Deutsche Bahn

Last updated

Deutsche Bahn AG
Type Private ( Aktiengesellschaft )
Industry Railway transport, Logistics
Founded1 January 1994;27 years ago (1994-01-01)
Area served
Key people
Richard Lutz, CEO
Products Rail transport, cargo transport, services
RevenueIncrease2.svg 40.576 billion (2016) [1]
Increase2.svg €4.797 billion (2016) [1]
Increase2.svg €716 million (2016) [1]
Owner Federal Republic of Germany (100%)
Number of employees
295,653 (2013)
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
DB Headquarters in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin Bahntower, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 141027, ako.jpg
DB Headquarters in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

The Deutsche Bahn AG (IPA: [ˈdɔʏtʃə ˈbaːn] ; abbreviated as DB or DB AG) is a German railway company. Headquartered in Berlin, it is a private joint-stock company (AG), with the Federal Republic of Germany being its single shareholder. [2] [3]


Deutsche Bahn describes itself as the second-largest transport company in the world, after the German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post / DHL, and is the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europe. Deutsche Bahn was the largest railway company in the world by revenue in 2015. [4] It carries about two billion passengers annually.

The group is divided into several companies, including DB Fernverkehr (long-distance passenger), DB Regio (local passenger services) and DB Cargo (rail freight). The Group subsidiary DB Netz also operates large parts of the German railway infrastructure and thus the largest rail network in Europe.

In rail transport, the company generates about half of its total revenue. The other half of the operating business comprises the further transport and logistics business as well as various service providers. The company generates part of its sales through public transport contracts; support will also be provided for maintenance and expansion of the infrastructure.

Passenger transport companies carried around 4.4 billion passengers in 2016 with their trains and buses. In 2016 DB logistics companies transported 277 million tons of goods in rail freight transport. [5]

Company profile

The Deutsche Bahn Group is divided into various organizational units that perform their tasks with subsidiaries.


DB Personenverkehr is the group that manages passenger travel within Germany. Originally called Reise & Touristik (English: Travel and Tourism), this group is responsible for the managing, servicing and running of German passenger services. This group is divided into three business areas: DB Fernverkehr , DB Regio and Arriva.


Arriva North West Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL in Liverpool in June 2013 Arriva North West 4205 LJ51DFK (9137673966).jpg
Arriva North West Wright Eclipse Gemini bodied Volvo B7TL in Liverpool in June 2013

Deutsche Bahn placed a bid in May 2010 for the UK-based transport company Arriva. Arriva runs bus and rail companies in 12 European countries. The merger was approved by the European Commission in August 2010, subject to DB divesting Arriva services in Germany (these are now run as Netinera ). The merger became effective on 27 August 2010. [6]

Services in the UK formerly run as DB Regio are now operated by a new subdivision of the company, Arriva UK Trains. It operates the Chiltern Railways, and CrossCountry franchises as well as open-access operator Grand Central. It also operates the London Overground concession as Arriva Rail London. The former Tyne & Wear Metro operations, already started by DB Regio UK, ended in 2017, while Arriva Trains Wales services passed to Transport for Wales in 2018.

DB Fernverkehr

A Siemens Velaro ICE 3 long-distance high speed train of DB Fernverkehr ICE 3 Koln Hauptbahnhof 2015-12-17-02.JPG
A Siemens Velaro ICE 3 long-distance high speed train of DB Fernverkehr

DB Fernverkehr AG is a semi-independent division of Deutsche Bahn that operates long-distance passenger trains in Germany. It was founded in 1999 in the second stage of the privatisation of German Federal Railways under the name of DB Reise & Touristik and renamed in 2003.

An IC2 Bombardier Twindexx /Doppelstock long distance Intercity Train also from DB Fernverkehr at Koln Hbf. Bombadier Twindexx, Koln Hauptbahnhof 2015-12-17.JPG
An IC2 Bombardier Twindexx /Doppelstock long distance Intercity Train also from DB Fernverkehr at Köln Hbf.

DB Fernverkehr operates all InterCityExpress and InterCity trains in Germany as well as in some neighboring countries and several EuroCity and EuroCityExpress trains throughout Europe. Unlike its sister companies DB Regio and DB Cargo, DB Fernverkehr still holds a de facto monopoly in its segment of the market as it operates hundreds of trains per day, while all competitors' long-distance services combined amount to no more than 10–15 trains per day.

Additionally DB Fernverkehr operates a few long-distance coach services throughout Germany, called IC Bus.

DB Regio

A Bombardier Talent 2 regional train of DB Regio
in Bavaria S3 - BR 442 - Bahnhof Neumarkt Oberpfalz - Herbstmorgen.jpg
A Bombardier Talent 2 regional train of DB Regio in Bavaria

DB Regio AG is the subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn that operates passenger trains on short and medium distances in Germany. Unlike its long-distance counterpart, DB Fernverkehr, it does not operate trains on its own account. Traffic is ordered and paid for by the Bundesländer (states) or their respective SPNV-Aufgabenträger (Regional train operation supervisors).

Some states have awarded long-term contracts to DB Regio (usually 10 to 15 years), in others, DB Regio's operations are decreasing, in North Rhine-Westphalia, their market share is expected to be lower than 50%. DB Regio rail services are divided into several regional companies:

The bus services consist of 25 bus companies, which have subsidiary companies themselves.


DB Netze

The infrastructure division is divided into the DB Netz (rail infrastructure), DB Station&Service (stations and services) and DB Energie (Energy) business units.

DB Engineering&Consulting

DB Engineering & Consulting , which is responsible for construction supervision, construction planning and maintenance, is also assigned to this department without being part of a business area.

Via its subsidiary DB Engineering&Consulting, DB signed a memorandum of understanding with Iranian rail operator Bonyad Eastern Railways (BonRail) in May 2017 and shortly after a consulting contract with Islamic Republic of Iran Railways; both projects were abandoned after the United States imposed new sanctions against Iran and said firms doing business with Iran would be barred from doing business with the United States. [7]

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's (CHSRA) board approved on 15 November 2017 an early train operator contract with DB Engineering & Consulting USA. [8] The firm is the U.S. arm of Deutsche Bahn AG. As early train operator, DB Engineering & Consulting will assist CHSRA with planning, designing and implementing the state's high-speed rail program.

In Germany, DB E&C acts as a planning office and in construction supervision for Deutsche Bahn construction sites.


Freight train from DB Cargo in Germany 145010 DB Cargo.jpg
Freight train from DB Cargo in Germany

The Transport and Logistics division acted in the market with the business units DB Schenker Logistics and DB Schenker Rail , which were combined under the umbrella of DB Schenker, and the Intermodal division, which operates in combined transport. In 2016, rail freight transport was separated from logistics and DB Schenker Rail was renamed DB Cargo.

Foreign firms

DB Schenker Rail (UK) Class 67 hauling Chiltern Railways Mark 3 carriages at Leamington Spa on the Chiltern Main Line Loco 67027 at Leamington Spa.JPG
DB Schenker Rail (UK) Class 67 hauling Chiltern Railways Mark 3 carriages at Leamington Spa on the Chiltern Main Line

DB also has interests abroad, owning the United Kingdom's largest rail freight operator, DB Cargo UK, which also operates the British Royal Train [9] and also has interests in Eastern Europe. It is possible to obtain train times for any journey in Europe from Deutsche Bahn's website. [10]

Trans-Eurasia Logistics is a joint venture with Russian Railways (RŽD) that operates container freight trains between Germany and China via Russia.

Key persons

Richard Lutz, CEO of the DB Group Richard Lutz 9986.jpg
Richard Lutz, CEO of the DB Group

Board of directors


Background: the Deutsche Reichsbahn

The railway network in Germany dates back to 1835 when the first tracks were laid on a 6 km (3.7 mi) route between Nuremberg and Fürth. The Deutsche Reichsbahn operated from 1920 [11] through the Weimar and Nazi eras until 1949. [12] when it was split between East and West Germany into two successor entities, Deutsche Bundesbahn and Deutsche Reichsbahn (East Germany). [13] They remained separate throughout the Cold War when there were two separate German states. The German reunification begun in 1990 and fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for the companies to reunite. On 1 January 1994 Deutsche Reichsbahn and Deutsche Bundesbahn were merged to form one company, and so, they became Deutsche Bahn, the successor organisation to the Reichsbahn. [14] [15] [16] [17] At the same time, Deutsche Bahn adopted its current logo and DB abbreviation. Kurt Weidemann modernised the logo and typographer Erik Spiekermann designed a new corporate font known as DB Type. When Deutsche Bahn was formed in January 1994, it became a joint stock-company, and were designed to operate the railways of both the former East and West Germany after unification in October 1990 as a single, uniform, and private company. [18] There are three main periods of development in this unified German railway: its formation, its early years (1994–1999), and the period from 1999 to the present.

Originally, DBAG had its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main but moved to Potsdamer Platz in central Berlin in 1996, where it occupies a 26-storey office tower designed by Helmut Jahn at the eastern end of the Sony Center and named Bahntower . As the lease was to expire in 2010, DB had announced plans to relocate to Berlin Hauptbahnhof , and in 2007 a proposal for a new headquarters by 3XN Architects won an architectural competition which also included Foster + Partners, Dominique Perrault and Auer + Weber . [19] However, these plans were put on hold due to the financial crisis of 2008, and the Bahntower lease was extended. [20] Construction of the new headquarters building was started in 2017 under the title "Cube Berlin" according to the designs by 3XN. Finished in February 2020, the Cube will house the legal offices of Deutsche Bahn, but not become the main headquarters. [21]

1999 to present

The second step of the Bahnreform (railway reform) was carried out in 1999. All rolling stock, track, personnel, and real assets were divided between the subsidiaries of DBAG: DB Reise & Touristik AG (long-distance passenger service, later renamed DB Station & Service AG (operating the stations). This new organisational scheme was introduced not least to implement European Community directive 91/440/EEC that demands access to railway systems free of discrimination.

In December 2007, DB reorganised again, bringing all passenger services into its DB Bahn arm, logistics under DB Schenker and infrastructure and operations under DB Netze .

The DB is owned by the Federal Republic. By the Constitution, the Federal Republic is required to retain (directly or indirectly) a majority of the infrastructure (the present DB Netze) stocks.

In 2008, it was agreed to "float" a portion of the business, meaning an end to the 100% share the German Federal Republic had in it, with a plan that 25% of the overall share would be sold to the private sector. [22] However the onset of the financial crisis of 2007–08 saw this cancelled. [23]

In 2014, the Jewish community of Thessaloniki demanded that the Deutsche Bahn, which is the successor of the Deutsche Reichsbahn , should reimburse the heirs of Greek Holocaust victims of Thessaloniki for train fares that they were forced to pay for their deportation from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Treblinka between March and August 1943. [24] [25]

In June 2018 controversy grew in the United Kingdom over widespread cancellations of railway services and numerous delayed services operated by Deutsche Bahn in Britain, under its Northern brand. This resulted in Britain's Minister of Transport, Chris Grayling, setting up an enquiry into whether the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary had breached its contractual agreement to provide railway services in the north of England. He warned that if the company was found to be in breach of its contractual agreements it could be banned from running railway services in the United Kingdom. [26]

Logo history

Structure and subsidiaries

Train categories

Trains in Germany are classified by their stopping pattern: [27]

Train categories no longer used include:

In the early days of DBAG, the most basic train categories, which were in use since the early days of rail travel in Germany, were also used:

There are several other operators in Germany which sometimes offer other categories, also, a local transport authority or tariff associations might brand the trains in a different way than DB does. For example, in the Nuremberg region, RE and RB trains are not differentiated, but called R instead. In some regions, such as Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg , private operators do use the RE and RB labels, in others, such as Saxony, they do not. In online and print information systems of DB, private trains officially labelled RB and RE by their operators, might get a different label, for example "ABR" for trains operated by Abellio, though on platforms, trains and maps or timetables issued by the local transport authority overseeing regional train services, these abbreviations usually do not appear.

Codeshare agreements

In conjunction with Emirates, China Airlines, TAM Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and Lufthansa , Deutsche Bahn operates the AIRail Service between Frankfurt Airport and Köln Hauptbahnhof/Bonn Hauptbahnhof, Düsseldorf , Freiburg , Hamburg, Hanover, Mannheim , Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart . Deutsche Bahn has the IATA designator 2A. [28]


DB offers two different pricing models:

Local trains (S, RB, RE, IRE) also accept tickets issued by local transport associations, which can also be used on buses, trams, and U-Bahn trains.

DB offers concessionary fares with the BahnCard , which is available as BahnCard 25 (25% discount on Flexpreis and Sparpreis), BahnCard 50 (50% discount on Flexpreis and 25% discount on Sparpreis), and BahnCard 100 (unlimited travel on all Deutsche Bahn trains, a few private train companies and also in many local transport associations).

Other special tickets, such as Interrail or the Länder-Tickets , give unlimited journeys on local trains and in many transport associations within a state, are also available. These Länder-Tickets offer group tickets, where up to five people can travel on a single ticket. [29]

See also

Related Research Articles

Rail transport in Germany Overview of rail transport in Germany

As of 2015, Germany had a railway network of 41,315 kilometres (25,672 mi) of which 19,857 kilometres (12,339 mi) are electrified and 18,201 kilometres (11,310 mi) were double track. Germany is a member of the International Union of Railways (UIC). The UIC Country Code for Germany is 80.

