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Mass train cancellations planned in Germany: refund guide

Mass train cancellations planned in Germany: refund guide Photo: Deutsche Bahn train at Hamburg Central Station (

Train disruptions will continue on the German railway in 2024, according to the members of the train drivers' union, reports

The train schedule in Germany has been affected by strikes this year, and protests are set to continue into 2024.

Members of the German train drivers' union have overwhelmingly approved indefinite strikes next year due to a sharp dispute with the main national railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) over working hours and pay.

Earlier this month, the GDL union announced a 24-hour public transport stoppage, leading to significant disruptions in the operation of trains managed by Deutsche Bahn.

While the train drivers' union stated that strikes would not occur until January 8, 2024, the protests will impact railway travel in the early part of the upcoming year.

Mass train cancellations planned in Germany: refund guidePhoto: A number of trains in Germany will not be able to run according to the usual schedule in 2024 due to railway strikes (

Why German railway workers are striking

The GDL union has voted to authorize "full-fledged" strikes against Deutsche Bahn. Activists staged a 24-hour "warning strike" on December 8.

GDL Chairman Claus Weselsky announced that negotiations with DB had failed after two rounds of talks.

Their main demand is to reduce the working hours of shift workers from 38 to 35 hours per week without a reduction in wages, a demand that employers have not yet agreed to.

GDL also demands a monthly increase of 555 euros for employees and an additional one-time payment of up to 3,000 euros due to inflation.

How strikes on the railway will affect passengers

GDL stated that strikes would not occur until January 8 but did not specify when train delays would occur after that.

During the "warning strikes" in early December, long-distance, regional, and S-Bahn connections experienced widespread delays and cancellations.

Mass train cancellations planned in Germany: refund guide

Photo: If the train is canceled, the passenger can get a full refund (

Other railway companies, such as the Transdev Group (including Bayerische Oberlandbahn and NordWestBahn), have also gone on strike. Deutsche Bahn advised passengers to avoid train travel during the strikes.

"We kindly ask you to refrain from non-essential train journeys during the strike and to reschedule your trip for another time," the company said.

How to get compensation

If the strikes affect your journey, you have several options:

  • In some cases, DB sets up a "special agreement" allowing you to reschedule your trip and depart earlier than planned;
  • You have the option to postpone your journey and use the ticket on a later date of your choice, with no restrictions on when the ticket can be used;
  • Seat reservations can be canceled free of charge;
  • If your train is canceled, you can receive a full refund with no penalties.