Deutsche Bahn and ca. 1500 private railway companies operate a total of 23,496 powered rail vehicles:
In 2006, railways in Germany carried ca. 119,968,000 passengers on long-distance trains (at an average distance of 288 km), and 2,091,828,000 passengers on short-distance trains (21 km on average). In the same year they carried 346,118,000 tonnes of goods at an average distance of 309 km.
Volume-Percentage of private railway companies in Germany
Deutsche Bahn (state-owned private company) is the main provider of railway service. In recent years a number of competitors have started business. They mostly offer state-subsidized regional services, but some, like Veolia Verkehr offer long-distance services as well.
UrlaubsExpress – national night trains to the Alps and the Baltic Sea during vacation times
InterRegio services, introduced in 1988 to replace the former Schnellzug and Intercity, were abolished in 2003. Deutsche Bahn is gradually increasing the percentage of InterCityExpress services, and downgrading the remaining InterCity services to the role formerly played by InterRegio.
Thalys – high-speed services to Belgium and France, using modified French TGV trains
Cisalpino – to Italy, service discontinued mid-December 2006
Regional rail and local rail traffic is organised and subsidised (as the fares usually do not cover the running costs) by the federal states. Usual procedure under EU legislation is to award the contract to the lowest bid by means of a tender procedure. The respective states are free to announce short- or long-term contracts as well as to stipulate further conditions e.g. on rolling stock. In recent years, many bids were won by private rail companies like NordWestBahn or Arriva, although some states have awarded long-term contracts to local DB Regio subsidiaries. The train types for regional and local traffic are:
The European Union Commission issued a TSI (Technical Specifications for Interoperability) on May 30, 2002, (2002/735/EC) that sets out standard platform heights for passenger steps on high-speed rail. These standard heights are 550 mm and 760 mm.[note 1]
Application of the EU standard heights for new constructions; Green = 550 mm, Pink = 760 mm, Yellow = both, dark gray = New builds in other heights than the EU standards