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DB Cargo's block trains

A block train is a complete train dedicated to a single customer. It runs directly from the shipper to the recipient, without any further marshalling en route. Block trains can be as long as 600 metres and weigh up to 5400 tons.

Block trains are ideal for transporting bulk volumes, such as coal, ore, steel, construction materials, cars, automotive parts and cereals. Transport times are short as these trains run from A to B without any detours.

On Mondays to Fridays, DB Cargo runs around 1,000 block trains throughout Europe.

Long-term planning vs. short-term flexibility

Customers set a range of different requirements for our block trains. Some place great emphasis on flexibility and short lead times. Other customers plan their transport operations well in advance, and therefore greatly depend on delivery reliability.

In an attempt to comply more closely with all these customer requirements, DB Cargo has therefore subdivided its products into three groups: Plantrain, Variotrain and Flextrain. Customers also have the option of combining these block train products with additional services, such as tank wagon management, on-site logistics or warehousing.


In the case of a Plantrain, the customer purchases rail transport for a fixed period of time – i.e., a quarter or a year. DB Cargo then reserves the appropriate production resources and includes definite train paths in the annual timetable. A plantrain contract can, however, also be concluded for seasonal traffic, for a period of at least three months. And because such transport can be planned well in advance, it is available at a sharp price. Our account managers will be pleased to tell you more about this product.


The Variotrain can be purchased on a monthly or weekly basis, with a final order deadline of 10.00 hours on Thursdays, in the week prior to execution. A variotrain contract can also be concluded for seasonal traffic, for a period of at least three months. Customers can then indicate which operating days they require by means of a definitive monthly or weekly schedule. The variotrain offers customers much greater flexibility at a slightly higher price. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss the possibilities available.


And finally, the Flextrain offers customers the ultimate in terms of flexibility. The customer need not conclude any fixed planning details – such as operating days or hours – with DB Cargo in advance. Any order placed after the final order deadline (10.00 hours on Thursdays, in the week prior to execution) therefore falls into this category. The customer can order the train at any time up to 48 hours prior to departure. This extensive level of flexibility naturally comes at a higher price, however. We will be pleased to tell you more about the options available.