Deutsche Bahn

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Deutsche Bahn AG

legal form public company
founding January 1, 1994
Seat Berlin , GermanyGermany 
number of employees 322,768 (2020)
sales volume 39.9  billion euros (2020)
industry Transport / Logistics
As of December 31, 2020

Deutsche Bahn AG ( DB AG or DB for short, often called Die Bahn in its own advertising ) is a federally owned railway company . The company is organized as a stock corporation and is fully owned by the Federal Republic of Germany , represented by the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport . There are around 600 affiliated companies under the umbrella of the DB Group , including several railway infrastructure companies and a number of railway companies . DB AG operates most of the Germanrail network as well as the majority of rail traffic in Germany and is also internationally active in the transport and logistics sector. DB AG was formed in 1994 from the merger of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn .

BahnTower at night
The BahnTower at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin is the headquarters of the DB.

The group is divided into a large number of companies, including DB Fernverkehr ( long-distance passenger transport ), DB Regio ( local passenger transport ) and DB Cargo ( rail freight transport ). The subsidiary DB Netz also operates large parts of the German railway infrastructure and thus the largest rail network in Europe. The company generates around half of its total sales in rail transport. The other half of the operational business is made up of further transport and logistics business as well as various service providers. The company earns part of its turnover through public transport contracts ; The maintenance and expansion of the infrastructure are also subsidised. In 2020 , the Group's passenger transport companies transported around 2.9 billion travelers with their trains and buses. In 2020, DB logistics companies transported 213.1 million tonnes of goods by rail .

Group structure, organization


passenger traffic

The passenger transport department (brand name: DB Personenverkehr, previously DB Bahn ) is divided into the business units DB Fernverkehr ( long-distance passenger transport ) , DB Regio ( local public transport ) and DB Arriva (local passenger transport abroad).

In 2020, DB carried 81.3 million long-distance passengers. DB Fernverkehr AG transported the majority of this with its national and cross-border long-distance lines.

In local transport, the company transported more than 1.2 billion passengers in 2020, covering 23,897 million passenger kilometers. Passengers accounted for 32 percent of sales in the Regio business area, around 67 percent of the money came from the federal states that are responsible for local transport under the Regionalization Act.

Talent 2 traction vehicle as RE Dresden–Leipzig in the city of Leipzig

Between 2005 and 2010, the former Urban Transport division was responsible for the S-Bahn trains in Berlin and Hamburg , as well as for numerous bus companies, see Bahnbus (Germany) . In 2005, the two S-Bahn networks carried around 524.4 million passengers over a total distance of 5,104 million passenger kilometers.

As of January 1, 2011, the passenger transport department was restructured as part of the Arriva takeover. DB Stadtverkehr GmbH and DB Regio AG were merged into the joint DB Regio business unit . Since then, national local passenger transport has been provided by the DB Regio business unit and DB Arriva's international activities.

The brand structure of DB was changed in 2015, which is why the umbrella brand for passenger transport was renamed from DB Bahn to DB or DB Personenverkehr .

transportation and logistics

DB Cargo freight train
Freight train from DB Cargo

The Transport and Logistics department operated in the market with the DB Schenker Logistics and DB Schenker Rail business units, which were combined under the DB Schenker umbrella , as well as the Intermodal business unit, which operates in combined transport . In 2016, rail freight transport was separated from the logistics area and DB Schenker Rail was renamed DB Cargo .


The infrastructure department is divided into the business areas of rail infrastructure , passenger stations and energy .

DB Engineering & Consulting , which is responsible for construction supervision , construction planning and maintenance, is also assigned to this department without belonging to a business area.

According to the coalition agreement of the red-green-yellow federal government presented in November 2021, the infrastructure units DB Netz and DB Station&Service will be merged into a new, public welfare-oriented infrastructure division. Profits from the operation of this unit shall remain in this unit.


Railway boss Richard Lutz, 2017

Board of Directors

Board members are:

In 2020 there were some changes on the board of Deutsche Bahn. On the one hand, Sigrid Nikutta was appointed to the Executive Board on January 1, 2020. She took over the goods transport and logistics department from Alexander Doll . In addition, she takes over the operational management of the rail freight subsidiary DB Cargo . It is intended to rehabilitate freight traffic, especially single-wagon traffic , which has been plagued with problems for years , and bring it back into the black.

