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Business

Deutsche Bahn speeds up modernization of rail network

Deutsche Bahn clients will have to brace for longer travel times as the German rail operator accelerates its program to enhance its rail network. But more punctuality will eventually be the reward for maintenance work.

Germany's state-owned rail operator said Monday a lot more maintenance work would be going on across its network throughout the current year.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced it would pump some 5.5 billion euros ($6 billion) into overhauling its ailing rail network in the course of 2016; that's 200 million euros more than in the previous year.

DB added the money would, among other things, be used to renew over 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of rails

and 2,000 switches.

Part of the money would also go towards modernizing 150 rail bridges across the country.

More competition

DB had earlier said it was allocating a total of 28 billion euros to the modernization of its rail network between 2015 and 2019.

Approximately the same sum would be spent on revamping its operations in the next few years, which could to lead to better quality of its services and above all greater punctuality.

Deutsche Bahn said in the first phase of the overhaul it wanted to ensure that 80 percent of its long-distance services were running on time, with the aim to eventually reach 85 percent. At present, it's about 75 percent only.

The company noted the five-year investment program represented the biggest overhaul of its operations since 1994 when the West German railways firm was merged with the East German network following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the country's subsequent reunification.

Deutsche Bahn has been facing fierce competition lately from coach operators, following the deregulation of the bus industry in the country.

hg/sri (dpa, AFP)

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