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Deutsche Bahn: The condition of the rail network has deteriorated slightly again

Deutsche Bahn: The condition of the rail network has deteriorated slightly again

The railway network is not in good shape. This leads to unpunctuality and dissatisfaction among customers. For the third time, the group is now awarding an overall grade for its own infrastructure.

The condition of the rail network in Germany has deteriorated slightly again. Deutsche Bahn only gives its own infrastructure a mediocre grade of 3.03 for the past year, as can be seen from the current network status report from the railway infrastructure subsidiary InfraGo, which was published on Wednesday. For the previous year the value was only slightly better at 3.01. For the first time, the group also awards a grade for InfraGo’s approximately 5,400 passenger stations in the report. They also get a mediocre value of 3.09.

The railway emphasizes that all infrastructure systems are “stable, operational and traffic-safe”. “However, systems that are particularly relevant to punctuality, such as switches, level crossings and signal boxes in the highly loaded network, only score in the mediocre to poor grade range.” This is particularly felt by long-distance rail passengers: one in three long-distance trains was delayed last year. The railway has been similarly unreliable so far this year. The reason is the many construction sites on the network in need of renovation, which are slowing down traffic.

Level crossings and signal boxes are outdated

According to the network status report, the need for renewal in the network now amounts to more than 92 billion euros. The sum refers to the value of the systems with a grade of poor to inadequate that need to be replaced in the medium to short term. According to the report, it rose by almost two billion euros compared to the previous year. In addition, there will be 17.6 billion euros for train stations in need of renovation.

According to the report, things are particularly bad around level crossings and signal boxes. Many of them are now so outdated that only a new building is an option. The railway now gives the signal boxes a poor value of 4.02. “This is clearly an alarm signal,” said the managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, on Wednesday. “Too many of our signal boxes are ready for museums. Politicians must flip the switch and quickly push forward the digitization of signal boxes.” Passengers and transport companies also benefit from this through more punctual trains.

According to the report, the railway also sees a “special need for action”. With a large-scale investment program, it wants to comprehensively modernize dozens of sections of the route, especially heavily used ones, in the coming years. This year it starts on the Riedbahn between Frankfurt and Mannheim, which will be completely closed for around five months during construction work.

When will the transport infrastructure fund come?

“The poor condition of the railway after years of austerity dictates is obvious,” said Greenpeace transport expert Lena Donat on Wednesday. “In order to modernize neglected routes, run-down stations and outdated facilities, the railway needs long-term financing from a state fund. “The annual back and forth about what fits into the current budget must come to an end.”

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) recently spoke out in favor of such a fund to finance transport infrastructure. However, it is still unclear what resources such a fund should be equipped with and what it should include.

The grading system of the network status report works similarly to school grades. Values ​​between 1.0 and 1.99 represent new or new systems. 2.0 to 2.99 means “Good”, grades of 3 indicate mediocre condition. Investments with values ​​of 4 are considered “bad”. Replacement investments may already be overdue here. Systems with grades between 5.0 and 5.99 are given the “Poor” label. They could affect operations and should have already been replaced.

Source: Stern

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