On February 1, 2020, Levin Holle was appointed to the Board of Management for Finance and Logistics. He previously worked as head of financial market policy at the Federal Ministry of Finance . He, too, succeeded Alexander Doll .

supervisory board

Ten members are elected by the general meeting of shareholders , i.e. appointed by the sole shareholder (the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport ). Ten other members are elected by the employees.

Chairman of the supervisory board is Michael Odenwald , his deputy Torsten Westphal (chairman of the railway and transport union EVG).

Other members of the Supervisory Board are:

employee representatives

The approximately 230,000 employees (as of 2006) are divided among the business areas, sorted by board department

advisory boards

The railway advisory board was founded in 2002, followed by a customer advisory board in 2004 .



At the beginning of the 1990s, the state railways in Europe, in Germany the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn, had to look back on a decades-long decline in the proportion of rail traffic . At the same time, the further increase in motor vehicle traffic was predicted as a nightmare scenario. In this situation, politicians demanded that Deutsche Bahn regain shares. The state monopolies of the state railways were considered inefficient. The official railways were not designed for the growing international transport. Various national standards made operation even more difficult. The restructuring of the European railway market began with the adoption of EC Directive 91/440/EEC in 1991. The railways should change from the authority to the company, the rail networks should also be open to competitors and a competition of the railway companies , which were mathematically separate from the infrastructure companies, should take place.

railway reform

In Germany alone, the Bundesbahn generated losses of 7.9 billion euros in 1993. In addition, the Deutsche Reichsbahn had to be incorporated. In the first stage of the railway reform , the Federal Railways were merged with the West Berlin VdeR and Reichsbahn to form the Federal Railways assets . On January 1, 1994, the Federal Railway Authority took over the supervisory tasks. While the officials of the former Federal Railways were given the federal railway assets as employers, the entrepreneurial part was transferred to Deutsche Bahn AG in January 1994. The newly created Deutsche Bahn AG should be able to act in a customer and market-oriented manner and generate profits.

The company's charter of incorporation was signed on January 1, 1994 in a Berlin notary's office. On January 10, 1994, the merger of the two former German state railways was celebrated at Berlin's Ostbahnhof .

Along with the rationalization and modernization, Deutsche Bahn reduced its workforce. Local rail transport was regionalized on January 1, 1996 . The states ordered transport services directly with federal funds because the tasks for local transport are transferred to the states. Other divisions were created, the traction and works division , which managed the traction vehicles, was dissolved on January 1, 1998, and numerous parts of the company were spun off. Finally, on January 1, 1999, in a legally prescribed second stage of the railway reform, the business areas for long-distance traffic, local traffic, freight traffic, infrastructure and passenger stations were converted into joint stock companies, which was intended to increase transparency. As part of a third stage, it was planned for 2002 to dissolve the holding company that held everything together.

With the Hanover-Berlin high-speed line, the third new German railway line for high-speed traffic was opened on May 24, 1998. This reduced travel times between Berlin and many western and southern German destinations by around three quarters of an hour. On June 3, 1998, the Eschede railway accident occurred . 101 people died in the worst train accident in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 2002, the company took over the majority of Schenker von Stinnes , which had been spun off in 1991 . With the timetable change on December 15, 2002, numerous other changes came into force. A new pricing system was put into effect, and at the same time 45,000 employees in contact with customers received new uniforms. At the same time, seven Intercity-Express lines were routed over the new high-speed line between Cologne and the Rhine/Main . On August 1, 2003, after a drop in the number of long-distance passengers by around ten percent, the pricing system was again revised.

At the beginning of July 2003, the services division was founded. The business areas of DB Energy , DB Fuhrpark , DB Services , DB Telematik and heavy vehicle maintenance were merged into it.

Even though Deutsche Bahn praised its successes on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, transport politicians came to different conclusions. It was considered a success that the federal government only got involved in investments and infrastructure issues, but left the day-to-day business to Deutsche Bahn. Deutsche Bahn also had more and more competitors and the operative business ran without subsidies. However, the public sector pays around ten billion euros a year for ordering local transport and for maintaining and expanding the infrastructure. Although freight and passenger transport grew, rail freight transport lost shares and the share of transport performance in passenger transport increased only slightly despite the strong promotion of local transport. As a result, the goal of the rail reform, to shift more traffic onto the rails, was not achieved.

Recent Developments

On December 12, 2004, the Berlin-Hamburg line went into operation with speeds of up to 230 km/h. This reduced the travel time on the 286 kilometers of rail to one and a half hours. In the following months, the number of passengers on this route rose sharply. Many new routes, such as the north-south long-distance railway tunnel (Tiergarten tunnel), with a total of six new stations ( Berlin Hauptbahnhof , Gesundbrunnen , Jungfernheide, Potsdamer Platz , Südkreuz , Lichterfelde Ost) were put into operation with the minor timetable change in May 2006. The commissioning of the new Berlin railway junction and the upgraded Berlin-Halle/Leipzig line for 200 km/h and the Nuremberg-Ingolstadt high-speed line led to significantly reduced travel times on other routes. A new timetable came into force in December 2006. The Intercity Express lines Munich - Nuremberg - Leipzig - Berlin - Hamburg and Munich - Nuremberg - Frankfurt - Cologne -... have been running every hour since then. Between Nuremberg and Munich and between Frankfurt and Cologne, an Intercity Express service was established every half hour, and in Leipzig an hourly Intercity Express connection to and from Dresden was created. The full commissioning of the Nuremberg-Ingolstadt high-speed line reduced many travel times to and from Munich by around half an hour. On the Franconian-Saxony Magistrale, regional trains replaced the intercity trains previously used .

TGV POS and ICE 3M in Paris, 2012

From June 2007 to 2012, DB held a ten percent stake in the European railway company Thalys . On July 10, 2007, the high-speed service operated jointly by Deutsche Bahn and SNCF began between Frankfurt am Main (via Mannheim - Kaiserslautern - Saarbrücken ) with the Intercity Express and Munich (from December 9, 2007) and Stuttgart (via Karlsruhe - Strasbourg ) with the TGV POS to Paris .

In March 2010, Deutsche Bahn announced a public takeover bid worth EUR 2.9 billion for the listed British transport company Arriva . The sale closed on August 27, 2010. The European Commission had previously approved the acquisition subject to certain conditions. In particular, Deutsche Bahn had to sell the German business of the Arriva group within a year . This happened in December 2010.

Since 2011, Deutsche Bahn AG, as a stock corporation, has been paying out a dividend of around half a billion euros to the owner of the shares, in this case the federal government. The company made a loss of 1.33 billion euros in 2015. According to a press report, the federal government wanted to make 2.4 billion euros available to DB in order to avert financial difficulties for the group and, in return, to secure a stronger influence on the company. Initially, an increase in equity of one billion euros from budget funds was planned. The federal government should then waive dividends of 350 million euros per year for four years.

With the timetable change in December 2017, the new Ebensfeld–Erfurt line went into operation, reducing travel times on the axis between Berlin, Halle/Leipzig, Nuremberg and Munich in many cases by one to two hours.

As part of a "climate protection program" presented in September 2019, the federal government announced that it intended to invest one billion euros in equity in DB every year from 2020 to 2030. This should enable the company to invest additional capital.

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany , the group made a loss of 3.7 billion euros by June 2020, and by the end of 2020 another loss of the same amount is expected. The group's debts are now almost 30 billion euros. The federal government is considering paying out corona aid of up to 6.7 billion euros. An EU approval of the aid and the equity increase is pending.



privatization plans

At the end of June 2006, the Supervisory Board of DB spoke out in a public statement in favor of an IPO for the company. In May 2008, a proportionate sale of company shares to private investors was sought for autumn 2008; initially, a maximum of 49.9% of Deutsche Bahn shares were to be sold.

In the debate, essentially five different models were discussed, which were developed by a consortium of experts led by the US company Booz Allen Hamilton were examined with regard to their effects on, among other things, possible privatization proceeds , effects on public budgets and competition in rail transport . The models discussed ranged from a sale of shares in the existing ( vertically) integrated group to a complete sale of the privatized transport companies after the separation of transport services and rail network infrastructure .