Deutsche Bundesbahn State railway of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949–1993)

The Deutsche Bundesbahn or DB was formed as the state railway of the newly established Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) on 7 September 1949 as a successor of the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft (DRG). The DB remained the state railway of West Germany until after German reunification, when it was merged with the former East German Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) to form Deutsche Bahn AG, which came into existence on 1 January 1994.

DB Fernverkehr

DB Fernverkehr AG is a semi-independent division of Deutsche Bahn that operates long-distance passenger trains in Germany. It was founded in 1999 in the second stage of the privatisation of Deutsche Bahn, under the name of DB Reise&Touristik and was renamed in 2003.

DB Regio AG is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn which operates regional and commuter train services in Germany. DB Regio AG, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. It is a 100% subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn Group and there part of the DB Regio business segment, which also includes DB Regionnetz Verkehrs GmbH and other independent subsidiaries.

Deutsche Reichsbahn (East Germany)

The Deutsche Reichsbahn or DR(German Reich Railways) was the operating name of state owned railways in the German Democratic Republic, and after German reunification until 31 December 1993.


Mitropa was a catering company best known for having managed sleeping and dining cars of different German railways for most of the 20th century. Founded in 1916, the name "Mitropa" is an abbreviation of Mitteleuropa. The railway carriages displayed a distinct burgundy-red livery with the Mitropa logo.

City Night Line, abbreviated CNL, was a train category of German railway company Deutsche Bahn for overnight passenger train services between Germany and neighbouring European countries. In late 2015, Deutsche Bahn announced that it planned to terminate all night train services in December 2016, and this plan was implemented on 11 December 2016. The service on some CNL routes was replaced by ÖBB Nightjet services.

Die Länderbahn GmbH (DLB), formerly Vogtlandbahn GmbH, is a German rail transport company based in Viechtach, operating transport services originally only in the Vogtland, but now also on a regional basis. Die Länderbahn is a subsidiary of Regentalbahn AG, which is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato subsidiary Netinera. The term vogtlandbahn remains in use as a trademark of Die Länderbahn in Vogtland.

Arriva UK Trains Company that oversees Arrivas train operating companies in the United Kingdom

Arriva UK Trains Limited is the company that oversees Arriva's train operating companies in the United Kingdom. It gained its first franchises in February 2000. These were later lost, though several others were gained. In January 2010, with the take-over of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, Arriva UK Trains also took over the running of those formerly overseen by DB Regio UK Limited.

DB Netz AG is a major subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn that owns and operates a majority of the German railway system. It is one of the largest railway infrastructure manager by length and transport volume of its network.

Rail transport in Poland

The Polish railways network consists of around 18,510 kilometres (11,500 mi) of track as of 2015, of which the vast majority is electrified at 3 kV DC overhead.


BahnCard is a discount subscription programme offered by Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German national railway company. Unlike airline loyalty programs, but similarly to the UK Railcard, the BahnCard entitles the passenger to a discount price and must be purchased prior to travel. The BahnCard is offered in a non-business and a business version called BahnCard Business. Non-business BahnCard contracts are automatically renewed each year, unless they are cancelled with sufficient notice. Three variants of BahnCard are sold by Deutsche Bahn: The BahnCard 25, the BahnCard 50, and the Mobility BahnCard 100. The first two variants allow passengers to get 25% and 50% discount respectively on standard long-distance rail fares, while the Mobility BahnCard 100 is a type of annual ticket that allows free unlimited travel on most of the German railway network for a fixed price. The (non-business) BahnCard 25/50 are valid for one year and can only be purchased by subscription. If they are not canceled no later than six weeks before the expiry date, their term is automatically extended by another year. BahnCard Business 25/50 are also valid for one year but require no cancellation. In contrast to the personal BahnCard, BahnCard Business can be combined with the discount that is granted to large-volume business customers.

Regentalbahn German internationally operating private railway operator from Viechtach, Germany

The Regentalbahn is railway company based in Bavaria, and is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato and the Luxembourg infrastructure fund Cube, through the German holding company of Netinera. It runs railway infrastructure, as well as regional and long-distance passenger services in Bavaria and Saxony with links into the Czech Republic, and Germany-wide goods trains.


