GERMANY: Opening of the Ulm – Wendlingen Neubaustrecke with the European timetable change on December 11 is set to trigger a series of alterations to Deutsche Bahn’s Inter-City Express network.

With the extra capacity provided by the new line, DB plans to increase services between the Land capitals of Stuttgart and München from 70 to 90 trains each way per day, with the fastest journey times being cut by around 15 min.

ICE services from Dortmund or Düsseldorf to Stuttgart via Köln and Mannheim will be extended to Ulm, Augsburg and München. Together with the existing service via Nürnberg, this will give two direct ICEs an hour between Köln and München.

ICE at Frankfurt airport (Photo: Deutsche Bahn/Volker Emersleben)

Another change will be the extension of Basel – Köln – Dortmund ICE services to Hamburg, offering more direct trains to Frankfurt Flughafen from Münster, Osnabruck and Bremen. The airport will also be served by additional trains from München and Augsburg, making 60% more seats available. DB is keen to point out that many of its airport services offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to short-haul flights.

December is due to see the first commercial use of DB’s fleet of ICE3neo trainsets, with the Class 408 units being diagrammed on the Dortmund – Köln – Frankfurt route. DB expects to take delivery of 37 new ICE trainsets during 2023, including 13-car XXL-ICE4 units which will enter service on busy routes such as Hamburg – Basel, as well as more seven-car ICE4 sets.

International connections

An additional daily Stuttgart – Zürich return working will be introduced ahead of a further increase in services planned for October 2023 when the number of trips in each direction will rise from eight to 13. Most trains on this route will be formed of six-car double-deck KISS EMUs.

Working with PKP, DB will launch a sixth daily train each way between Berlin and Warszawa, while journey times between the two capitals will be trimmed by 10 min.

Reflecting the continued revival of overnight trains in western Europe, further changes are to be made in December. A Zürich – Praha night train including inter-city seats coaches will operate via Karlsruhe, Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig, Halle and Dresden. The current Nightjet service from München for destinations including Venezia, Rijeka, Zagreb, Wien and Budapest will in future start from Stuttgart, making additional calls at Göppingen, Ulm and Augsburg. The Zürich – Hamburg overnight train will be diverted to call at Bruchsal, Heidelberg, Darmstadt, Hanau, Verden and Nienburg.


Announcing the highlights on October 10, DB Board Member for Long-Distance Passenger Traffic Dr Michael Peterson said ‘the new timetable is another step towards the Deutschlandtakt and sets the points clearly for more growth. Passengers are gaining from investment in infrastructure and new rolling stock, with three new ICE trains joining our fleet every month – that is a record.’

Fares for travel on DB’s long-distance services will rise by an average of nearly 5% with the timetable change. However, DB warned that engineering work would continue to disrupt services on various routes, with the timetables being adapted accordingly. Further details of the major projects planned for 2023 are due to be published in December.