In the further course of the discussion about the sale of shares, the infrastructure area was excluded from the sale plans. On November 9, 2006, the then coalition committee agreed in principle on the partial capital privatization of Deutsche Bahn AG, but without the network and stations . Only the passenger transport, logistics and services divisions were then to be partially sold. For this purpose, these business areas were bundled in 2008 under the umbrella of the 100% subsidiary DB Mobility Logistics AG . At the end of 2008 - in view of or on the occasion of the financial crisis from 2007 - the planned privatization of capital was postponed indefinitely. In January 2011, the IPO was de facto cancelled. In March 2011, Deutsche Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube again confirmed that an IPO was not an option for the time being.

Opponents of rail privatization are of the opinion that, analogous to the development in Great Britain , route closures and deterioration in service would be the direct consequences of privatisation. The Railway Alliance for All argues e.g. For example, state subsidies for rail operations will not decrease even after privatization, but that the need to make savings to raise funds for a dividend would lead to a deterioration in service . DB expects a dividend of 3 to 4 percent to be distributed. A study commissioned by the Federation of German Industries and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce came to the conclusion that, after privatization, in order to meet the return expectations of investors, Deutsche Bahn would have to reduce network expansion and maintenance measures and/or have them financed by the federal government. Expected returns can only be met if the state subsidizes accordingly . Subsidizing a privatized railway in favor of private investors is mentioned in the study as a problem for the political implementation of privatization.

Separation of network and operation

Workplace in a DB operations center in Duisburg

It is disputed whether the railway transport companies of the DB Group (e.g. DB Regio, DB Fernverkehr) should be completely separated from its railway infrastructure companies (e.g. DB Netz , DB Energie ).

The European Commission has initiated infringement proceedings against the Federal Republic of Germany due to DB Netz 's lack of independence within the holding structure . The European Court of Justice dismissed the lawsuit in a judgment on February 28, 2013. According to the European Commission, there are indications that Deutsche Bahn is dictating the access conditions of its competitors.

In a special report in September 2009, the Monopolies Commission recommended establishing the independence of the infrastructure through rapid privatization of the transport division of Deutsche Bahn. This is the only way to create fair competitive conditions to the benefit of consumers.

In mid-November 2013, the European Commission announced that it would sue the Federal Republic of Germany at the European Court of Justice for suspected illegal subsidies .


The class 490 of the Hamburg S-Bahn


Since 2017, Deutsche Bahn has had a board member responsible for digitization, which has been occupied by Daniela Gerd tom Markotten since September 15, 2021 .

In September 2018, Deutsche Bahn also announced that it would convert the route network throughout Germany as part of the “ Digital Rail Germany ” program. By 2040, this is to be fully digitized and equipped with digital interlockings and the ETCS train control system. In addition, national barriers between the European railway networks are to be dismantled and thus freight traffic strengthened. The then Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure under Minister Andreas Scheuer promised DB federal support for this project. The consulting firm McKinsey has estimated the costs at around 30 to 35 billion euros. The first projects currently being implemented include the partial equipment of the Hamburg S-Bahn and the digital node in Stuttgart .

"Agenda for a better railway"

Due to the persistently poor punctuality in long-distance traffic (70.4% in November 2018) as well as maintenance deficiencies and a negative development in rail freight traffic at DB, the supervisory board and politicians, at the urging of the public, demanded a concept from the railway board that should ensure improvements in the short and medium term. DB boss Richard Lutz and the other members of the DB board then presented a “ five-point plan ” in a meeting with the then Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure on January 17, 2019 . This is to be carried out before the end of this year and envisages, among other things, an increase in punctuality in long-distance transport to 76.5% (annual average), a strengthening of rail freight transport and investments in infrastructure of 11 billion euros funded by the Federal Government.

In March 2019, the company also announced that it would record and publish passenger punctuality in long-distance transport, which also takes into account lost connections by passengers.

