Example of what I mean:

Here is ICE519 in the DB Navigator app: ICE519 to Köln

It's shown as Hamburg to Köln. However on the platform, and in the train itself, it's shown as Hamburg to München, and Köln is just one of the intermediate stops. I've seen a similar pattern with ICE's going from Hamburg to München via Berlin; there the navigator calls it a train to Erfurt, with a note that after Spandau it'll be ICExxxx to München.

On the platformIn the train

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    I assume: you know that the train will pass to Cologne. So you need to have the correct ticket (on tickets you will see allowable routes). And I assume it just show the possible routes diffentiation on tariffs (so not all stops) Feb 22 at 16:48
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    Not a full explanation, therefore just a comment: Some German trains make such a substantial detour, that it does not make sense to use them for the entire journey, like in this case, you would normally not use your train to travel all the way (departing Hamburg 9:45, arriving Munich 18:26), but rather take the 10:05 train, which arrives 16:01. I would therefore assume that even if it is one train, it is in the time table data somehow virtually split in two sections (in Cologne), to prevent the train from showing up if someone searches for a trip from Hamburg to Munich. Feb 22 at 17:48
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    @MarkJohnson No, it does not show that. The only city name cut off is the destination city I used in the search (in this case FRA airport). You need to either click on "Zuginformation" to get a full itinerary with all stops, both before, and after, the searched journey. OR click the 3 dots to get a bunch of text with "Verkehrt ab Bremen Hbf als ICE 519 in Richtung Frankfurt(M) Flughafen Fernbf. Verkehrt ab Osnabrück Hbf als ICE 519 in Richtung München Hbf" at the end. Feb 23 at 9:37
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Yes, I've only seen this on roundabout routes, but I don't get the why. When searching online those routes wouldn't be presented anyway as they so slow. Here I've searched on Hamburg - FRA and been told to take the 9:45 ICE bound for Köln. But at the station there's no such train, and I actually need to take the 9:45 bound for Munich. Feb 23 at 9:50
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    Related - I've noticed that in some Berlin local trams, the final stop is not listed as the destination, if it's a few stops past a big stop. E.g. tram 16 lists the destination as "U Frankfurter Allee" even though the "last" stop is 1 stop later, Jessnerstraße, and there is 1 additional stop during the turnaround loop, Traveplatz (which counts as the first stop on the way back; they tell everyone to get off before the loop).
    – user253751
    Feb 24 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


As @tor-einar-jarnbjo commented, this is usually done on very long running services that don't go directly to their final destination but take a large detour. There are indeed trains that basically go a full loop across Germany within 12 hours.

The main idea behind this is that it might be confusing to name the final destination. The destination named will be one that is about the longest distance the usual traveler will take this train. Using the example in the question, Hamburg-Munich via Berlin which is labeled as going to Erfurt in Hamburg. Erfurt is about the last stop where this is the fastest connection. For further stops, the more direct train is the faster choice.

But, as @strangertokindness noted, this is currently only used in the travel planner app and on the web page. Signs on platforms and in trains usually show the actual route and the final destination. As it is now I think this is rather confusing and not a great idea. On the first glance you might think that you need to change trains, and later you won't find a train matching the description at the platform. It might be better to replace "to Erfurt" by "via Erfurt" to make it clear that this is not a direct train.

  • I think this is the best answer we're going to get, so I consider the question answered. Mar 6 at 12:00

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