The Anonymous Widower

From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train

The length of the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is 632 kilometres.

Deutsche Bahn have recently completed an upgraded High Speed Line between Berlin and Munich, which has a length of 623 kilometres.

Both lines are not the very fastest of High Speed Lines, but lines where a consistent two hundred kilometres per hour is possible.

The East Coast Main Line was built in Victorian times and services typically take around twenty minutes over four hours, with nine-car InterCity 225 trains running twice an hour.

The Berlin-Munich route was originally built over two centuries ago, but the Germans have spent twenty-five years and many billions of euros punching a new route between Berlin and Nuremberg, through the difficult countryside of Thuringen Forest.

The route may allow the Germans to travel from Berlin to Munich in three hours fifty-five minutes, but at present you can only do it three times a day in a six-car train.

I took the lunchtime train and sat in First Class for a hundred and fourteen euros.

These are some of the pictures, that I took.

We were on time in Munich! Although reading an article in the February 2018 Edition of Modern Railways and talking to other passengers, the introduction of the service had been far from smooth, due to signalling issues.

Just as British Rail’s four-hour service took passengers from the airlines, Deutsche Bahn’s intention is to do the same.

But they will have to improve things.

Service Frequency

Three six-car trains every day in under four hours is just not enough trains, to compete with the airlines.

The plans for the London to Edinburgh route include an all-day frequency of a train every thirty minutes and when the new Class 801 trains are running under control of modern signalling, then many of these trains will do the journey in under four hours.

Route Capacity

The trains need to offer more capacity to provide a service to compete with the airlines.

Customer Service

In my four-hour journey, I was offered just one hot drink! I took a cup of hot chocolate and I had to pay a few euros for it.

I’m sure, Virgin Trains East Coast offer a better service on the East Coast route.


Properly developed, this route can become one of Europe’s main trunk rail routes.

The Modern Railways article compares the service with the new Paris-Bordeaux High Speed Line.

However, DB’s initial offering seems rather timid – 17 trains each way (compare this to the service between Paris and Bordeaux after opening of a new line in July 2017 – 27 trains each way daily!).

The article finishes with this paragraph.

When the Berlin to Nuremberg plan was being developed in the mid-1990s both the Government and DB assumed up to 137 trains each way would use the new line. It was expected the majority would be freight, with at least 20 ICE services each way as well as slower semi-fast services. Currently 35 ICE services use the full line with 18 regional services using the 20 km. section too. Freight traffic has not yet begun and seems unlikely to for several more years, if at all.

Deutsche Bahn has a lot of work to do.

If they get this service right, it must open up a lot of possibilities for new business and leisure services.

As an example, I’ve come across many Americans, Canadians and others on East Coast Main Line services, who’ve flown into Scotland and after visiting Edinburgh, London and possibly Paris, will fly back West.

Berlin to Munich must surely open up similar possibilities in Germany.


February 13, 2018 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


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