Case Study

Next Generation Time Tabling

System integration with the entire logistics chain and promotion of end-to-end digitization

Every day, DB Netze Cargo moves 3,000 trains over 33,500 km of rail, passing through 14,000 crossings and 66,000 switches. With the ambitious goal of shifting even more freight onto an expanding network, the technical infrastructure needed to cope with an expected surge of demand from customers booking even more freight over rail. From the preparation of bids, consignment notes and invoices through to the planning and organization of routes, the system had to integrate with the entire logistics chain and promote end-to-end digitization. Rail transport easier and more transparent for our customers. With link2rail, we’re making a contribution toward integrating rail. We’re looking at the entire logistics chain, and our aim is to promote digitalization and automation with our services from start to finish.

The Challenge

Given the enormous investment into modernizing the railway track infrastructure, a new system would be necessary to handle over 500 customers placing more than 1 million orders each year, often with conflicting demands. As it stood, there were already capacity shortages and huge punctuality struggles due to an inefficient timetabling process, which took over 24 hours to manually input data, calculate routing and confirm a booking back to the customer. The challenge was exacerbated by the existing IT infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, which would not be able to support a more automated way of working.

The Approach

Since there was no off-the-shelf solution, Deutsche Bahn partnered with BCG Platinion to digitally transform their time-tabling process, employing 240 team members dedicated to designing and developing a modern cloud-based, scalable and highly automated IT architecture. The team was based off-site in its own purpose-built facility, which helped to create a high performance digital delivery target organization based on Agile & DevOps. Product owners, front and back-end testers, cloud specialists, business analysts and engineers formed one autonomous team, working on a fully integrated deployment pipeline that saw new releases taking on average 15 minutes by the end of the three-year project. “We completely changed the way how we think about IT in the company” Head of Timetabling & Capacity Management. Because the transformation was also set-up from the start as a Lighthouse Project, the hands-on setup of DevOps tools & cloud architecture began to positively impact Deutsche Bahn’s technical capabilities across the entirety of its IT landscape. The solution was a digital experience which allowed customers to place an order at anytime, with one-click and no additional interaction necessary. Requests for immediate departures could be processed in seconds and various cost options could be presented in real-time.

The Impact

We were able to create substantial business value for our client. Timetable creation is now a 100% digitized process cutting lead times from 72 hours to 5 min. 3% more capacity and 5% faster travel times are realized with a cutting edge optimization approach. Time table & order processes are 100% end-to-end automated. The client benefits from 6bn € savings compared to physical construction of 3% track capacity. Zero conflicts in time tables from prev. 25%.


digitized process

5 Min.

lead times (priorly 72 hours)


faster travel times


savings compared to physical construction

Looking Into the Future

This new approach has transformed what used to be a complicated procedure into a process that is easier for Deutsche Bahn customers to understand. Customers can also easily integrate the new services into their own processes, and no longer have to adapt to Deutsche Bahn’s intricate processes. The cutting-edge digital delivery organization & tooling has created enormous attention across Deutsche Bahn and is influencing a gradual move away from Waterfall planning to a more Agile way of working.  The actual solution itself has also drawn the attention of major manufacturers from other industries.

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