DB to withdraw all remaining sleeper trains

Discussion in 'Freight, International and Other Rail' started by CHamilton, Dec 21, 2015.

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  1. Dec 21, 2015 #1

    CHamilton

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    DB to withdraw all remaining sleeper trains
     
  2. Dec 21, 2015 #2

    Anderson

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    Considering that a large part of this was a knock-on effect of the EU's forced privatization directive, I'd like to see [CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED] Angela Merkel [CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED] EU [CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED] Germany [CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED][CENSORED].
     
  3. Dec 22, 2015 #3

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Ok this is a big negative event.

    However the French cut there sleepers after the TGV network came on-line. Today you can still ride sleeping cars in France. Just not everywhere.

    Time to check my passport expiration date.
     
  4. Dec 22, 2015 #4

    jis

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    Even in France most of the remaining ones have been progressively lost over the years.
     
  5. Dec 22, 2015 #5

    MikefromCrete

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    Only 1 percent of the long distance passengers use the night trains. Why did you think was going to happen?
     
  6. Dec 22, 2015 #6

    Just-Thinking-51

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    That 1% generated 90 million euro of business.
     
  7. Dec 22, 2015 #7

    jis

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    And it cost over 130 million euros to run according to some reports. That is without including the upcoming needs for rolling stock upgrade/replacement that is due. They are cutting and running to avoid that cost since there is no expectation of the service performing significantly better even after those changes.

    And 90 million is what percentage of 40 billion, which roughly is the annual revenue of DB?

    Actually I believe that if the Germans saw any real utility in the running the service they would have continued to run them. As it is they have to coax and cajole people to use those trains.Apparently predominantly people like to get to their destination the previous evening and sleep in a bed on terra ferma than bounce along all night, even on Europe's smooth tracks. What can I say?
     
  8. Dec 23, 2015 #8

    trainviews

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    The one percent must be of all Intercity travel, probably excluding regionals, but not very "long distance" seen from the US.

    But anyway, in Europe you have a more and more clear partition of the market. Train travel has been ballooning for short and medium distance travel - or more precisely medium travel time. At the same time the airline market is growing briskly too, but mostly on a bit longer distances or where no decent train connection is available.

    RZD and ÖBB are hanging on, but everywhere else sleepers seem to be slowly disappearing. As for City Night Line it clearly lacked investment, has had serious OTP issues and the concept of tying all the lines together and shuffling cars in the middle of the night in Hannover, waking everyone up, was flat out annoying. Generelly their only market has been holiday makers, selling out in the summer but running almost empty in low season.

    I'm sorry to see them go, but I can't say I'm surprised...
     
  9. Dec 23, 2015 #9

    iggy

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    Seems obvious at least one commenter did not read further down.

    Keith Fender, Germany regional editor seemed to show that several companies went out of their way to reduce service levels making services less attractive. When your efforts are to kill off services - not much can be done. Not sure a true effort to market / save routes was put forth.
     
  10. Dec 23, 2015 #10

    Bob Dylan

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    Right out of the SP Playbook in the 60s!!!
     
  11. Dec 23, 2015 #11

    jis

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    Yup, the same song and dance. It is not as if they were making money or even coming close before the service reductions started happening either. That was the core problem. Whereas the newer tech high speed trains were starting to pull out of red and make money the overnight trains were not. And of course there will always be railfans who will moan about any change whatsoever negative or positive too, as has always been the case.

    More than making money or losing money on specific trains, the issue as always is of setting priorities on how best to spend money to provide the most effective infrastructure for transportation. For decades now, in Europe it has not been clear that the best way to spend the money is on overnight trains, given the travel patterns that have developed with the rise of low cost airlines and high speed trains. As always some overnight trains will still get retained for economic or sentimental or other reasons. But the time for overnight trains in most of western Europe is more or less gone, unfortunately. I enjoyed them much while they lasted. Trains going into and beyond Eastern Europe will continue to have sleeper service in some form or the other.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2015
  12. Dec 23, 2015 #12

    Just-Thinking-51

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  13. Dec 23, 2015 #13

    WoodyinNYC

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    Where do you want overnight trains to run in Germany?

    The steady addition of high-speed segments keeps cutting trip times between major cities, so how many city pairs are left where the trip takes at least 7 hours? C'mon. Get a map. LOL.

    Buried deep in a recent Railway Gazette article Erfurt – Leipzig opening will cut journey times

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/erfurt-leipzig-opening-will-cut-journey-times.html

    were these nuggets: Leipzig-Frankfurt now down to 3 hours. Berlin-Munich will soon be 4 hours, not 6.

