERE to be found in DB network (except a few HBF's with 30 minutes free Wi-Fi in 24hours). Only expensive hotspots, which are most of the time functioning very poor.
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Old July 22nd, 2015, 06:59 PM   #2720
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During the last year, I had to commute about 30 times from Berlin 500 km to West Germany. I must say that mostly I arrived with less than 30 minutes delay, which felt sort of like right on time. 3 times maybe I arrived with 90-120 minutes delay. While sometimes I cursed that the ride took nominally 3 1/2 hours while in France a similar distance on TGV takes 2 hours, I also realized that the same distance into the Czech Republic would take about 6 1/2 hours.
On the upside, most ICE still have sit-down restaurants, unlike the TGV, where you have to eat plastic food standing up. However variety and quality of food with DB falls short of Czech Rail's.

Concerning private competition: a few companies such as HKX have tried to offer their own long-distance services, but most have failed to seriously challenge DB. Usually they started out with rather cheap or old rolling stock and could not offer a comprehensive service, but just a few departures per day. None dared major investments like NTV ITalia, Westbahn or in CR. A new private carrier is now preparing to launch services on 3 routes from Stuttgart as of Dec 2015, but so far no-one knows where their rolling stock is supposed to come from: http://www.derschnellzug.de/ueber-un...-informationen

Last edited by Baron Hirsch; July 22nd, 2015 at 08:12 PM.
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