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Changes to routes taken by ICE trains

Many long-standing ICE routes are to be extended or amended on the German rail timetable

| Last Updated: about 1 month ago

According to the updated info on its own online Arrivals/Departures service, the German national operator DB will be implementing some significant changes to the long-standing service patterns and routes of its high-speed ICE services.

The new pan-European timetable comes into effect from December 11th and two key changes will apparently come into effect from this date:

(1) The majority of the services in both directions, on the Basel - Freiburg - Karlsruhe - Mannheim - Frankfurt Flughafen - Köln Hbf route (route 43) are to be extended to/from Hamburg with departures from Hamburg Hbf at 08:45; 10:45; 12:45 and 16:45.
These extensions will also therefore be providing a hugely enhanced service between Switzerland and multiple major stations in north-west Germany including Bremen Hbf, Dortmund Hbf, Essen Hbf and Dusseldorf Hbf.

(2) The trains on route 47, Dortmund ↔ Stuttgart, are to be extended to/from München/Munich with calls in Ulm and Augsburg. So these three cities gain up to six additional connections per day with Köln/Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen and Dortmund.
Though the trains on this route call at Köln Messe/Deutz station instead of Köln Hbf.
Also a quirky feature of this timetable adjustment is that in most odd hours during the day, Köln/Cologne will have three departures heading to München/Munich;

  • these trains from Köln Messe/Deutz on a route via Ulm and Augsburg;
  • the trains from Köln Hbf. on a route via Ulm and Augsburg;
  • other trains from Köln Messe/Deutz on the route via Wurzburg and Nurnberg.
    But in even hours only the trains on that route via Wurzburg will be available.

Heading north in most hours two trains will be departing München hbf for either Köln Messe/Deutz or Köln Hbf.

from April 1st:

Looking at the DB online Arrivals/Departures service major changes are planned for many of the long-standing ICE services which travel on the routes between Frankfurt (Main) and Mannheim from April 1st onwards.

1. ICE route 12 is the Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) ↔ Mannheim - Karlsruhe, Freiburg - Basel - Bern - Interlaken route, but from April 1st Bern and Interlaken will be primarily served by ICE trains taking a Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) ↔ Mannheim - Karlsruhe, Freiburg - Basel - Bern - Interlaken route.
So the current 1 x train per day on the Hamburg ↔ Interlaken route becomes a three trains per day service, with other departures being turned around in Basel.

2. So with the long-standing route 20, Hamburg ↔ Zurich - Chur, having its Swiss destinations switched to Bern and Interlaken, from April 1st Zurich and Chur will be served by major change to route 11.
This Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main) ↔ Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - München route is apparently being switched to operate Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main) ↔ Mannheim - Karlsruhe, Freiburg - Basel - Zurich - Chur.

3. The Frankfurt (Main) ↔ München section of route 11 is to be covered by a change to route 22.
Instead of being a Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Flughafen - ↔ Mannheim - Stuttgart route, it will become a
Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) ↔ Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - München route.

4. So that an hourly service can be maintained between Frankfurt Flughafen and Stuttgart, route 15 is to extended beyond Frankfurt (Main) to provide a Berlin - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Flughafen ↔ Mannheim - Stuttgart route.

5. So that Kassel can maintain its hourly connection with Frankfurt (Main) hbf, despite that change to route 12, the route 13 service of Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt (Sud) - Frankfurt Flughafen becomes a Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) hbf route.

Summary of service change impacts:

If correct, these timetable revisions from April 1st will result in the following key changes to connections between stations and destinations:

  • Zurich will be linked by daytime trains to Berlin and Leipzig.
  • Zurich will longer have direct daytime trains to/from Hannover and Kassel and the one remaining direct daytime link to/from Hamburg will be by the daily EC service on the route via Mainz and Bonn.
  • Leipzig will lose its direct link with Stuttgart, but will gain trains to/from Karlsruhe, Freiburg and Basel.
  • Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport will lose its connections to/from Kassel and Hannover and its service to/from Hamburg will be on the longer route via Koln/Cologne.
  • Hannover and Kassel will gain faster links with Stuttgart. new direct connections to/from Ulm and an enhanced service to/from Augsburg.

Simon Harper

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