Deutsche Bahn pumps billions into Germany-wide rail upgrade | News | DW | 20.02.2019
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Deutsche Bahn pumps billions into Germany-wide rail upgrade

Germany’s rail network will get a facelift this year, with some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) of track to be upgraded. The project aims to tackle punctuality issues, but there could be more delays as construction begins.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) on Wednesday launched a year-long project to modernize Germany’s rail network, investing €10.7 billion ($12.1 billion) into the network in a bid to tackle persistent delays.

The national train operator – the largest in Europe – announced its plan to upgrade around 1,500 kilometers of track, as well as 650 train stations and 300 bridges.

Read more: Why Germans love to complain about trains

Infografik Deutsche Bahn Konstruktion Plan EN

Despite Germany’s reputation for punctuality, the rail network has been plagued by delays in recent years, with punctuality falling to 70 percent. Last year, DB admitted that one in four of its trains were late as well as more than one-third of its high-speed ICE trains.

A local media report also revealed the company pushed back its goal of 82 percent train punctuality by seven years to 2025, due to lack of investment.

Read more: German train passengers get €53 million for delays

DB on Wednesday blamed this on the overutilization of track, which in some sections stands at 140 percent.

"This can lead to backlog effects, especially in nodes and outer suburban areas, which affect the entire network," it wrote in a statement.

Earlier this year, one of DB’s senior executives was tasked with improving the network's punctuality by the summer. The German government, which is the rail giant’s biggest stakeholder, has also demanded DB submit a restructure plan by March.

This year's upgrade will be widespread and likely disruptive. According to DPA news agency, as many as 800 sites will see construction work done at any given time.