A guide to using the D-bahn online timetable resources to check departure times and plan journeys. How to find the right train.
The D-Bahn online timetable is a fantastic resource as it strives to provide details of the departure and arrival times of virtually ALL trains from any station in Europe.
When looking up the details of every train departure and/or arrival the level of information can seem daunting for the busiest stations, so we’ve come up with our unique guides.
When clicking the links for station departures on therebytrain.com you will be taken to a page that enables you to access train times from 09:00 as a default. We have assumed that while taking trains as part of a holiday that you won’t want to leave your hotel earlier than necessary.
To access later or earlier departures on the date on which you’re planning to travel enter a different departure time into the search or scroll through ALL the departures for that date using the ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ trains tabs.
Types Of Train
You can reduce the number of train departures displayed on the page, and make it simpler to find specific trains, by un-selecting the types of trains that are displayed.
These train types refer to German trains but the same options are displayed for every station in Europe.
- S-Bahn - are frequent German commuter trains and only appear on search results for the German cities in which they operate
- ICE - Within Germany these are the fastest trains, outside of Germany the timetable tends to use 'ICE' to indicate trains that travel on high speed lines.
- IC/EC - Within Germany 'IC' refers to long distance express trains that are slower than 'ICE' trains, outside of Germany IC is often used for trains that don't travel on high speed lines.
EC trains are international. but D-Bahn also uses 'ICE' and 'IC' for certain international trains.
Outside Germany premium overnight trains are often classed as IC/EC, while slower overnight trains are classed as (D), but this can be inconsistent, so our advice is not to leave any boxes unchecked if you're looking for overnight trains.
- D - Slower express and overnight trains are listed as ‘D’, but if you want to travel long distance and it’s a good idea to leave ICE, IC and D trains unchecked so that you can see ALL departures for a particular destination.
- NV - used for regional trains and local trains outside of major German cities.
If you want to look up information for long distance trains IN Germany it’s a good idea to turn off S-Bahn trains because they dominate the departure/arrival lists.
However, leave them displayed if you want to travel to an airport as S-Bahn trains operate on many airport rail links.
Trains/Services That Don't Appear on the D-Bahn Timetable.
Not every train that operates in Europe is included on the on the online timetable, the exceptions primarily are trains provided by independent operators other than state rail companies.
As a result many branded services to airports are excluded and certain local trains also aren’t listed, this particularly applies to Spain, Italy and Scandinavia.
Finding The Train You Need.
On many international routes less than three trains per day operate, so looking them up on the D-Bahn departures/arrivals guides can be like searching for a needle in haystack, so it can be easy to find them using the D-Bhan 'Journey Planner'. (see link below)
For this reason we’ve also striven to include details of international trains our ‘departure summary’ guides on therebytrain.com.
All the information listed on these search results is date specific and D-Bahn strives to include accurate times when trains times have had to be altered due to holidays or works on the line. For this reason the times may not correspond with those listed on therebytrain.com.
If you can’t find the train that you are looking for it is unlikely to have been cancelled completely and may be operating at a different time to the norm that day, so check the details for earlier and later hours.
Accessing Additional Information.
If you click the train number between the symbol and the final destination you can access further information for that train including the days of the week on which it operates and whether reservations are compulsory/recommended.
You can also use this facility to plan onward connections. Click the train number to access a list of the stations that it will be calling at. Click the station where you need to change trains and you will be automatically linked to the departures from that station, so that you can access details of subsequent train departures.
Take care when looking for details of trains travelling particularly long distances, in particular overnight trains to countries in eastern Europe. For certain of these trains the final destination isn’t listed on the 'departures' and for trains that divide on route to serve multiple destinations, only one destination is usually listed.
For this reasons details of overnight trains on the ‘Trains From’ information listed on therebytrain.com is often more accurate.
Click here to look up point to point journey details using the D-Bahn timetable
Before doing so we recommend reading the information below!
When looking up a journey you will often be prompted to enter your age so that the site can offer you ticket prices, The D-bahn sells tickets for
trains within and from/to Germany.
However, you will often be asked for this age info when you can’t book tickets on the site for the journey that you’re looking up.
Use the ‘show details for all’ facility It contains a mass of useful information including;
- The days of running (the days that train will operate on) (see note(s) below)
- All the stations that the train will call at – click the train number
- Whether seats have to be reserved on the train (in Germany)
- Ticket prices (within and to/from Germany)
Look carefully at the notes that can be listed for each train. ‘Not every day’ can often refer to a specific departure time and not a day of the week.
Trains are unlikely to be cancelled completely.
Days Of Running Information
The notes for the train service often refer to a specific period of time such as ‘Fri’ or ‘Mon-Sat’, but often the service will be operating on other days of the week, but on these other days of the week it may have a different train number (see below) or be faster/slower and therefore operate to a different schedule.
European trains have individual numbers, we don’t use them on therebytrain.com as for leisure rail travellers they can cause confusion, but the D-Bahn timetable does use them.
Often trains that operate at the same time daily between destinations have different train numbers according to the day of the week.
Therefore when the D-Bahn timetable says, for example, ‘Not Sat’, the train may actually operate on that day of the week under a different number.
For this reason the departure information on therebytrain.com may seem to contradict that on The D-bahn timetable, so it’s worth double checking the information on the D-bahn timetable for different days of the week.
The majority of European timetables change on December 8th 2012, so the times listed on the site are correct to this date. Not all the new information can be listed on the 12th so double check information when using the service around that time.
Finding the right destination/station
The timetable can (inevitably for such a huge undertaking) can be inconsistent particularly when using naming conventions for towns/cities, so if you can’t
find the destination you need try its native spelling.