    I'm just not seeing where overnight sleeper service is needed within Germany at all. And I'm not concerned because the relevance of that fact to US routes like Chicago-West Coast or NYC-Florida is zilch.

     
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  14. Dec 23, 2015 #14

    Bob Dylan

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    But what if you want to go from say Italy or Switzerland to say, Denmark.

    This used to be an excellent way to save money on hotels when traveling around Europe!

    Glad that Jolly ole England still has the overnight Trains to Scotland even if they are pricey as jis said!
     
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  15. Dec 23, 2015 #15

    jis

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    There are both daytime and overnight ICE services all over the place now for such distances. It is a 17 hour journey from Zurich to Copenhagen. There are two daytime connections and one overnight, all connecting through Hamburg and all ICE.However, none of them are as cheap as the cheap flights that take a couple of hours. Incidentally Zurich - Hamburg is one the last remaining City night Line services.

    It literally is the case that the operating cost of standard ICE trains is so much less than that of individual cars being shuffled around from train to train that there is no contest. And unfortunately, when you have really cheap flight from Zurich to Copenhagen leaving after office hours and of course all through the day too, it is highly unlikely that anyone will bother riding a train except for the true dyed in the wool. I am sure at least eh business travelers are not really concerned about saving money on hotels, and a cheap flight plus a cheap hotel is usually cheaper than a overnight sleeper. The whole economics of the thing has changed drastically making overnight sleepers not work all that well in terms of what it costs everyone.
     
  16. Dec 24, 2015 #16

    Anderson

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    I think part of the problem was the [CENSORED] EU rail directive basically forcing everyone to "rationalise" and "liberalise" services. From what I can tell, in a previous era the 40m Euro deficit could easily have been covered by the government; now, it would probably amount to "illegal state aid" (especially if doing so might detract from some franchisee or another) or somesuch. While this is resulting in more trains being available, I think it's fair to say that this has also induced an airline-style decline in quality. Of course, I say this as an observer with a limited education on the topic rather than someone who has ridden any train in Europe other than the Paris Metro.

    Edit: To be clear, regulation 1370/2007 seems to be at issue (though I believe it succeeded some other regulations...EU law is such a soup of crap that I have trouble wading through it, and their page formatting makes the laws even harder to read since some idiot thought that putting two columns on a single page was a good idea...and I'm kind of stuck trying to find which laws or regulations actually deal with this area).

    Suffice it to say that 20-25 years ago I know there was a mentality that a lot of things could/should be subsidized which has vanished steadily.

    One other point: I know DB has a lot of riders but there's no mention of how much of that is short-hop ridership (either commuter-length runs or otherwise <2 hour trips).
     
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  17. Dec 24, 2015 #17

    jis

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    I don't know exactly how DB shows the accounts for the S-Bahns these days, which are all becoming separate franchises that DB has to bid and win. It has been winning some and losing some in spite of the German Government trying to overtly or covertly favor DB. It should be interesting to see what the German Railway network looks like five years from now.

    As far as the so called LD trains go, at issue their replacement by ICE service - day or overnight.
     
  18. Dec 25, 2015 #18

    Anderson

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    Hmmm...is DB distinct from ICE? I had thought ICE was a brand of DB.
     
  19. Dec 25, 2015 #19

    jis

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    Who said anything about ICE not being a DB service?

    Open Access is giving access to other companies to run services on the German rail network. The point is that some other company might decide that overnight trains with sleepers are worthwhile after all. Just because DB decides it does not want to do something does not mean it won't be done by someone else.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2015
  20. Dec 25, 2015 #20

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Anderson only trains that cross borders can not be subsidies per the EU.

    The big issue is there so many connecting trains. Most CNL trains have to be split at some point, cars add on, or dropped off. This dropping of CNL will have major impacts on several other system trains.

    Marketing seem to be the down fall. Last time I travel on CNL there cars were blue. Now with the changes to DB only, it hard to find a single point of access. Case in point two maps on the DB web site. Nether show all the night trains route available from the different providers. Why?

    http://www.citynightline.de/p_en/view/mdb/bahnintern/international/p_en/city_night_line/mdb_209252_final_sk_cnl_partnerbahnen_fuer_online_2.pdf

    http://www.citynightline.de/p_en/view/mdb/bahnintern/international/p_en/city_night_line/mdb_209249_final_cnl_streckenkarte_a4_deutsch_2015_fuer_online.pdf

    Try to book a night train and you have to click past so many ICE to get to a CNL.

    Let's just make it hard to book the train, so only us foamers can find them. A Winning approach .
     
  21. Dec 25, 2015 #21

    caravanman

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    It is a shame that the City Night Line trains are being withdrawn. I have been lucky to ride a few of these overnight trains in the last 10 years. I believe that the publicity and promotion of these services was above average, even a specific ticket promoting "visit the city by day, sleep overnight on the train, visit next city next day...".

