Deutsche Bahn: Timetable change too optimistic
:bsz international: IC problems
Foto: Public Domains
Five minutes: Time is relative – and so is the question of whether or not you’ll catch your train. Foto: Public Domains
Five minutes: Time is relative – and so is the question of whether or not you’ll catch your train.

If you’ve travelled with German Rail, odds are that you’ve encountered the time unit known as “Deutsche-Bahn-Minute” (DBM). As a frequent traveller, you know that five DBM’s can mean basically anything from “right on time” to “the train is still stuck in Narnia”. Consequently, it should be taken with a pinch of salt when an official statement reads that changing trains will only add five minutes to the total length of your trip. 

Yet, according to the Deutsche Bahn (DB), that’s exactly how it will play out once Bochum ceases to be a stop for the IC to Hamburg and passengers will have to change trains in Dortmund or Essen.

Five minutes is never just five minutes, though – especially since the railway system in the Ruhr area is overburdened and needs to be overhauled. The signal box fire in Mülheim an der Ruhr in 2015 and the subsequent chaos complete with delayed and cancelled trains has shown the need for that. If getting rid of one stop is really going to make a change remains to be seen. Until then, it’ll be an inconvenience for anyone travelling from Bochum.

How your journey could be

“Just five minutes longer”, you think, “that’s not so bad”. Except your connecting train leaves at a weird time so you’ll have to take an earlier regional train from Bochum to Dortmund. “It’s just 10 more minutes”, you think. So you board your train– well, you try to. There’s a small delay. “Just five minutes”, you think. Except it’s actually ten minutes later when your train arrives. What exactly are technical difficulties, anyway?

By the time you get to Dortmund (on the wrong platform), you’re running late. And it turns out that your connecting train is leaving from yet another platform – you’ll have to shoulder your suitcase and run! Panting, you board the train at the last second. You did it! And it only took you about 15 minutes longer than you expected – and a lot of running, cursing, stressing and praying. You’ve won the Game of DBM’s. Others were not so lucky. You may now consider yourself a Master Traveller.

:Stefanie Lux

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