Customer and quality

Focus on punctuality

Significantly improved development

Punctuality (%)

H1 2020


H1 2019


Rail in Germany 1)




DB Group (rail) in Germany




     DB rail passenger transport in Germany




          DB Long-­­Distance




           DB Regional




     DB Cargo (Germany)




DB Arriva (rail: Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland)  




DB Regional (bus) 2)




DB Cargo (Europa)




1) Non-­­Group and DB Group train operating companies.
2) Change in method from 2020 onwards, with retroactive adjustments.

In spite of great challenges, there was a significant improvement in punctuality in rail transport in Germany.

The reason for this is our excellent crisis management. Reducing services to a robust basic level had a positive effect on operating performance during the Covid-19 restrictions and took the pressure off particularly busy lines. In addition, the lower number of passengers meant that there were fewer delays due to excessive stopping times.

Besides the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of other chal­leng­­­es affecting punctuality were successfully addressed in the first half of 2020. These included the massive disruption to services caused by storm Sabine in February 2020. Furthermore, the negative effects of significant construction work on punctuality were kept to a minimum thanks to effective site management by the Construction Management Center.

Plan corridors for the management of operations

The plan corridors established on particularly busy lines help to improve the punctuality of trains and the robustness of rail operations on highly utilized infrastructure. In addition to the West (Cologne — Dortmund) and Middle (Fulda —
Mannheim) corridors already established, regular operations started along the North and South corridors at the beginning of 2020. Since then, planning measures have been implemented across business units in operations on the 267 km lines in and around Hamburg and on 227 km of the Würzburg —Nuremberg line (including all feeder lines). Furthermore, additional maintenance resources will be available in the coming years to reduce the number of technical faults on tracks and switches along the corridor. The special feature of the North plan corridor is that the very highly frequented lines converge at the Hamburg hub in a star shape. Hamburg central station is effectively the heart of the corridor, as it is both a long-­­distance train station and a final and turning station for regional traffic from the north, east and south. As the spacing between trains is very tight, even smaller delays are considered, as these can have a major impact on the punctuality of the entire network.

Construction and Punctuality Management Centers

  • The Construction Management Center has continued to work on improving forecasting capacity. In the first half of 2020, the focus was on the nationwide management of construction measures that were deemed to be risky as a result of Covid-19. During the period from mid-­­March to the end of May 2020, 116 construction measures were identified as being risky and actively managed by a construction task force convened at short notice. About 50 fundamental issues were also identified and managed in an additional strand of work (such as regulations for housing construction workers, occupational health and safety measures, coordination with building associations and the Federal Ministry). This meant that almost all planned construction measures were executed on time despite considerable restrictions.
  • In the first half of 2020, the Punctuality Management Center continued to work on the development and implementation of measures to improve punctuality. Its core tasks include the analysis of punctuality discrepancies during the year, the identification and management of measures and the monitoring of the implementation of measures. A major focus was on the development of a plan to manage the network from a punctuality perspective. In addition, a punctuality simulation was performed for construction corridor 601 (high-­­speed line Stuttgart — Mannheim) and stabilization measures were derived. The Punctuality Management Center continued its core tasks, including:
    • the continuous development of PlanRadar, a comprehensive early warning system for punctuality-­­related planning and operations,
    • preparing and holding conversations about performance at Management Board level,
    • establishing a project team to support the regional production operations of DB Netze Track in order to reduce disruptions and delays. The focus was on production operations in Frankfurt am Main and Hanover.

Overarching processes making a positive contribution

The integrated processes defined as part of the Strong Rail strat­­­­egy are making an important contribution to the achievement of our punctuality targets. Two of the six overarching pro­cesses (managing major disruptions and PlanStart/deployment) are already fully established:

  • Major disruptions, which can be caused by weather and environmental influences or impairments to infrastructure systems that have nationwide effects (interlockings disruptions), for example, represent a particular challenge. Rapid decisions and an extremely high level of operational readiness are required to provide customers and employees with the best-­­possible information at all times and to manage the traffic-­­operating situation. The focus is therefore on customer communication and operational management. All objectives relating to the management of major disruptions are covered by key performance indicators. This makes the overarching process measurable and provides the basis for continuous process improvements. Storm Sabine revealed how well the management of major disruptions is already working. The storm caused extensive disruptions, but the internal targets for disruption management were exceeded and the recovery time was kept short.
  • The PlanStart/deployment overarching process focuses on the deployment process. The aim is to ensure on-­­sched­ule departures at starting stations on long-­­distance and regional lines, to ensure that facilities and trains are fully functional, and to guarantee the full availability of trains with all carriages and train sections. The overarching process therefore also focuses on other quality criteria, such as the correct carriage order and clean trains.

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