30 Sep 2022, 12:37
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany’s slow progress in rail electrification “shameful” – railway lobby group

Clean Energy Wire

Germany must electrify its railway network eight times as fast as it does today to achieve its target for the sector, said the Pro-Rail Alliance, a lobby group consisting of non-profit organisations and railway companies. “Compared to Europe, the lack of momentum in this country is shameful,” Dirk Flege, head of the group, said. “Practically nothing has happened in Germany since 2019.” The German government plans to electrify 75 percent of the country’s 33,000-kilometre rail network by 2030. But in recent years, only around 65 kilometres were newly equipped with overhead lines annually. "To reach the federal government's target, 500 kilometres per year would have to be electrified," the group said and called for a simplification of planning law and prioritisation by the government.

Germany only increased its share of electrified railway tracks by two percentage points from 59 to 61 percent between 2011 and 2020, the group said with reference to data published by the European Commission. In contrast, EU member states increased their electrified lines on average by 4 percentage points in the same period, with frontrunner Switzerland boasting a completely electrified fleet and Luxembourg having equipped 91 percent of its rail network with overhead lines. Railway company Deutsche Bahn aims to become climate neutral by 2040.

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