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29.01.2016 0:0 Uhr Berlin

New passenger record for international long-distance trains to France, Belgium and the Netherlands

International high-speed rail takes further market share from air travel • Stuttgart–Paris up to 30 minutes quicker

International long-distance transport from Germany to France, Belgium and the Netherlands is continuing its success story. "With some five million passengers on these routes and growth of 3.5%, we achieved a new passenger record in 2015 and gained market share, especially from air travel," said Birgit Bohle, Chair of the Management Board of DB Fernverkehr AG, which operates DB's long-distance services in Germany. On the Stuttgart–Paris route, for example, rail has a clear lead over air travel with a market share of 66%. This is thanks first and foremost to attractive journey times. From Frankfurt am Main, the trip to Brussels takes only just over three hours, to Amsterdam just under four hours and to Paris around three hours and 50 minutes.

In 2015, more than 1.7 million passengers used high-speed services between Germany and France, which are jointly operated by DB and SNCF. This figure was some 1% up on the previous year – despite the terrorist attacks in Paris. That growth is set to continue this year with the opening of a new high-speed line in France on 3 July 2016. Thanks to the reduction in journey time of up to 30 minutes, it is planned to add two extra services in each direction: one serving Frankfurt and one serving Stuttgart. The travel time between Stuttgart and Paris will then be just three hours and ten minutes. Journeys between Frankfurt and Paris will be around ten minutes faster at three hours and 40 minutes.

ICE International carried some 780,000 international passengers between Frankfurt am Main and Brussels in 2015. This represented growth of around 1%, despite strikes by Belgian railway staff and six weeks of engineering works over the summer, which increased travel time by an hour. The upward trend was also driven by increasing demand for connections to London, with passengers changing in Brussels for the Eurostar. Sales of "Sparpreis Europa" tickets to London (from 59 euros in second class and 109 euros in first class) were 15% up on the previous year.

More than 2.3 million international passengers travelled on the Frankfurt am Main–Cologne–Amsterdam ICE International service and the Berlin–Hanover–Amsterdam Intercity service in 2015, 7% more than in the previous year. Almost 17 million international passengers have used the ICE services since the cooperative venture with Dutch railway company NS launched in November 2000. A new passenger record was set in 2015 for the fourth year in a row.