Railway director Richard Lutz sees the Deutsche Bahn in the desired improvements on a good path. This writes Lutz in a letter to Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU), which is the SPIEGEL. At the same time, he limits the company to having a "long journey" ahead of long-term goals.
The trains have become more punctual, also the train 2019 will hire more staff than planned, it says in the letter. The timetable should be extended. On important routes more trains should run. In order to achieve the goals, the state-owned group wants to accept lower profits by 2020. A problem case remains, according to the letter, the goods sector.
Scheuer told the dpa news agency that the head of the railway's response had taken up all the issues discussed within the coalition in recent months. "A 'Continue like this' should not and will not exist," Lutz himself assured in his letter. "On this basis, we conduct in-depth discussions in order to achieve structural changes, and our goal is to make the railways sustainable."
Lutz sees progress and improvements
The minister had asked Lutz in October in a letter to far-reaching changes in the railway. The company had to solve its problems faster and more efficiently. Lutz should until this Thursday measures among other things against train delays and failures as well as lack of staff demonstrate.
On Thursday, the Budget Committee of the Bundestag meets for Budget 2020 and also decides on additional billions of the federal government to rehabilitate the partly dilapidated rail network. Scheuer is also expected to attend a special meeting of the Transport Committee on Friday.
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In the answer letter, Lutz writes that the Group has presented concepts and initiated implementation with an "agenda for a better rail" and a new "strong rail" strategy. Progress has been made and improvements made in almost all areas. Scheuer and Lutz had exchanged about the problems in several crisis meetings.
Massive investments needed
In order to achieve the urgently needed modal shift, massive investment must be made in the railways, wrote Lutz. This applies to infrastructure as well as to workshops and personnel .
Of the planned 22,000 recruitments this year, more than 20,000 new employees are currently recruited. By the end of the year, the railway expects 24,000 shots.
In addition, plants should be expanded , in southern Germany, a new ICE plant should be built. The vehicle fleet should be modernized . The railway had already announced billions in new trains. By the end of 2024, 137 ICE 4 trains were to be procured.
Punctuality above last year
The timetable should be significantly expanded in the coming year. Faultiness of vehicles and the network should be reduced, the appearance of the stations and comfort should be improved.
The right information about track changes and wagon series has been improved by a "process optimization", especially in the ICE - just another row of cars causes trouble for railway customers.
As far as punctuality is concerned, the letter states that the values for long-distance, short-distance and freight traffic would be above the levels of the previous year in September. The actions of the railway worked.
Goods division is to be stabilized
Lutz also wrote that despite the current "difficult market environment", Deutsche Bahn will comply with the prescribed upper limit of net financial debt of € 25.4 billion for a sale of its foreign subsidiary Arriva . The railway had recently stopped the planned billionaire Arriva sale for now.
Lutz wrote about the crisis in the cargo sector: the railway wants to "stabilize" DB Cargo and gear it up for more traffic. So more employees, better quality and investment are planned. "To the truth", however, is that at DB Cargo a further deterioration in results is foreseeable.
With regard to the complex structure of the railways, Lutz wrote that the board sees the "primary lever for a lean and powerful organization" less in a further streamlining of the shareholding structure - rather in a "customer-oriented orientation" of processes and structures.