Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Austrian Federal Railways (OBB) are set to expand cross-border services, which include increasing the InterCity Express (ICE) timetable and expanding their night service partnership.
Both companies have stated that they expect passenger ridership to increase by 40% over the next five years and have revealed a target of doubling the number of night jet passengers by 2030.
The partnership also involves both OBB and DB increasing their investment in new trains with the aim of providing ‘ICE-level comfort and convenience’.
Beginning with the timetable adjustment, ICE 4 trains will be used on the Frankfurt-Munich-Salzburg-Klagenfurt route, providing enhanced comfort, convenience and reliability for long-distance travel.
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Stefanie Berk, a member of the DB Fernverkehr management board, emphasised how the company wants to boost the rail sector across Germany and Austria: “The shift to rail is continuing unabated; more and more people in Germany and Austria are taking the climate-friendly train when they travel to neighbouring countries.
“We want to boost growth even further with new trains, more comfort and convenience and more connections. This can only be achieved through a joint effort by the rail companies involved. We’re responding to this growing demand by expanding the international timetable in close cooperation with ÖBB.”
The timetable changes will oversee another ICE connection added between Berlin and Vienna via Nuremberg, a plan set to provide the largest northern German city [Hamburg] with another daily connection to Vienna.
Commencing in December 2023, DB and OBB will additionally provide an ICE route from Berlin to Innsbruck and back through Frankfurt and Stuttgart daily, rather than just on weekends.
ÖBB executive board member for passenger transport Dr Sabine Stock noted: “By 2030, we want to double the number of passengers on Nightjet trains. Deutsche Bahn plays an important role since many Nightjet lines begin and end in Germany.
“The new connections from Berlin to Paris and Brussels and the new generation of Nightjet trains in Germany are sending a strong signal of DB’s and ÖBB’s confidence in night train service and intentions to expand the portfolio.”
The new OBB Nightjet trains will enter operation for the first time in 2023/24, with deployment on the Hamburg-Vienna and Hamburg-Innsbruck routes.
According to OBB, the Nightjets, are set to travel at speeds of up to 230km per hour and are equipped with future connections in Austria, Germany and Italy to follow in the course of 2024.