Deutsche Bahn's punctuality slumps again: 1 in 4 trains late in 2021

Deutsche Bahn's punctuality slumps again: 1 in 4 trains late in 2021

As any expat can tell you, when you travel by train in Germany, you have to reckon with a delay or two. According to new statistics published by Deutsche Bahn this week, only around 75 percent of trains arrived on time in 2021. 

75,2 percent of Deutsche Bahn trains arrived on time in 2021

Commuters and daytrippers across Germany had a lot to complain about in 2021. According to statistics released by Deutsche Bahn on Wednesday, 75,2 percent of ICE and IC trains arrived at their destination “on time” in 2021 - a major drop compared to the 82 percent of services that were punctual in 2020.  A train is counted as “late” if it arrives more than six minutes behind schedule.

2020’s figure was the highest punctuality rate the rail operator had achieved in 15 years, but was largely put down to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic: namely, that fewer trains were running than usual, and for shorter trips. 

Flooding, strikes and construction cause issues for German railways

This year, however, with services largely returning to usual operations, Deutsche Bahn’s punctuality rating has taken a nosedive. To be fair to the company, it’s been a bit of a disastrous year, with the company beset by a difficult combination of natural disasters, strikes and construction work that had to be postponed in 2020.

In a press release, Deutsche Bahn pointed to all of these factors to explain its issue with tardiness in 2021, highlighting that the devastating flooding in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in July last year destroyed more than 1 billion euros’ worth of rail infrastructure.

The company also said that the three rounds of rail workers’ strikes over the summer had caused major issues, alongside an increase on construction work on the tracks, as projects that were postponed last year resumed. “This led to many bottlenecks in our network,” the company said. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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