The highway network in Germany probably has the widest coverage in any country of the world, but still, autobahns are sometimes congested. Germany has been investing in new railroads (while maintaining the extensive autobahn network) and high-speed trains to support more environmental friendly and effective public transportation. On December 10th,2017, a new high-speed train starts transporting passengers between north and south of the country, connecting Berlin and Munich.
The new Deutsche Bahn train is scheduled to make the distance in 3 hours 55 minutes. Daily, three trains travel the distance to both directions. Let’s compare the railroad travel time to flying and driving.
– By air, it is about an hour of in-air flight time. You must add about two hours for check-in and security checks, and from half an hour to one hour for getting out of the airport and organizing transportation.
– By road, the distance between Berlin and Munich is 585 km / 363 miles. It is autobahn all the way, so it depends how the traffic flows, how fast the driver is willing to go, and how many breaks the driver takes. Let’s say the driver takes only one break, the traffic is moderate and the travel speed is 120 – 140 km/h. The distance should be covered in six or seven hours.
So, the new train connection is faster than traveling by road (yes, it is possible to speed on autobahns and cut the travel time, but it is not for every driver and car). The train takes a slightly longer route, 623 km, than road travelers, but since the high-speed train can go up to 300 km/h in many places along the route, the total time is less than via road.
Considering that train stations are located in city centers, train passengers already are in the city whereas air travelers have to spend time and money to in order to get a transportation from an airport to the city center.
A plan for the Berlin-Munich ICE train was announced already in 1991. The construction started in 1996. The new service partly uses existing railroads that have been modernized for the new trains, and a whole new stretch of 107 km has been built through Thuringian Forest region. 22 new tunnels and 29 bridges had to be built along the way.
The Local reports that a ticket for the high-speed train costs 125 Euros, whereas the old normal-speed train ticket costs from 75 to 120 Euros.