CZ/SK verze

A big comparison of investments in railway infrastructure: Germany versus Austria. Who sends more money to railways?

A big comparison of investments in railway infrastructure: Germany versus Austria. Who sends more money to railways?
photo: Archives/Railway
19 / 10 / 2021

The two countries are incomparable in size, but in the past, they have been comparable in terms of investment in railway infrastructure, in absolute terms. Until about 2 years ago, the annual amount to railway infrastructure in both countries was guaranteed to be around EUR 4 billion per year. This is at a completely incomparable scale of German and Austrian infrastructure.

A result is a significant number of large railway constructions in Austria. Two key Alpine tunnels are currently under construction – Semmering, and Brenner. A brand new railway line – Koralmbahn – is being built between Graz and Klagenfurt. As a result, Klagenfurt and Graz will be on the same railway line, which will contribute to a significant increase in efficiency and frequency of the supply. Unlike today, the connection will be extremely time-competitive with both car and aircraft transport. All these key constructions will be completed later this decade with a speed parameter of 250 km/h.

In Germany, a limited supply of funds in the past allowed the start and implementation of only a selected number of transport structures with maximum need according to the approved plan for the development of federal transport routes. More attention was paid to the construction of highways. However, the situation is changing and everything will be enhanced by the elections to the Bundestag. The emphasis on ecology can increase significantly. The changed situation, in which investments in railway infrastructure increased in Germany, enabling the implementation of other major projects.

However, even the projects currently being completed are significant – an example is the comprehensive modernization of the Stuttgart node, including the underground delay or the comprehensive modernization of the Dresden-Berlin line, or the recently completed high-speed line Nuremberg-Leipzig. However, it is a reality that thanks to the limited resources of the implementation of these buildings, it takes quite a long time – after all, the very poor parameters of the Dresden –Berlin line are the result of an effort to artificially improve the management of the DB Group about 20 years ago, when its entry into the stock exchange was being prepared!

In recent years, however, investment in railways has also increased significantly in Germany. The situation will be further exacerbated by resources from the Recovery Fund, which will mainly be directed towards digitization based on ERTMS. This will significantly increase the efficiency and availability and reliability of both German and Austrian railways. Wouldn't it be worth the inspiration for using the Czech recovery fund?