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A day with Deutsche Bahn…

…or: An instruction how to learn to hate the service of Deutsche Bahn. It all
began with a planned trip to Munich from Bern. No problem. Just take the
14:02 train from Bern to Zurich HB and then switch trains to Munich Central
station. 5h42m travel time and less hassle with train switching… WRONG!

Well… the first shock came when I tried to purchase the ticket: I got informed that this connection (EC191) no longer is available. Upon my question about which connection to take otherwise, I got the info that just two minutes later, I could take a well-known connection to Munich via Basel, Mannheim, Stuttgart, Ulm, Augsburg… using two ICE-connections.

Now you oughta know that the ICE is the fastest train available in Germany and it’s also their most exclusive product thus also more expensive. So one would expect that it’s just entering the train and relax while you fly the country to your destination within a shorter time. So much for the theory. Now here’s what really happened…

We write Friday, May 4th

14:04 – Departure in Bern. The train exactly leaves at 14:04 – Swiss punctuality…

14:57 – The train arrives at the exact planned time (14:57) at Basel SBB – Swiss punctuality…

15:08 – The ICE60 in the direction to Mannheim should leave right now… but it does not! Instead our journey starts at 15:16 – German unpunctuality, but hey, it’s still in the limit, so no bickering yet…

17:27 – The ICE60 arrives at mannheim with a whopping 18 minutes delay. *sigh* – I hate stressing two platforms over to the connecting ICE611 that’s about to depart at 17:32 to Munich. Fortunately(?) the train still isn’t at the platform yet so chances are almost 100% to catch the connecting train!

17:32 – Looking at the platform announcement display I quickly saw why the train wasn’t there yet. 25 minutes delay… </irony on>*surprisibus giganticus!*</irony off>

Okay… what we see here is the classical delay scheme of Deutsche Bahn. 25 Minutes, well, that’s quite a number but not unfamiliar when travelling with Deutsche Bahn…


17:34 – Okay, my train is about to arrive at 17:57 – Let’s have a snack at McDonalds… and wash it down with some Red Bull Special Edition Blueberry…

17:52 – back at the platform the info system still only points out 25 minutes delay… so far so good, in 5 minutes I’ll ride the rocket to Munich… FINALLY!

17:57 – Hmm… the platform track seems awkwardly empty while the platform itself is cramming with people more and more… where’s that pesky train… darn it!

18:07 – An announcement is telling, that the train is still delayed while other regional trains are passing that platform in between. The info system still tells that the train, that’s supposed to arrive at 17:32 is only 25 minutes delayed which have passed by already… *annoyed grunt*

18:17 – Note to myself: “When the Deutsche Bahn writes out 25 Minutes delay to the ionformation system, they REALLY mean 45 minutes…” *sarcastic cough*

18:27 – The station announcer instantly that the delayed train will soon arrive at the changed platform (it’s 4 instead of 5 as a regional train has blocked plattform 5 meanwhile…)

18:32 – After only 60 minutes delay (big sarcasm – for those who can’t tell…) the train finally arrives. Annoyed passengers are exiting the train, some are in panic as they don’t know how to travel on from Mannheim to their target destinations as the connecting trains are long gone by now. But nothing to care about right now, just entering that freaking train!

18:34 – The train conductor seems in a horrorful hurry and just stops 2 Minutes at Mannheim which is a connection node for a number of foreign trains by the way… But we depart. The humming sound of the acceleration unit tells me: We’re on my way to fun! *dozing away for some minutes of relaxing sleep while the train rushes over the tracks with 230kmph*

19:17 – We finally arrive in Stuttgart… with only 70 Minutes Delay.. but who gives a f**k about another 10 minutes when the train is already delayed 60 minutes…


19:34 – The train staff informs that every passenger can claim a free sparkling water at the bord restaurant for the delay issues… Wow… Is this the buyout offer from Deutsche Bahn so that passengers won’t claim for refund?!

20:17 – We arrive in Ulm… nothing special happened so far… however there’s a nice sundawn visible…


20:53 – We arrive in Augsburg. In the meantime the ticket controllers gave it a try to check for valid tickets and handing out the passenger rights forms to fill out and claim for a partial refund of the transportation fares. Somehow the train conductor managed to drive so fast (270kmph instead of 230kmph) that we rushed in 10 minutes again…

21:04 – On our way to München-Pasing the train staff informs that every passenger can claim a free sparkling water at the bord restaurant for the delay issues… again<irony on>WOHOOO my day is saved! Way to go!</irony off>

21:19 – Arrival in München-Pasing – Time to do a quick toilet run (unfortunately I had to pass through three coaches as the toilets in the two coaches in betwen were already out of order… no surprise here anyways!)

21:27 – Here we are… the train arrived at Munich with just 60 Minutes delay *sarcastic cough again*

Interesting to see that the Deutsche Bahn has still such a catastrophic customer satisfaction management and leaves hundreds of passengers standing at the platform and informing them very bad. I am in Switzerland for more than 4 years now and I can’t remember of ANY of such epic fails at the SBB. They instantly act upon bigger delays by activation of additional trains or Replacement trains to deliver the wating customers to their destination. Of course they can’t do so with trains connecting to foreign destinations but hey, the longest delay the SBB had in the time I live here was a mere 15 Minutes and this because of a power line problem which they could fix very quickly.

And one more thing: If you know that passengers are already pissed off such big delays you’d better not pour in more oil into the fire by telling them that they can claim for a free water at the bord restaurant. You’d better fork out some crew members to serve it to the passengers! Absolutely NO annoyed passenger is willing to squeeze through 4 or more coaches to claim their drink… also one thing you could learn from the SBB which offers a Faood&Drinks service at your place even in second class! Way to go SBB!

Maybe Deutsche Bahn should take a training at SBB in order how to manage a comfortable train network and how to take care for paying customers!

The rest of the evening was quite good! Meeting up with Christopher, our trip continud to the Astron (a local pub with dart capabilites) where we played some 501 games and killed some beers and Ouzos.

At noon it was time to celebrate Christopher’s 31st b-day and it was fun!





May 4, 2012 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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