The Interregio-Express (IRE) is a local public transport railway service operated by the Deutsche Bahn which is only available in the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin as well as in Switzerland. The IRE service was first introduced in the 2001 summer timetable, due to the increasing abolition of Interregio routes by DB's long-distance division. As a result, several German states ordered InterRegioExpress trains on the routes affected. In addition IRE trains were also introduced on routes that had not previously had an Interregio service.

DB AutoZug GmbH was a German rail transport company that provided automobile (Motorail) and night passenger train services for Deutsche Bahn AG. It was based in Dortmund and was a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG. On 30 September 2013 the company was merged into DB AG's long-distance division DB Fernverkehr.

Wilhelmshaven–Oldenburg railway

The Wilhelmshaven–Oldenburg railway is a predominantly double-track, non-electrified main line in the northwest in the German state of Lower Saxony. It runs to the south from the port city of Wilhelmshaven to Oldenburg. The line is being upgraded in connection with the construction of JadeWeserPort so that it will be continuously duplicated and electrified.

The Hellweg net consists of the four Regionalbahn lines in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia: RB 50, RB 59, RB 69 and RB 89. It has a length of about 370 km. The RB 50 is referred to as Der Lüner, the RB 59 as Die Hellweg-Bahn and the RB 69 and RB 89 together as Die Ems-Börde-Bahn. On 14 December 2008 operations were taken over by eurobahn. Previously these four Regionalbahn services were operated by DB Regio NRW.

The S-Bahn Berlin GmbH is the operator of the Berlin S-Bahn. The company was founded on 1 January 1995 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn.


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  2. "Members to the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bahn AG". Archived from the original on 2012-10-25.
  3. "Deutsche Bahn AG at a glance". Deutsche Bahn. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009.
  5. Deutsche Bahn Facts & Figures 2016. Deutsche Bahn. 2016.
  6. "EC approves DB's takeover of Arriva". Railway Gazette International. London. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  7. Gernot Heller and Douglas Busvine (August 16, 2018), German rail operator, Deutsche Telekom end Iran projects Reuters .
  9. Macalister, Terry (28 June 2007). "Deutsche Bahn to run Queen's train". The Guardian .
  10. Tickets - Timetable Archived 2006-04-07 at the Wayback Machine
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  16. Paterson, Tony. "German railway fears flood of lawsuits over Holocaust trains". Independent. The Independent. Archived from the original on 2021-05-07. The German railway company Deutsche Bahn has engaged a New York law firm to fight off compensation claims that it might face under proposed legislation enabling Holocaust victims and their relatives to sue for damages in US courts. The state-owned network is the main successor to the Nazi-run Deutsche Reichsbahn which, along with other railways in German-occupied Europe, deported millions of Jews to death camps during the Second World War.
  17. "Holocaust survivor launches legal claim against German railway". the Guardian. 2020-07-30. Archived from the original on 2020-07-31. Retrieved 2021-05-07. The scale of the Holocaust was only possible due to the efficiency and scale of the German railways. In January 1943, the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, wrote to Albert Ganzenmüller, the secretary of state for transport and the deputy director of the Reichsbahn, pleading for more train stock. “If I have any hope of quickly dealing with matters, I must have more haulage trains. Help me to get more,” he said. Ganzenmüller, an early member of the Nazi party, was the only member of the railway to go on trial. On his first day in court in 1973 he had a heart attack and was declared medically unfit. He died in 1996. After the war, the German Democratic Republic in East Germany took over the name of the Deutsche Reichsbahn for its railway system. Today’s Deutsche Bahn was created in 1994 after German reunification and the East German railway’s merger with the West German Deutsche Bundesbahn.
  18. "The foundation of Deutsche Bahn AG" company website
  19. "Competition win for 3XN". World Architecture News. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  21. Jürgens, Isabell (2020-02-19). "„Cube Berlin" – Europas schlauestes Gebäude geht in Betrieb". (in German). Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  22. "Partial sale of DB agreed" Railway Gazette International May 2008 page 289
  23. "DB flotation on hold" Railway Gazette International November 2008 page 843
  24. One way tickets Thessaloniki – Auschwitz Archived 2017-02-08 at the Wayback Machine , June 2015
  25. Zug der Erinnerung/Thessaloniki Zug der Erinnerung (non-government organisation “Train of Commemoration”).
  26. Gwyn Topham, Helen Pidd and Pippa Crerar, 'Northern and GTR could be barred from rail franchises' in The Guardian (UK newspaper), 4 June 2018
  27. "Produktübersicht" on DB AG website
  28. Deutsche Bahn AG. "DB Mobility Logistics Facts and figures 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  29. "Regional Tickets". Deutsche Bahn.

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