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Cars and Transportation

Germany pledges €86 billion for rail network

July 26, 2019

The 10-year plan is "the biggest railway modernization program" in Germany's history, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer announced. It aims to be a foundation for "active climate protection."

An attendant looks inside a Deutsche Bahn train
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Schmidt

Germany is set to invest €62 billion ($69 billion) to overhaul the partly dilapidated railway network over the next 10 years, with Deutsche Bahn contributing another €24.2 billion. 

The two parties have "agreed on the biggest railway modernization program of all time in Germany," Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said on Friday.  The modernized railway network will provide a foundation for "active climate protection," he added. 

"We will replace outdated facilities, ensure accessibility, improve construction management and the condition of railway bridges," the conservative politician added. The deal published on Friday plans for the renovation of 2,000 bridges. Other goals are to double the number of train drivers and train passengers by 2030.

Peter Westenberger, head of the Network of European Railways, said of the project: "This creates planning security, it will make every building site cheaper, and it's the right signal to send as the economy threatens to slow down."

Deutsche Bahn is a private, joint-stock company with the Federal Republic of Germany being its single shareholder.

A fast German train near Cologne
A fast German train near CologneImage: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Hardt

Replacing a 5-year plan with a 10-year plan

The current five-year plan, which is set to be replaced by this latest initiative, budgeted for an average €5.6 billion investment per year. The new total of €86.2 billion for the next decade is an increase of 54%, officials say.

Despite Germany's reputation for precision and accuracy, the country's main rail company has been plagued by delays and breakdowns in recent years.

Deutsche Bahn defines a train which arrives within six minutes of its scheduled time as "on-time," Even by that metric, around one-fifth trains were late in the first half of 2019.

Germany's 33,000 kilometers (20,500 miles) of railways also struggle with from dilapidated bridges and overused train tracks.

dj/jm (dpa, AFP)

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