GERMAN RAILWAYS

TRAIN SERVICES AND STATIONS

Germany is one of the largest and most important countries in Europe. Germany like most of Europe continues to be connected with frequent rail service, usually with hourly or bi hourly memory patterns.

The German railway system is now known as Deutsche Bahn (DB). Bahn means road, perhaps most familiar as part of the word Autobahn, which is German for a superhighway. DB has grouped its stations into 7 categories, according to size and importance.

Covered here are the train operations at the 21 "Category 1" stations, the largest and most important stations in Germany. The German word for station is Bahnhof. And in nearly every large city, the main station is known as the Hauptbahnhof (abbreviated Hbf). Included are English language Wikipedia links for each station, containing further information and history.

DB is a national railway system. But in more recent years, more public transportation coordination is being done at a regional level. Most areas of Germany are now part of a "Verkehrsverbund", which literally translates into "traffic consolidation", and is basically a regional transit authority. A Verkehrsverbund will provide regional marketing, schedule and fare coordination. This includes coordination of city streetcar and bus systems, regional bus systems, and DB services of a more local or commuter nature.

For each city or region covered here, some of the easiest to understand maps are available as PDF files, which can be downloaded from the official "Verkehrsverbund" web sites. Included are links to these web sites, including more direct links or suggestions for accessing these maps. English is available at most web sites, but often is not as complete as the pages in German. "Schienennetz" often refers to a map emphasizing a regional rail network. If one uses the Google Chrome web browser, that browser includes the capability of translating a web page.

Deutsche Bahn - official DB Web site.

Plaene Zum Download/Plans For Download - much of the information for this section is from this page on the DB Web site. Information can be downloaded as PDF files. Of interest are the "Abfahrts and Ankunftsplane" (Departure and Arrival Schedules), and the "Bahnhofslageplane" (Station Maps). The Departure and Arrival Schedules include the schedules for the major stations in sequence, including track numbers. And the Station Maps show the layouts, amenities, and platforms and track numbers for the major stations.

Gleisplan Online - fan web site based in the Netherlands including track diagrams of various European railways. Web site is mostly in Dutch, but the track diagrams can generally be understood without knowing a foreign language.


PRINCIPAL PASSENGER ROUTES

This list is somewhat arbitrary, highlighting express and international routes.

Berlin-Hannover-Dortmund-Koln
Berlin-Braunschweig-Frankfurt-Mannheim-Stuttgart-Munchen
Hamburg-Hannover-Frankfurt-Mannheim-Karlsruhe-Basel (Switzerland)
Hamburg-Hannover-Nurnberg-Munchen
Hamburg-Berlin-Leipzig-Nurnberg-Munchen
Dortmund-Essen-Koln-Frankfurt-Nurnberg-Munchen
Dresden-Leipzig-Frankfurt


DB STATIONS

Hamburg

Hannover

Berlin

Dresden

Leipzig

Koln (Cologne)

Dusseldorf

Duisburg

Essen

Dortmund

Frankfurt

Karlsruhe

Stuttgart

Nurnberg

Munchen


DB EXPLAINED
Brief history and explanation of DB services.

Main lines are electrified at 15,000 volts AC, overhead. In recent years, DB and other European railway systems have been constructing entirely new railway segments (Schnellfahrstrecke) for high speed operation. Something which unfortunately has been severely lagging in the U. S. Amtrak's fastest trains are the Acela trains between New Haven and Boston. But those trains still use the same curvy New Haven right of way, with few segments capable of handling high speed operation.

Cities are normally identified by the German language names. But because of compatibility problems with most web browsers, umlauts are omitted. In German, an umlaut is the two dots above certain vowels, used to alter the pronunciation of that vowel. In addition, German often uses a character somewhat resembling a squiggly "B", used in lieu of a double "s". But on this site, the double "s" will always be used.

For the railways serving each station, lines are identified in a historical context, including kilometer post measurement. DB internally continues to identify its lines as such, although a modern railway system does not necessarily have its routes formed in the same way.

In most cities for through stations, lines are primarily organized according to the basic direction from the station. For each end of the station, or from stub stations, lines are sorted by direction radiating from the station, in theory from lowest to highest station track numbers. And in some but not all cases, station track assignments may typically be accordingly, in order to minimize route conflicts outside the station.

Typical track assignments are sometimes very general, and are most typical during middays. Terminating or reversing trains often involve less typical track assignments.

The larger urban areas include "S-Bahn" systems, which typically are hybrids between commuter rail systems and rapid transit or metro systems. Many S-Bahn systems have been constructed in more recent years, and mostly use separate dedicated tracks. Typically at the locations of stub stations, new through route tunnels have been constructed for the S-Bahn services. Most S-Bahn routes do not terminate at the Hauptbahnhof, but operate through from one outlying endpoint to another outlying endpoint, more like rapid transit or metro systems.

Portions of this web site are "bilingual", with German and English.