Deutsche Bahn AG (DB, DB AG or DBAG) - Deutsche Bahn Train Categories - D

Deutsche Bahn - D

Deutsche Bahn Train Categories

These are the following train categories offered by DB, sorted after stop frequency (low to high):

Fernverkehr (long distance trains)

  • ICE (Intercity-Express) for high-speed rail services between major cities and regions
  • IC (InterCity) for long-distance trains connecting regions with each other. If the trains cross international boundaries, they are usually called EuroCity (EC). There are also EuroCity services in Germany operated by foreign state railways

Nahverkehr (Local Trains)

  • IRE (Interregio-Express) serves regions and connects cities. There are IRE trains only in Baden-Württemberg and a Hamburg–Berlin service
  • RE (Regional-Express) serves regions and connects cities
  • RB (Regionalbahn) stops at all stations and is the most basic train service
  • S (S-Bahn) are rapid transit and most of the lines stop at all stations. S-Bahn operate with high frequencies and are comparable with, for example, London Overground

Deutsche Bahn Train categories no longer used include:

  • MET (Metropolitan) was a luxury train service between Hamburg and Cologne. The two special MET train sets now used for IC and ICE services, still have a comfort level above the regular IC and ICE coaches
  • IR (InterRegio), set between RE and IC was meant to connect cities and regions at a lower price, but also be used for local traffic. Replaced partly by IC, RE and IRE
  • SE (Stadt-Express) operated as a mixture of RE and RB: trains skipped many stations in urban areas but made all stops in the countryside. Rebranded as RE and RB. In some regions, such as Rhine-Main (Frankfurt, Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund), the local transit authority still advertises trains as SE. Internally, DB classifies them as either RE or RB, but even DB trains display "SE" on their destination boards.

In the early days of private DB history, it also used to operate the most basic train categories, which were in use since the early days of rail travel in Germany:

  • D (D-Zug or Schnellzug, abbreviated from Durchgangszug) was the express train category and used to be the highest train category. It was replaced by IC and the even faster ICE. The trains of the SyltShuttle plus car shuttle service connecting the island of Sylt with the mainland are still officially referred to as D trains
  • E (Eilzug) was the semi-fast service offering faster journeys than normal passenger trains but not at such long distances and speed as D trains, though there were some quite long running E trains. No direct successor, would be located between RE and IC
  • N (Nahverkehrszug), the most basic form of train stopping at all stops. When all local train services were vertaktet, i.e. became operating at an fixed intervall (mostly one train per hour), they were rebranded as RB

There are several other operators in Germany which might offer other categories, also, a local transport authority or tariff associations might call the trains in a different way than DB does. For example, in the Nuremberg region and formally also in the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund region, RE and RB trains are not differentiated, but called R instead. In some regions, such as Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, private operators do use the RE and RB labels, in others, such as Saxony, they do not. In online and print information systems of DB, private trains officially labelled RB and RE by their operators, might get a different label, for example "ABR" for trains operated by Abellio, though on platforms, trains and maps or timetables issued by the local transport authority overseeing regional train services, these abbreviations usually do not appear.


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