    Although I love the slightly sepia image of rail coaches being added and subtracted from trains to arrive at multiple destinations next day, I can see that the ever cheaper budget air fares within Europe are a huge attraction for most people.

    Sadly, I missed the chance to travel from Amsterdam to Warsaw via sleeper at only 49 Euro. That service seems no longer available.

    Many good daytime international trains operate, Amsterdam to Berlin, Berlin to Budapest, Budapest to Belgrade, etc.

    I think this is the latest CNL map Nov. 2015. :http://www.bahn.com/i/view/mdb/bahnintern/international/p_en/city_night_line/mdb_209249_final_cnl_streckenkarte_a4_deutsch_2015_fuer_online.pdf

    Bon Voyage!

    Ed. :cool:
     
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  22. Dec 25, 2015 #22

    Anderson

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    Ok, there is the issue (the bar on subsidizing cross-border trains...I knew I remembered there being a bar on something that was royally messing things up). The problem there becomes, of course, that while Hamburg-Berlin might be a quick run, I think some runs like Amsterdam/Brussels-Berlin (or Paris-insert destination here) are still going to fall in that 8+ hour window. Yes, I know, that's a "more logical" airline market but I'd point out that New York-Florida and New York-Chicago both have overnight trains in the US that more or less cover their operating costs. Not solely aimed at those markets, but nothing stops an overnight train from making intermediate stops.
     
  23. Dec 26, 2015 #23

    Just-Thinking-51

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    US and Western Europe are two different markets. If you can get a 8 hour spread, than a overnight run is possible. However your pax load is limited to one city and there needs to get to the next city.

    Do you think Pittsburgh PA to Philadelphia can support a night train? Sure we got Boston to Washington but can it support itself or is a clean up train? Has a purpose in the timetable, but I don't think it can be self supporting.

    Slivers train are over 24 hours with lots of stops, that what makes it. Auto Train with out the auto carriers, how would the numbers look.

    I also feel DB is focus on ICE, something like Amtrak is focus on Acela. Sure you have a built in market and you make money. But why is there bit players sneaking into your lanes of traffic? In US we have buses eating Amtrak NEC traffic. In Europe we have open access trains.

    https://locomore.com/en/index.html

    I do wonder if Amtrak were to run a single 18 car train on the NEC and charge a super low fare, just how successful it would be. Make a run for the bus crowds? Running out of slots on the NEC, so let's max out the train lengths. Oh sorry we are buying more Acela type of trains. Acela and only Acela.
     
  24. Dec 26, 2015 #24

    railbuck

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    This is a consideration worth noting. Not all CNL trains are "pure" CNL; many of them have IC coaches as well that are shuffled along with the sleeper cars.

    Case in point with a random date of 16 January, traveling from Munich to Düsseldorf (8 hours with no change of trains), one can ticket CNL 418 for 49€ (sparpreis couchette) or IC 60418 for 51€ (second class saver fare). Why anyone would choose the latter option I cannot imagine. However, the restriction on the CNL ticket is that you must board south of Frankfurt and your destination must be north of Frankfurt. If your origin or destination is Frankfurt, or your travel does not cross Frankfurt, only the IC is available.

    The above example is part of the Munich-Amsterdam route, which interchanges with Munich-Hamburg (CNL 40418/IC 61418), Zurich-Hamburg (CNL 478/IC 60478), and Zurich-Amsterdam (CNL 40478/IC 61478).

    So I'm curious what they will do. Continue to run the same trains but with the IC cars only (discontinue the CNL cars and service but not the trains)? Run similar IC trains but without the shuffling, requiring long distance pax to transfer in the middle of the night? Convert everything to ICE and split/join train units? ICE with transfers?

    Regardless, looks like I'd better book at least one more CNL trip next year before they disappear.
     
  25. Dec 26, 2015 #25

    Just-Thinking-51

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    http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/europe/db-seeks-to-renew-itself-after-strategic-review.html?channel=537

    "GERMAN Rail (DB) has announced the outcome of months of strategic review, assisted by consulting firm McKinsey, confirming a programme of measures to tackle the company's worsening financial performance.

    CEO Dr Rüdiger Grube set out the process that DB will implement to "renew itself," by first "cleaning" the company of unnecessary management and business structures and from 2016 focussing on both train punctuality and service quality."

    Seem that DB has some issues to address. City Night Line did not cover the full allocated cost. Overhead and capital of course.

    Of interest is the 350 new passenger station over the next 15 years. 55bn euro of capital investment next 5 years.

    Oh to have issues like these
     

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