17 Dec 2019, 13:23
Benjamin Wehrmann

Deutsche Bahn invests record sum in new trains, revives mothballed connections

Clean Energy Wire / Spiegel Online

The German rail service Deutsche Bahn (DB) is going to make the biggest investment in its vehicle fleet so far and will buy new trains worth more than twelve billion euros over the next years, the company said. "This is a record sum in DB's history," said Berthold Huber, DB’s executive for passenger transport. Until 2026, DB plans to invest about 8.5 billion euros into long-distance connections and 2.7 billion euros in its regionally operating S-Bahn services. The company is going to buy more than 350 new regional trains over the next years and about 100 new long-distance ICE trains. "Attractive connections between urban centres, capable mobility concepts for inner cities and in rural areas are the pillars of a transition in the transport sector," Huber said. The new investments will increase DB’s passenger transport capacity by 20 percent over the next seven years, the company added.
According to an article by news website Spiegel Online, DB also plans to end the mothballing of connections and demolition of train paths and instead intends to expand the existing route network again. A special unit within the company has been tasked with identifying routes that should be revived out of about 3,600 kilometres of railroad lines that were closed over the past 15 years. "We need every kilometre of railroad that we can find in Germany in order to cope with growing traffic volumes and to make the rail network more robust," DB infrastructure executive Ronald Pofalla told Spiegel Online.

Increasing the share of rail traffic in Germany's transport sector is a central aspect of the government's climate package, which is aimed at reducing emissions across the board but especially in the transport and buildings sectors, as these have made relatively little progress in the last years. Together with DB, the government will invest about 86 billion euros by 2030 to expand and modernise national railroads. In order to make long-distance train rides more attractive to customers, the government will reduce the value added-tax, a change expected to make train tickets about 10 percent cheaper.

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