Common examples include;
- ‘Venice’ isn’t listed as a destination on the timetable you need to look it up using 'Venezia'
- Brussels/Bruxelles) Midi (the main international station in Brussels) isn't visible when searching for 'Brussels', you need to search for 'Bruxelles'
- For specific stations in Vienna, including the ‘Westbahnhof’ search for ‘WIEN’ and not Vienna. ‘VIENNA’ lists all the departures from the city and many trains call at more than one station in the city.
Destinations that have more than station are often distinguished by capital letters and if you select such a destination option it will list the departures
from ALL the stations in the city.
This is a particularly useful for destinations such as Barcelona and Florence where specific train services/train types generally call at separate stations.
But be careful when using this facility, the departure times shown are from the main station in the city.
- MILANO - this lists the details for Milan Centrale station only, for other stations in the city you have to select then specifically.
- VENICE OR VENEZIA - isn’t listed as destination option, but Venizia Santa Lucia (the main station in Venice) and Venizia Mestre (on the mainland) are listed as separate stations.
- WIEN – lists depratures from Westbahnhof only for trains that call both at Westbahnhof and the city’s other major station, Meidling.
Also double check departure times when selecting cities with more than one primary station at which long distance trains call at as they pass through the city. Cities/
destinations where this can occur include Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Prague and Venice and Vienna.
For example trains from Prague to Berlin call at Hoselvice station approximately 10 mins after they depart from the city’s primary station h.l.n.
Accessing Additional Info For Each Train/Departure
When you have found the train that meets your requirements click its train number (or the horizontal dashes) listed to the left of the station departure
You will then see all the stations served by the train including when it calls at more than one station in a city. You can then work which station(s) in the city the train calls at and therefore your most convenient boarding point.
The main cities in German and Austrian cities have ‘hbf’ at the end of the station names.
Check the ‘Destinations Guide’ on therebytrain.com for details of separate stations within major cities.
Making connections between trains
Check the connection times for journeys that involve changes of trains. The connection time default of ‘duration of transfer standard’ will show onward connections for trains that will depart within 10 mins of the first train arriving at a station.
In practice this can be optimistic particularly if you’re unfamiliar with navigating a large station, also long distance trains can run late and when they do the train that you’re connecting to usually won’t wait.
The 'timetable' now allows for the user to select connection times of up to 45 minutes.
Therebytrain suggests using the default of default of ‘duration of transfer standard’ when:
- making connections between any train in The Netherlands and Switzerland
- connecting between domestic trains in Austria Belgium, Denmark and local trains in Germany
Increase to at least 20 minutes when:
- connecting to/from from TGV trains in France, AV trains in Italy and AVE trains in Spain
- All trains in Great Britain
Increase to at least 30 minutes when:
connecting from ICE and Railjet trains and IC trains in any country
Increase to at least 45 minutes when;
connecting to/from EC trains, overnight trains and any route on which trains operate at more than two hourly intervals.
Consider that the walking times between stations and within stations are on occasion optimistic and on others, over generous.
Alternatives To 'Fastest' Trains
The planner is designed to show the fastest possible journey times between two destinations so on occasion slower (but more scenic) routes are not shown as options and potential combinations involving slower trains (that don’t require reservations/supplements) can be omitted.
A faster journey between two destinations can often involve more changes, while remaining on one train can be a less stressful journey.
When planning a long distance trip, use the earlier/later trains tabs to check all the possible routes and timings for a 24 hour period, often faster journey times and simpler connections are available, but aren’t visible on the first page of options.
Rail pass holders can consider alternative destinations when tight/awkward connections cannot be avoided.
Many overnight trains (particularly in Eastern Europe) are divided on route so serve a number of destinations.
However, the D-Bahn timetable tends to only list only a single destination for such trains.
For example the overnight train from Warsaw to Vienna also conveys carriages for both Prague and Budapest, but only Vienna is listed as the train’s destination.
In other words NOT EVERY TRAIN/JOURNEY IS LISTED ON THE TIMETABLE.
When taking overnight trains the planner often assumes that travellers will want to get off an overnight train to catch an early morning faster train to the final destination.
Check the final calling points of your overnight train, by clicking its train number to check, to see whether this is necessary.
Types of Train
Not all train classifications used on the D-Bahn timetable are completely accurate, for example AV, Esc and ES trains in Italy are all given the prefix ES.
Also all TGV services are given the prefix ‘TGV’ including the ‘Lyria’ services to/from Switzerland and the ‘Artesia’ services to/from Italy.
In other countries the timetable lists German train types such as ICE and IC as default in countries where these type(s) of train don’t actually operate, ICE can be an indicator that the train will travel on a high speed line.
Info re: Reservations
If you see ‘Subject to compulsory reservation’ on the train details, then a supplement will also be required for this train. However, this is not ALWAYS listed when a supplement IS required.
When ‘please reserve’ is suggested 2nd class ticket and pass holders should take the advice.
The Departure Information on therebytrain.com
As can be seen from above, using the online D-Bahn timetable as a sole resource for planning a rail trip can cause confusion, particularly if you haven't travelled in a country by train before.
Which is why we’re simplifying the departure information on the therebytrain.com on our ‘trains from’ guides at a glance guides that you'll find on many of our 'destination pages.
As the train service information on therebyrain.com is very much a GUIDE to train times and does not take into account every detail on when departure times are altered due to holidays or work on the line, we recommend checking specific departure details on the D-Bahn online timetable.
If you are considering using trains that depart infrequently you should definitely check the D-Bahn timetable – particularly if there is only one train service per day/night between two destinations.