Group strategy “Strong Rail”

The “Agenda for a better railway” that was presented in January 2019 was followed in June 2019 by the new “Strong Rail” Group strategy. It stipulated that DB would intend to focus more on its core business, railways and mobility services in Germany, in the coming years. At the same time, freight traffic, public transport with DB Regio and long-distance traffic should be strengthened and new customers won. The group intends to achieve this through massive investments in infrastructure, human resources (100,000 new employees are planned for the coming years) and technology. At the same time, the Germany clock and the digitization of the existing network play a major role. The federal government and Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer have promised financial support if concrete improvements are quickly made.


Passenger traffic performance of the railways in Germany in percentage comparison to the total motorized traffic (Source: Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure)

On average, around 40,000 train journeys take place in Germany every day. Most trains are run by the 24 DB-owned railway companies (see also table below ). The rail network of Deutsche Bahn is considered the fourth densest in Europe after the Swiss SBB network, the Czech ČD network and the Belgian railway network ( Vatican and Monaco not included).

In 2020, 81 million passengers used DB long-distance trains, and around 2.9 billion passengers in total. The proportion of long-distance traffic is expected to rise to a constant 180 million passengers in 2024.

According to the company's own calculations, 95.2 percent of all DB passenger trains arrived on time at their destination in 2020. According to the company's definition, the arrival is considered punctual if the arrival time according to the timetable was exceeded by less than 6 minutes. In 2020, 81.8 percent of long-distance trains were on time. In 2017, 0.7 percent of the trains that started did not arrive at the destination station. 0.3 percent of the planned trains never even left. These trains are not included in the punctuality statistics.

The long-term creditworthiness of Deutsche Bahn is rated “AA−” by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s (statement as of December 2020).

Around 203,000 employees worked in Germany in 2020. At the end of 2020, there were around 323,000 employees worldwide. In 2019, DB was ranked 19th among the most popular employers in Germany.

Key figures of Deutsche Bahn AG (data as of December 31)
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 annotation
Group sales (in billion €) 28.228 23,963 25,055 30,053 31,309 33,452 29,335 34,410 37,979 39,296 39,119 39,720 40.5 40.57 42.7 44,065 44.43 39.9
Net income (EBIT) (in billion €) 0.465 0.951 1,352 2,477 2,895 2,483 2.208 1,817 2.177 2,529 1,767 1,830 −0.154 1,461 1,688 2.111 1,837 -2.903
Group balance sheet total (€ billion) 47,647 46,348 47.101 48,440 48,529 48.193 47,303 52,003 51,791 52,525 52,894 55,883 56,059 56,324 56,436 58,527 65,828 65,435
employees 242,759 225,512 216,389 229,200 237,078 240,242 239,828 276,310 285,319 287,508 295,653 295,763 297,202 306,368 310,935 318,528 323,944 322,768 Full-time, TZ included
train stations and stops 5,665 5,697 5.707 5,730 5,699 5,718 5.707 5,700 5,685 5,645 5,668 5,676 k. A k. A k. A 5,663 5,679 5,691
Company -owned rail network (km) 35,593 34,718 34.211 34.122 33,978 33,862 33,721 33,723 33,576 33,505 33,448 33,426 33,193 33,241 33,348 33,299 33,423 33,399 almost the entire mainline rail network in Germany
Transport performance passenger transport :
Travelers (bn) 1,682 ≈ 1.695 ≈ 1.785 1,854 ≈ 1.835 1,919 1,908 1,950 1,981 2,035 2,235 2,254 2,251 2,365 2,564 2,581 2,603 1,499 only rail transport, from 2008 including international business
Passenger kilometers (billion) 69,534 70,260 72,554 74,788 74,792 77,791 76,772 78,582 79.228 88,433 88,746 88.407 88,636 94,698 95,854 97,707 98,402 51,933 from 2008 including international business
Freight transport performance :
Freight transport (million tons) 282.3 283.6 266.5 307.6 312.8 378.7 341.0 415.4 411.6 398.7 390.1 329.1 300.2 277.4 271.0 255.5 232 213.1
tonne kilometers (billion) 79,864 83,982 83,111 96,388 98,794 113,634 93,948 105,794 111,980 105,894 104,259 102,871 98,445 94,698 92,651 88.237 85,005 78,670
Operations management on the DB rail network ( DB Netz AG ):
Track kilometers of DB Group trains (million) 917.8 912.7 887.7 888 902 881 832.6 839 832 808 788 784 751 733 728 737 767.3 677.8 DB Group (all train types )
Train-path kilometers of external companies (million) 70.4 88 110 128 147 162 170.4 195 219 231 247 260 290 321 331 349 368.3 385.5 NBE
Total route kilometers (billion) 0.988 ≈ 1.001 ≈ 0.978 1.016 1,049 1,043 1.003 1,034 1,051 1,039 1,035 1,044 1,041 1,054 1,059 1,086 1,090 1,066 DB + NBE

As of spring 2018, around 26,500 civil servants and around 3,500 civil servants on leave were assigned to Deutsche Bahn. Based on the applicable working age limit of 65 years, their number is expected to drop to around 15,500 by 2025 and to around 1,600 by 2035. From 2041, with a limit of 65 years, no more civil servants will work at DB AG. The company pays the federal railway fund for the civil servants subordinate to it the expenses that would be incurred for comparable employees. In 2006, the company spent a total of 1.537 billion euros on this. Access to the civil service career of the former Deutsche Bundesbahn had already been closed in 1992. The company expects the average age of its employees to increase to over 50 by 2015.

Since 2011, the company has paid out a dividend of 500 million euros to the federal government as the sole owner. A dividend of 525 million euros was paid out in 2012, 200 million euros in 2013, 700 million euros in 2014 and 850 million euros each in 2015 and 2016. From 2017, Deutsche Bahn lowered the dividend payout to 600 million euros. For several years, the dividend has flowed back completely to the company. The “rail dividend” is paid as part of the rail financing cycle; the “dividend” for 2020 was 650 million euros.

Between 1994 and 2018, more than 5,400 kilometers of the DB route network were shut down. However, according to statistics from the Federal Railway Authority and figures from annual reports, this trend is declining.

Financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic , DB made a loss of around 3.7 billion euros in the first half of 2020 and, according to DB boss Lutz, is at the beginning of the worst financial crisis in the company's history. Decisive for the record loss are both the slump in passenger numbers at DB Fernverkehr and the depreciation in the billions at the foreign subsidiary Arriva . But the losses of other subsidiaries such as DB Regio (around 600 million euros) and DB Cargo (around 350 million euros) also have an impact. The federal government plans to provide DB with at least 5.5 billion euros to deal with the consequences of the crisis, in addition to savings of 4 .1 billion euros. The Federal Court of Auditors criticized the state aid planned for 2020 in a special report. Excessive financial aid must be avoided and the budgetary principles of necessity, economy and economy must be observed. At the same time, like almost every year, Deutsche Bahn AG distributed 650 million euros in dividends to the federal government. The state-owned company could also use the funds for non-rail activities, to strengthen its market power and to the detriment of competition on the rails. Industry solutions should have priority over unilateral aid to DB AG. As a result, representatives from politics and business again called for a structural restructuring of the DB Group and accused the railways of having managed poorly even before the COVID 19 pandemic. They therefore also criticized the flat-rate billions in aid that Andreas Scheuer promised to DB to mitigate the economic consequences of the corona virus. An examination by the EU Commission is in progress (as of January 2021).

Deutsche Bahn has management staff in around 20 group subsidiaries who receive contractually agreed bonus payments during the Corona crisis, even though the group is dependent on state aid. The unions GDL and EVG rejected the special payments for executives in times of crisis. In a legal opinion, the parent company had it clarified whether it can suspend the variable remuneration at all.


data affair

In January 2009, Deutsche Bahn hit the headlines because of a scandal in the area of employee monitoring, because it had repeatedly compared master data on its employees (including addresses, telephone numbers and bank details) with other databases. Later, cases became known in which bank accounts, private contacts and other personal information were collected and evaluated.

For example, video recordings of petrol stations that employees drove to were obtained.

In at least nine cases, the Berlin research service Network Deutschland GmbH was commissioned to check employees, their spouses, suppliers and other contractual partners. The company was also asked at least twice by the Transnet trade union to compare the members' and employees' files in order to check that contributions had been paid correctly.

According to research by Günter Wallraff , employee data had also been manipulated in several cases. These manipulations were then used, among other things, to dismiss critics of the CEO Hartmut Mehdorn and the privatization of capital.

In March 2009, the supervisory board appointed the lawyers Herta Däubler-Gmelin and Gerhart Baum as special investigators to clear up the data affair. On March 30, 2009, Hartmut Mehdorn offered his resignation at the balance sheet press conference in Berlin, which was accepted with effect from April 30, 2009.

In the special meeting of the supervisory board on May 13, 2009, it was finally decided that the board members Bensel , Hansen (due to health reasons), Suckale and Wiesheu would step down on May 31. The railways waived claims for damages against the responsible board members, but offered them termination agreements, which resulted in severance payments in the millions. In addition, the heads of corporate auditing, corporate security and compliance left the company (Josef Bähr, Jens Puls and Wolfgang Schaupensteiner ).

At the end of May 2009 it became known that Wolfgang Schaupensteiner had had data destroyed in January 2009 to cover up the data affair.

In PricewaterhouseCoopers ' (PwC) 75-page final report dated August 7, 2009, which reviewed corporate governance between 1995 and February 2009, PwC stated that culpability on the part of the directors "could not be determined" and therefore a lawsuit "cannot be pursued." recommend". In May 2011, it was revealed that according to a classified transcript from March 2009, in which Deutsche Bahn's then head of internal audit was questioned by two special investigators from KPMG , "Mehdorn and other top executives were accused of the snooping and illegal e-mail surveillance ." knew and played an active role".

The new CEO Grube emphasized in May 2009 that he was looking for a fresh start. Greater importance was attached to data protection through the creation of new board departments for compliance , data protection and law. The fine of 1.1 million euros imposed by the Berlin data protection officer Alexander Dix in October 2009 for several violations of the Federal Data Protection Act was accepted by DB.

Deutsche Bahn lost 45 million euros, 18.5 million euros for the investigations and as a fine alone, and another 26.5 million for the severance pay for top managers.

In the course of investigating the data affair, Lobbycontrol also discovered at the end of May 2009 that the company had spent 1.3 million euros to place covertly positive articles in the media, particularly on the planned IPO. As a result, the chief representative for communication and marketing at Deutsche Bahn, Ralf Klein-Bölting, was dismissed on May 29, 2009 by the CEO. The covert PR was carried out by the company Berlinpolis , which was commissioned by Deutsche Bahn via its parent company EPPA.

compensation claims

As the direct successor to the two German Reichsbahns ( Deutsche Reichsbahn (1920-1945) and Deutsche Reichsbahn (1945-1993) ), Deutsche Bahn AG has been increasingly confronted with claims for compensation since 2014. The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki , for example, with the support of the Train of Remembrance initiative , is demanding compensation payments for the 58,000 deported Greek Jews who were transported to the concentration camps with the help of the Deutsche Reichsbahn . The inmates' travel expenses to their deaths had to be borne by the inmates themselves.

The Union of Victims' Associations of Communist Tyranny demands appropriate compensation for former forced laborers in the GDR .

negative prices

The closed oyster , the negative prize of the journalists ' association Netzwerk Recherche for particularly restrictive public relations , went to Deutsche Bahn in 2006. In October 2007, Deutsche Bahn received the negative Big Brother Award in the “Economy” category. Among other things, the trend to force non-anonymous payment methods when selling tickets and the unnecessary collection of photos and dates of birth from BahnCard customers were criticized.

In the same year, Hartmut Mehdorn, the then CEO of Deutsche Bahn, was also given the minus title “ Sprachpanscher des Jahres ” by the German Language Association because of the frequent use of unnecessary Anglicisms throughout the group at the time. As a result, the DB tried to avoid these at least outside of the already established brands.


In the book series "senk ju vor träwelling" , the journalists Mark Spörrle and Lutz Schumacher satirically deal with absurdities and abuses at Deutsche Bahn. The song Deutsche Bahn by the a cappella group Wise Guys also ironically refers to everyday problems such as delays, technical problems and the situation on the trains.

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