I am trying to book some train tickets on the Deutsche Bahn website. One of the tickets it is recommending involves a 7-minute transfer from one train to another at Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof. The arriving train comes in on Platform 1 and the departing train leaves 7 minutes later from Platform 14. Those sound potentially quite far apart - is it reasonable to do that in 7 minutes? Travellers will be: one adult and one teenager, with no mobility issues, with one suitcase and two rucksacks between us. We've never visited Karlsruhe before so are not at all familiar with the station layout, but speak enough German between us to be able to read signs etc.

Also, if we buy "Sparpreise" tickets which are for the specific train only, and we miss the connection, presumably we have to buy another ticket? The DB website implies (at https://www.bahn.com/en/view/booking-information/passenger-rights/passenger-rights-in-rail-transport.shtml ) that you are only entitled to a refund of your original ticket if the train arrives more than 60 minutes late at your final destination, and isn't really clear about what happens if you miss a connection due to the first train running just a few minutes late but have a "specific train" ticket.

  • 3
    Karlsruhe is a "simple" station, but stairs might be very congested. A good map can be found in Openstreetmap: osm.org/go/0DPu033aQ--
    – asdfex
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 18:31
  • Walking from the back bus station (Hbf South) to the front train station usually took me about 5-7 minutes with crowds in the main tunnel. I wouldn't risk it.
    – Hex
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


If you miss a connection with a Sparpreis (and it's not your own fault), you may take any other train that gets you to your destination without buying a new ticket. The ticket inspector on the next train will be able to verify on the Internet that your first train was late. You could even be faster than originally planned, e.g. if your Sparpreis connection was a slower IC train and you now use an ICE. (see here).

To be precise: as soon as you will be late by 20 minutes or more, you may take any other train. If you miss a connection, you'd be infinitely late, so obviously this rule now applies. You may even take a different train before starting the journey if the first one on your ticket is e.g. 10 minutes late and you'd now miss that 7 minutes connection. The 60 minutes you mention are only relevant for compensation (which you may also apply for if you are indeed that much too late).

7 minutes is not that much, but it's doable. Platforms in Karlsruhe are connected via two tunnels. 1/4 quarter from the front or end of the train might be a good choice for a seat, as you will be closer to the stairs that take you down to these tunnels (thanks asdfex for the correction).

I would choose this connection only if you don't mind taking the next train, should it come to that. You can look up the possible connections from Karlsruhe to your destination to see how long you'd have to wait. Financially, it won't be an issue.

  • 2
    There are two tunnels in Karlsruhe - 1/4 quarter from the front or end of the train might be a good choice. The tunnel in the East might be better for a fast connection because there is less traffic, but also no elevator nor escalator. About taking another train: Everything helm said is true, unless its your own fault and not because of one of the trains being delayed.
    – asdfex
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 18:28
  • 3
    One caveat: If you had reserved seats on the original train, and take another one, there obviously won't be any reservation for you there. Commented May 20, 2018 at 20:05
  • @asdfex Thanks for the correction, I've edited my answer
    – helm
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 20:45
  • Since your connection is/was on platform 14 I assume this is a local train. With Sparpreis tickets you are only bound to long distance trains (with the exceptions mentioned above). So if you are late in the long distance train, you can take any regional train afterwards to your destination.
    – 8192K
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 13:24
  • @Sebastian That would be relevant only the other way around: if the first train was a regional train, you could take any earlier one with better chances of catching the long-distance train afterwards, even with no delays announced yet. If your train is already late, it doesn't matter whether the next one is regional or long-distance: you are allowed to take any train that gets you to your destination.
    – helm
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 14:14

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