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Billions Earmarked for German Rail Network Overhaul as Punctuality Drops

Billions Earmarked for German Rail Network Overhaul as Punctuality Drops
photo: Deutsche Bahn Personenverkehr/Billions Earmarked for German Rail Network Overhaul as Punctuality Drops
20 / 04 / 2023

Germany's rail network needs renovation. According to the Welt, the punctuality rate for long-distance transport in 2022 was 65.2 per cent, which is 10 per cent lower than the previous year. The government is asking for understanding and forgiveness. The coalition committee approved the investment of billions of euros.

The improvement of the railway is expected to be only gradual. The rail network is dilapidated, and trains are often delayed for repairs. The federal government's commissioner for rail transport, State Secretary for Transport Michael Theurer (FDP), told the German Press Agency (DPA): "We can only ask for passengers' understanding and also ask for their forgiveness. As a new government, we have taken over all the problems." He recommends open and honest communication. "The situation is so dramatic that there is no alternative to overhauling the network," Theurer said.

"With the decision of the coalition committee, we want to invest many more billions of euros to catch up with what has been neglected in the past decades. We regard passengers as loyal customers. They choose rail both out of conviction and often out of consideration for climate protection."

Coalition leaders have agreed, among other things, to use much of the billions of pounds of revenue from the carbon tax on freight tolls to invest in rail from 2024.

Long-distance rail transport had a 65.2 per cent punctuality rate last year, down 10 per cent from the previous year. The railroad cites outdated and inadequate infrastructure, many construction sites and rapidly growing traffic volumes as reasons. The target for this year is to increase punctuality in long-distance transport by 70 per cent. A train is considered late in the statistics if it arrives at a stop six or more minutes late, regardless of train cancellations."

As a federal government, we have expressed management's expectation that punctuality must improve noticeably," Theurer said. "Of course, the public sector is also responsible for the network, and we are now fulfilling our tasks. "Deutsche Bahn chief Richard Lutz refers to the completely overloaded network.

Theurer also referred to the decision by the coalition leaders of the SPD, Greens and FDP to speed up planning: 'The decision is a great step forward for the railways and an important building block in the whole mosaic. In addition, administrative court procedures are being speeded up." In his words, they are, therefore, on the right track.