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Deutsche Bahn and Transport Minister Wissing want to build a high


"It can't stay the way it is," says Volker Wissing about the railway chaos. A new recovery plan aims to remedy the situation. But will the minister's words be followed by deeds this time?

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Railway construction site on the Rhine Valley line near Riegel

Photo: Arnulf Hettrich / IMAGO

Train cancellations, delays, travel stress: The 9-euro ticket from Deutsche Bahn has revealed many long-simmering problems with rail transport in Germany.

The railways and the Federal Ministry of Transport now want to expand particularly busy sections of the rail network into a “high-performance network”.

In the future, construction measures are to be bundled and the efficiency of the infrastructure is to be increased.

"It can't stay the way it is," said Transport Minister Volker Wissing when presenting the new strategy.

“Political failures and underfunding” have “brought rail to its absolute limit”.

The FDP politician announced that the general renovation of the rail network would now be a “top priority”.

The core of the problems in passenger and freight traffic is a lack of capacity and the aging of the infrastructure, said the railway.

From 2024, sections of the route that are subject to particularly high loads are therefore to be expanded.

In concrete terms, this involves around ten percent of the entire network, i.e. around 3500 kilometers – these sections are already 125 percent utilized.

Transport and passenger associations reacted with skepticism

Increasing demand in combination with outdated infrastructure and construction work is leading to "traffic jams and delays with a massive impact on all customers," says Deutsche Bahn boss Richard Lutz.

»The current operating quality clearly does not meet our requirements«.

The new high-performance network should go from being a problem to an anchor of quality and stability for the entire infrastructure.

According to the Ministry of Transport, less than two thirds of all long-distance and freight trains were on time.

In the planned general renovation, Deutsche Bahn wants to take three new criteria into account in the future:

  • All planned construction measures are to be "radically bundled" in order to keep sections of the route free of construction sites for several years.

  • In the future, construction work should not only eliminate existing defects, but also take additional measures.

    The high-performance corridors are to receive a "first-class equipment standard".

  • When planning the construction, more should be placed on customer-friendly construction.

    For this purpose, the railway wants to use “high-density and capacity-saving construction methods”.

The Federal Association of Rail Transport (BSN) expressed skepticism.

"We hear the announcements of improvement every year," criticized BSN President Thomas Prechtl.

However, structural deficits would not be eliminated.

"In view of the previous lead time for large construction sites and the lack of financing, we have serious doubts that the plans presented will really change anything substantially."

The Mofair business association, which represents private competitors of Deutsche Bahn, called for the railway group to be restructured, saying that a central problem was "the profit orientation of the DB infrastructure subsidiaries, which today stands in the way of quality orientation".

However, Wissing announced such a restructuring for the beginning of 2024: On January 1, the DB subsidiaries DB Netz and DB Station und Service are to be merged into an infrastructure division geared towards the common good.

This would strengthen the control options of the federal government as the owner.

Wissing said: "I expect that in the future we will be able to set the clock according to the railway again."


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-06-22

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