Product quality and digitalization


Punctuality (%)





DB Group (rail) in Germany




     DB rail passenger transport in Germany




          DB Long-Distance




          DB Regional




     DB Cargo (Germany)




DB Arriva (rail: United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden,
the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic)




DB Regional (bus) 1)



DB Cargo (Europe)




To measure punctuality, we compare the target arrival time to the actual time for every train/bus run. We summarize the arrival of trains on schedule or up to a defined maximum delay using a degree of punctuality.
1) Value first half of 2020 adjusted as a result of a change in method in 2020.

Punctuality in rail transport in Germany decreased. The reasons for this development were:

  • The increased network utilization caused by the ramping up of services, which had a negative effect on high-traffic lines and when services were disrupted in particular.
  • The high level of construction activity, which led to limited capacities despite effective construction site management.
  • Exceptional external events, especially the extreme winter weather conditions in February 2021. While the onset of winter in January 2021 had little impact on punctuality due to stable infrastructure availability and a high degree of coverage in the contingency plans, storm Tristan caused dangerous winter conditions at the beginning of February 2021. Despite deploying personnel and technology extensively, some rail operations had to be stopped as a precautionary measure. As a result, deployment and circulation processes were disrupted, leading to limited performance capability, particularly in freight and transport. The first heat wave in June 2021 also had a negative impact on vehicles and infrastructure, which also reduced punctuality.
  • In mid-March 2021, there was a landslide on one of the busiest freight transport lines in Europe near Kestert in the Middle Rhine Valley. Although work began immediately to clear the area, the landslide still caused the line to close for more than 40 days on the right bank of the Rhine. Due to the widespread diversions that were necessary and the increased burden that this placed on the infrastructure on the left bank of the Rhine, journeys for all TOCs took longer. This had a major impact on operational performance in freight transport.

Compared to the first half of 2020, the decline in additional delays caused by slow-running sections, especially on the north–south axis centered around the Hamburg hub, had a positive effect for DB Long-Distance in particular.

Measures in rail freight transport

Growth in rail freight transport is one of the key factors in successfully shifting the mode of transport towards rail. In the first half of 2021, measures for the short and medium term were developed, and work began to implement them. Both analytical and simulation methods were used to assess possible measures. Those already implemented will be reviewed in the second half of 2021 to evaluate their effectiveness.

Strong for the summer

Intensive and comprehensive work was underway in the first half of 2021 within the Integrated Rail System to prepare for the summer period and the expected level of travel after travel restrictions were lifted. The program focused on further increasing and securing system stability. To this end, specific measures were developed and implemented in TOCs, rail infrastructure companies (RIC), and across the Integrated Rail System. Some of the focus areas centered on high system availability, smooth operations, and managing incidents on-site in passenger compartments and on platforms. Extensive monitoring was introduced to identify risks at an early stage and implement countermeasures swiftly.

Further development Strong S-Bahn (metro)

As the S-Bahn (metro) will have to deal with significant growth over the next few years, the necessary measures need to be developed and put in place to ensure the S-Bahn (metro) system continues to run efficiently. At DB Regional, DB Netze Track and DB Netze Stations, this is expected to further improve punctuality over the next five years. In addition to standardizing local best-practice approaches, such as the prevention of rail crossings on the Munich S-Bahn (metro), the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic are being used to help to improve punctuality. For example, findings from the reduced number of passengers are being used to extrapolate measures, such as adjusting platform design, timetable adjustments, and infrastructure improvements.

Analysis winter onset effects

The extreme onset of winter at the beginning of 2021 had a strong impact on rail transport. We have analyzed how we performed under these conditions as part of a continuous improvement process. All relevant stakeholders have looked closely at the findings and have drawn up actions to be taken. The aim was to prepare the Integrated Rail System even better for harsh winter days, ensure a high level of reliability, and make sure customers stay well informed, even in challenging weather conditions. The analysis focused on technical equipment and procedures, planning and snow clearance measures, and operating concepts in the event of a disruption. Specific measures include bolstering the contingency plans and making infrastructure even more robust. Measures are currently being implemented.

Increasing vehicle availability

Several central initiatives aimed at increasing vehicle availability launched in the previous year were continued:

  • The “Strong Maintenance of Vehicles” project laid the key groundwork and set a functional, technical objective for maintenance in the Integrated Rail System. The aim is to maximize vehicle availability for the TOCs while reducing maintenance costs.
  • In addition, the overarching process for vehicle maintenance was established and covers all business units. This process addresses the challenges at the interfaces in conjunction with the business units, aiming to continuously improve vehicle maintenance. The overarching process was established on June 1, 2021.
  • The “Strong Materials Management” project aims to prevent vehicles from standing stationary in maintenance due to missing parts. Actions to achieve this include the reconfiguration of the material requirements planning process. There is a particular focus on the availability of wheel sets and their secondary parts.
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