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Deutsche Bahn AG

Germany's main train operator, the Deutsche Bahn AG ("German Railway Corporation", also known as DB or DBAG) provides passenger and freight service via federally owned tracks.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Current corporate structure
3 Website
4 See also
5 External links


Prior to 1920, small, sovereign territories and kingdoms (for example Bavaria, Saxony, and Prussia) operated their own railways. These Staats- and Länderbahnen [State and Territorial Railways] united to form the Deutsche Reichsbahngesellschaft (DRG) [German Imperial Railway Company].

Post World War II, Germany (and therefore the DRG) was divided into 4 zones: American, British, French and Soviet. The first three eventually combined to form the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the Russian zone became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

From 1949, the new governments assumed authority for railway operations. The DRG's successors were named Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) [German Federal Railways] in the West, and Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) [German Imperial Railways] in the East -- even though the empire had ceased to exist.

Unlike the DRG, which was a corporation, both the DB and the DR were federal institutions, directly controlled by their respective transportation ministries. Railway service between East and West was restricted; there were around five well-controlled and secure checkpoints between West Germany and East Germany, and about the same number between East Germany and West Berlin. Four transit routes existed between West Germany and West Berlin; citizens of West Berlin and West Germany were able to use these without too much harassment by the East German authorities.

In 1989, the Wall fell. Train frequency rapidly increased on the existing East/West corridors; closed links which had formerly crossed the border were re-opened in order to help Germans explore their newly found freedom.

On October 3, 1990, Germany was reunified; however, this was not the case with the railways. Administrative and organisational problems led to the decision to reform the organisation of Germany's railways. The so-called Bahnreform [Railways Reform] came into effect in 1994, when the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn joined to form the Deutsche Bahn AG (DBAG).

Current corporate structure

DBAG is still fully owned by the Federal Government, but has its own mangement and is allowed (and expected) to operate as a for-profit business.

It was expected that the privatisation and opening of German tracks to other railway companies would promote competition and efficency, and eventually lead to higher standards and lower costs. To all outward appearances, however, DBAG seems to continue as a large holding company that owns and manages various semi-independent subsidiaries:

; DBNetz: owns and maintains all track ; DBStation+Service: responsible for station buildings including platforms, ticket sales and general service ; DBReise+Touristik: operates long-distance trains ; DBRegio: operates short and medium distance trains as well as commuter services ; DBZugBus: provides bus services and owns many smaller bus companies ; BRG (Bahnreinigungsgesellschaft [Railway cleaning company]): provides cleaning services ; BSG (Bahnschutzgesellschaft [Railway protection company]): employs safety patrol personnel for railway stations and trains, mostly at night ; DBImmobilien: manages all real estate ; DBFuhrpark: owns all corporate cars ; Mitropa (formerly: DSG - Deutsche Schlaf- und Speisewagen Gesellschaft; German sleeping- and dining car copmany)): operates (the now disappearing) restaurant cars and restaurants and snack stands inside stations. As of December 2002, Mitropa has been taken over by DBReise+Touristik.

In conjunction with American Airlines, Emirates, and Lufthansa, Deutsche Bahn operates rail services (AiRail Service) between Frankfurt International Airport and Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Hamburg, Hanover, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremburg, and Stuttgart. Deutsche Bahn has the IATA designator 2A.


The website has a rail travel planner for the whole of Europe, and also at least the Trans-Siberian railway. Thus for travel outside Germany it is an additional possibility in addition to using a national planner, and may have additional features.

See also

External links

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