Renovation plans: Bahn wants to build a “high-performance network”.

Status: 06/22/2022 11:32 a.m

More customer-friendly and, above all, faster – Deutsche Bahn wants to expand parts of its rail network into a “high-performance network” from 2024. After years of neglect, there is an enormous amount of catching up to do, said Transport Minister Wissing.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the Federal Ministry of Transport want to expand particularly busy sections of the rail network into a “high-performance network”. “It cannot stay the way it is,” said Transport Minister Volker Wissing. “Political failures and underfunding” have “brought rail to its absolute limit”. With a bundling of construction measures, an increase in performance and customer-friendly construction planning, countermeasures should now be taken. “I expect that in the future we will be able to set the clock by the train again,” said the Minister of Transport.

Ten percent are to become a high-performance network

The core of the problems in passenger and freight traffic is a lack of capacity and the aging of the infrastructure, DB explained. From 2024, sections of the route that are particularly heavily used are therefore to be expanded into a high-performance network. Specifically, it is about ten percent of the entire network, i.e. around 3500 kilometers – these sections are already 125 percent utilized. By 2030, this proportion of particularly stressed sections of the route is expected to increase to 9,000 kilometers, the railway said.

Badly outdated infrastructure

Increasing demand in combination with outdated infrastructure and construction work is currently leading to “traffic jams and delays with a massive impact on all customers,” said DB CEO Richard Lutz. “The current operational quality clearly does not meet our requirements”. The new high-performance network should go from being a problem to an anchor of quality and stability for the entire infrastructure.

Lutz had already sounded the alarm at the end of May and complained about the dilapidated rail network. The delays are increasing, there is a record number of construction sites and the need for modernization will continue to increase. Many points and signal boxes are outdated and highly susceptible to failure. At the time, he also said that Deutsche Bahn would miss its punctuality target of 80 percent in long-distance traffic and would be “significantly away from it”.

Three criteria for the general renovation of the rail network

In the planned general renovation, Deutsche Bahn wants to take three new criteria into account in the future. Firstly, all planned construction measures are to be “radically bundled” in order to keep sections of the route free of construction sites for several years. Secondly, not only should existing defects be eliminated during construction work in the future, but additional measures should also be taken. The high-performance corridors are to receive a “first-class equipment standard”. Thirdly, more customer-friendly construction should be used in future construction planning. For this purpose, the railway wants to use “high-density and capacity-saving construction methods”.

The railways play an important role in the climate protection goals for 2030 in transport. The number of passengers is expected to double by then, and the share of rail freight traffic will increase significantly.

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