Deutsche Bahn revealed details of an ambitious programme to regain lost business in the long-distance passenger market through expansion of its ICE and IC networks on March 18. The move follows an unprecedented surge in long-distance coach travel since market deregulation in 2013.Chicago - Naperville - Rockford - Madison, anyone? With half-hourly headways? Let's keep that 100,000 population in the backs of our minds. The research department owes me a report.
Faster and more frequent trains serving more destinations are envisaged in a programme which DB says will see €12bn invested by 2030. Thanks to a 25% increase in service levels, DB hopes to attract up to 50 million more passengers a year.
Highlights of the plans include two ICE services an hour on core routes and the relaunch of IC services using 120 double-deck trains that will serve ‘nearly all’ towns and cities in Germany with a population of more than 100 000. Completion of sections of new line between Nürnberg and Berlin will cut München – Berlin timings to under 4 h from 2018.
Ulrich Homburg, DB’s Board Member for Passenger Transport, said that ‘with the largest and most modern long-distance network since the railway reform we want to make our contribution to Germany’s future … with two ICE trains an hour on the main routes we will effectively be creating a super-fast and very comfortable S-Bahn between Germany’s cities.’That is, the trains will offer the frequency, connectivity, and perhaps the amenities of ... interurbans. The German railroads give the impression of a very heavily used commuter rail service, thus it's not too much of a stretch to commingle regional trains and intercity limiteds on the same tracks.