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Railway is supported by the new German government: Considerably more in the railways than in the roads

Railway is supported by the new German government: Considerably more in the railways than in the roads
photo: DB/DB
01 / 12 / 2021

“Considerably more in the railways than in the roads.” That is the mantra of the new German government coalition nicknamed 'traffic light' parties. The nickname got inspired by the party's colors - red, yellow, and green. The fact, that DB will not get divided into separate groups got confirmed by both DB and the coalition. The plan will not contradict plans applied by the former government and plans to fulfill them as soon as possible. It got estimated that rail freight transportation should grow up to 25% by 2030. One criticism that DB faces is financial non-transparency.

“For the first time, a coalition is committed to the principle of transport investment - rail before the road,” stated Dirk Flege, Managing Director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, on Wednesday in Berlin.

The SPD, the Greens, and the FDP introduced their plans in a coalition agreement on Wednesday, including these inevitable topics 

  • plans to lower infrastructure fees for more competitiveness, 
  • accelerate Digital Automatic Coupling, 
  • strengthen single wagon traffic, and promote combined transport terminals. 

Infrastructure capacity growth and the Deutschlandtakt timetable remain the main goals of the coalition. Lowering fees will allow new companies to enter the market and therefore increase competitiveness. The coalition relies on strengthening rail transport to deal with growing track access charges.

The infrastructure assemblies (DB Netz, DB Station und Service) of Deutsche Bahn AG will connect within the group to establish a new infrastructure division, with DB being its only owner. 

The second part of the plan - the introduction of Digital Automatic Coupling in terminals will get applied soon, while single-wagon transport will see more investments. It aims to provide more investment possibilities for train sidings. For new commercial and industrial zones, rail connections are necessary. Ultimately, journeys up to a maximum of 50 kilometers will get freed from the truck fees.

Intermodal combined transport terminals and conventional semi-trailers operable by cranes are to get promoted.

Investments in the noise-reduction programs will get adjusted for both federal roadways and railways.

Noise-reduction program technologies focus on reducing noise, for example, for new freight wagons, until they get introduced to the market.

Part of the plans is also the differentiation of the toll for trucks in 2023. This includes road haulage from 3,5 tonnes and introducing a CO2 surcharge. These new adjustments will happen under a condition of double burden due to the CO2 price getting decreased. Additional earnings will go back into mobility developments without any sector specification so far. Deutsche Bahn AG wants to stay in a position of an integrated group, including the group’s internal labor market, under public ownership.

As mentioned above, the coalition does not plan to split DB into different entities, but the topic got mentioned. The FDP and the Green party both presented their plans of dividing the DB. But the SPD, which won most of the votes at the polls, denies such a change. Instead of splitting DB into smaller groups, the coalition prefers to focus on changing DB internal structures into more efficient and transparent. With one criticism of the financial non-transparency.

One of the contract amendments is the commitment to keep all the funds remaining in the new infrastructure unit in the future.