11.12.2015 0:0 Uhr Berlin
New long-distance timetable for 2016: Faster, more frequent and convenient services begin on Sunday
Shorter journey times and new routes thanks to opening of Erfurt–Halle/Leipzig new-build line • More ICE Sprinters • Additional services to neighbouring countries
Following the timetable changeover this Sunday, 13 December, rail passengers will be able to experience DB's new long-distance initiative first-hand. The opening of new infrastructure and launch of additional ICE Sprinter services will accelerate journey times for many travellers.
Faster journeys from Frankfurt am Main to Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin via new-build line
The start of services on the new high-speed line between Erfurt, Halle (Saale) and Leipzig will enable journey times on the Wiesbaden–Frankfurt am Main–Erfurt–Leipzig–Dresden ICE route to be reduced by up to 60 minutes. The new line is part of the German Unity Transport Project (VDE) No. 8. A new high-speed ICE route is also being launched from Frankfurt to Berlin via Erfurt and Halle, with four daily ICE departures from Frankfurt and six from Erfurt in each direction. In addition, the new line will mean faster connections for many customers in south-western Germany. Passengers from Stuttgart, Freiburg and Mannheim, for example, will reach Leipzig and Dresden considerably faster.
Increase in ICE Sprinter services
The ICE Sprinter network will be gradually expanded beginning with the new timetable. Sprinter services are faster than the existing standard services and enable travel times of under four hours between major cities. Additional ICE Sprinters will run on the Berlin–Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt–Hamburg routes. Some existing ICE services that are faster than the majority of trains, for example on the routes between Düsseldorf/Cologne and Frankfurt and between Stuttgart and Frankfurt, will run as ICE Sprinters in future. With the introduction of the new timetable, passengers travelling on ICE Sprinters will no longer pay the EUR 11.50 supplement or have to make compulsory seat reservations.
More competitive services to neighbouring countries
The timetable changeover is also set to bring a range of new, faster options for travelling abroad. The number of direct services between Hamburg and Prague will increase from two to four trains a day in each direction. Travel time will be around 15 minutes quicker. Travellers to Hungary will benefit from faster trains between Munich and Budapest. The two-hourly railjet services will reach their destination around 30 minutes quicker. Passengers on the Zurich–Singen–Stuttgart line (the Gäubahn) will benefit from improved long-distance connections in Stuttgart and Zurich, with transfer times reduced by up to 30 minutes for trains to Berlin, Cologne, Nuremberg, Chur or Milan, for example. The new timetable will also offer a direct ICE service from Hamburg to Chur via Frankfurt am Main.