DB -- one abbrevation, one sense ("the guys running all or most of the trains in Germany"), but three different meanings:

  1. 1949-1994: Deutsche Bundesbahn: the West German railway monopolist, property of the Federal Republic of Germany and run by civil servants.
  2. 1994-today: Deutsche Bahn AG: name of the reunited and privatised corporation owning most of Germany's rails and indeed running most of the trains on them.
  3. today: Die Bahn: an official trademark of Deutsche Bahn. This is how they want us to call them, so we will forget about others doing the same business, as "Die Bahn" simply means "the railways" or "the railway company". In the German transportation market, with about 150 railway companies, this sounds a little arrogant and bizarre for one of them to call themselves, which speaks volumes about Deutsche Bahn's corporate attitude. Truth to be told, they share their unsympathetic stance with many other German ex-monopolists such as Deutsche Telekom or Deutsche Post World Net (both former Deutsche Bundespost) and virtually all German power companies (RWE, e.on, EnBW and all the others).

"DB" prefixes the name of most of Deutsche Bahn's subsidiary companies such as DB Cargo, DB Regio, DB Netz etc., and is also the main constituent of DB's logo, the "meager cookie", which looks almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Deutsche Bundesbahn's "cookie" logo, which had again been derived from Deutsche Reichsbahn's. You see, railways have always been a matter of tradition. Sigh.