The German Ministry of Transport and state-owned rail service provider Deutsche Bahn (DB) have revealed plans to modernize the country's rail network by 2030. The German government will invest €40 billion in the project. A third of the funds will be allocated to the DB railway company for renovations in the coming years. The plan's primary objective is to improve efficiency and punctuality on the German railway network, which has been recognized in the past. The plan's main focus will be rapidly upgrading the country's busiest rail lines. These lines are often affected by delays and disruptions that impact most Germans and German visitors.
Germany's reputation for punctuality and nationalized rail service has suffered setbacks in recent years, causing inconvenience for domestic and international travelers.
As per the latest consultation report presented by a German Bundestag (Parliament) member and published by the Ministry of Transport, almost one in three rail passengers in Germany will arrive at their destination with a delay of 15 minutes or more in 2022. Only over 70% of travelers arrive at their destination on time or with a minor delay.
These figures show a significant drop in punctuality of 10% in 2022 compared to the previous year. It's worth noting that Deutsche Bahn, the national railway company, considers that a train delayed by less than 15 minutes arrives on time - a looser benchmark than other countries.
Critics have pointed out that the deterioration of the German rail network has been due to a lack of investment for years. The issue has led to a decline in punctuality and is a cause of concern for passengers.
During a meeting with those responsible for the railway sector in Frankfurt, the Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing, outlined the project schedule. He assured us that the plan would proceed despite the challenging budget situation. To finance the project, tolls for foreign heavy vehicles on German motorways will increase. The project's primary goal is to focus on 40 particularly busy road stretches. Each section will be closed for around five months until 2030 to allow for comprehensive renovation and maintenance work.
The plan's authors hope it will substantially reduce costs and improve repairs and upgrades.
Wissing mentioned that planned closures should be communicated as soon as possible, and affected individuals should be updated. He added that it's crucial to inform people about the inconvenience and troubles caused by the closures so that we can travel smoothly on the rails in the future.