6

For regional trains in Germany, how can I find out how long the train will be?

Background: A train I take regularly usually has six carriages in two trainsets, but sometimes it only has three carriages in one trainset. In my experience, sitting at the extreme end of a six-carriage train, it's usually quite empty and bringing a bicycle is no problem at all, so I wait at the end of the platform with my bike. When the train arrives and turns out to be half as long, I need to run to the end of the train, where so many people (likewise surprised by the short train) are entering that I feel anti-social for bringing my bicycle at all — or I might be told I can't bring it (but then it's too late to lock it and take the train without my bike).

It would be useful to know the length of the train in advance, so that I can 1) wait in a more suitable place, and 2) not bring a bicycle if the train is short.

Even without a bicycle I might want to wait at the extreme end for being in the least busy section.

I asked a staff member, who told me that one strong hint in the DB travel planner is the note Mehrere wagen fehlen, meaning multiple carriages are missing:

Screenshot of DB website with the message Mehrere wagen fehlen

However, Mehrere wagen fehlen, while useful, seems to be a relative statement only. The train an hour later does not have such a message. That might mean that the train is longer, or it might mean that it is scheduled to run as a short train.

Another hint is that at some stations, the train may either be indicated as departing from Gleis 6 A-F or from Gleis 6 D-F. But I can't seem to find this information online.

Then there is the DB indicator on how busy a train is expected to be, but I've found this to be quite unreliable for regional trains.

Can I find other hints of the length that a particular train departure has today?

4
  • 2
    I found that Bahn is frequently missing cars or an entire half of a train even on their ICEs. That's just operational ineptitude, I get a fair amount of seat reservations refunded simply because the seat I reserved wasn't on the train.
    – Hilmar
    Oct 11, 2023 at 13:46
  • @Hilmar True. But knowing it even 10 minutes before departure would be enough for me to decide to park my bike at the departure station that day, and by then it should be known if the train has carriages missing. Or to not stand in an entirely wrong part of the platform. For ICEs and ICs the planned length can be found at various sources, but for regional trains I don't know.
    – gerrit
    Oct 11, 2023 at 14:03
  • 4
    The new DB navigator app has a button "Zuginformation" for trains of the current day, that seems to show what you are looking for. I just did a random search for trains leaving the local train station tonight, and it shows the number of carriages plus if they are double-deck if you know how to interpret the picture. However, the information is only available for IRE and RE (operated by DB), not for RB (not operated by DB). I don't have time right now to turn this one data point into an answer, maybe someone else has?
    – Sabine
    Oct 11, 2023 at 18:08
  • 1
    @Sabine I tested it, and it works (for same-day departures, but that's good enough and answers my question). If you find time within the next couple of days, you can please turn it into an answer.
    – gerrit
    Oct 12, 2023 at 6:38

1 Answer 1

7

Check https://bahn.expert -- it's an independent website that queries the official DB APIs and sometimes shows you information that's not conveniently accessible through bahn.de or the Navigator.

For trains in the Frankfurt region where I used to lived it often had accurate train composition data, but your mileage may vary depending on which region you live in and, particularly, which company operates the trains you're interested in.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .