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Difference between German Regional Express and Regional Bahn

Question by Enzo | 2021-03-22 at 07:59

Whenever I have to wait a long time for my train, my mind starts to circle. Today I came across the topic of Regionalexpress (RE) versus Regionalbahn (RB) while observing the incoming and outgoing trains in a German train station.

What makes a particular train an express, what makes it a "bahn" = train? Aren't all trains a train? Both types of train appear to be relatively identical, especially since the REs and RBs in my area also stop at the same train stations (in contrast to the S-Bahn and long-distance trains).

Can someone enlighten me? Maybe even before my train arrives?

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The difference between regional railway lines (RB = Regionalbahn) and regional express lines (RE = Regionalexpress) can lie, for example, in the stops approached, the travel speed, the length of the route and the seats offered.

Typically, a regional express runs on longer routes and, in contrast to the regional train, stops at fewer stations. This, and sometimes the use of other vehicles, results in a higher average speed. At the same time, longer trains and larger wagons with a larger passenger capacity are often used on RE lines than is the case with RB lines.

Your observation that both types of trains often drive on the same routes and have the same stops is typical, for example, in metropolitan areas where there are many "important" stops. It is often the case that in metropolitan areas RE and RB share the same routes and travel at the same speed, but the route changes when leaving the metropolitan area and the RE line begins to skip stations while the RB line is still approaching the stations.

It is similar on some ICE routes. In metropolitan areas such as the Ruhr Area, the ICE will hardly be faster than an RE or RB and also serve the same train stations. The speed advantage only becomes apparent over long distances overland.
2021-03-23 at 00:34

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