Deutsche Bahn’s once-admired service has descended into chaos. Whether decades of poor investment or the company’s unusual structure is to blame, it’s a huge headache for a coalition trying to meet climate goals Joanna Partridge Cologne Sat 14 Oct 2023 14.00 CEST The sleek high-speed train is 10 minutes behind schedule when it slides into Cologne’s main station before continuing its journey north to Dortmund. The delay is now such a common occurrence that the train manager does not even both to mention it to disembarking passengers. In late afternoon on an unremarkable weekday in this western German city, holidaymakers are hauling suitcases through the station, workers are commuting home, and the late arrival of Deutsche Bahn’s IC 118 from Innsbruck is no surprise. It does cause annoyance, though: a glance at the departures and arrivals board prompts one middle-aged man carrying a backpack to swear loudly as he enters the station. It’s hard to blame him: on the afternoon the Observer visited, the arrivals board showed that eight out of the next nine trains due into Cologne were behind schedule. The degree of lateness ranged from minutes to several hours, and a lengthy queue had formed at the entrance hall’s information desk. “The situation has severely deteriorated in recent years,” said Detlef Neuss, chair of the passenger lobby group Pro Bahn, standing outside Cologne’s main station, in the shadow of the city’s gothic cathedral with its distinctive twin spires.
Von Martin Lechler – Eigene Aufnahme mit Handy, Gemeinfrei, Link