German trains from Munich to Zurich cut from timetable after frequent delays
A new report by the Swiss newspaper Watson has suggested that German long-distance transport provider Deutsche Bahn (DB) has been cutting rail services from Zurich to Munich from its timetable due to excessive delays. This is the second time in recent months that public transport in Switzerland has been impacted because of delays at DB, with services to Chur having already been cut since December.
Deutsche Bahn removes Zurich to Munich from booking system
According to the newspaper, DB has been removing Zurich to Munich rail services from its online booking platforms. Travellers looking to use German trains to get to Zurich Airport and Winterthur from Zurich HB can no longer do so. In addition, passengers from Germany are now only able to book services from Munich to Zurich HB and stations before St. Gallen.
The rail service, called the Eurocity 98, was designed to compete with air and bus routes between Zurich and Munich - currently, 14 bus services and six flights go between the cities every day. Since the German section of the line was electrified in December 2021, travel times on the train have fallen from four to three and a half hours, meaning the service could start to compete with air travel in terms of speed.
Two-thirds of German trains between Zurich and Munich delayed
However, in recent weeks, trains between Munich and Zurich have been consistently and constantly delayed. On December 19, for example, the train only made it as far as Winterthur before being cancelled, with all other DB services on the route being between 25 and 35 minutes delayed between December 19 and December 21. With the train being so unreliable, DB has taken the unusual step of removing the trains from online booking platforms in an effort to stabilise the service.
Speaking to Watson, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) spokesperson Sabrina Schellenberg explained that a number of issues plague the route, including infrastructure issues in Germany, long sections of single-track and errors in the train’s tilting system. What’s more, if the trains do not reach St. Gallen on time, they will get stuck behind slower Interregional services, meaning most trains will arrive 30 minutes late in Zurich, if they arrive at all.
Schellenberg said that two-thirds of Zurich to Munich trains were delayed at the start of 2022, and that the situation has "neither significantly improved nor worsened" since. She explained that the removal of the trains from the online timetable was part of a series of “control measures” designed to curb demand and reduce delays.