Infrastructure: Industry is pushing for rapid expansion of rail capacity

German industry is putting pressure on politicians and the railways for rapid rail expansion.

Infrastructure: Industry is pushing for rapid expansion of rail capacity

German industry is putting pressure on politicians and the railways for rapid rail expansion. "More and more companies are relying on more and more sustainable logistics," said the Deputy General Manager of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Holger Loesch, the German Press Agency. "In view of the currently sharp rise in energy prices and the long-term increase in traffic, the development of additional capacities in the rail network is of immense importance for the industry."

Industry representatives and politicians will be discussing how quickly more people and goods can be transported by rail at a conference in Berlin this Thursday (1 p.m.). Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) invited to the "Rail Summit". "Reliability and punctuality are basic requirements for shifting traffic to rail," the BDI emphasized.

Congested rail network

There has been repeated criticism from the economy in recent months. Because the many construction sites in the partially overloaded rail network not only ensure that more passenger trains are delayed than they have been in years. At times, several hundred freight trains stood still.

"Rail transport plays a key role for German industry in terms of competitiveness and the achievement of climate protection goals," emphasized Loesch. The railway faces enormous challenges. "Freight traffic is growing primarily on routes that are already heavily used."

The capacity bottlenecks cannot be solved in the foreseeable future through classic infrastructure expansion alone. Digital solutions are necessary. "The BDI is committed to exploiting the dormant potential of digital capacity increases as quickly as possible." According to the will of the industry, the commitment appropriations of one billion euros from the federal government's third relief package should be used primarily for the IT infrastructure on the rails.

General renovation planned

The railway had announced that from 2024 onwards the main corridors would undergo a general renovation and be expanded into a high-speed network. “The main goal is to separate the traffic,” said long-distance transport board member Michael Peterson recently to the German Press Agency. "Today we mainly have routes on which regional trains, freight trains and long-distance trains run at the same time."

Particularly in high-traffic corridors and junctions, there must be more separation - with overtaking tracks and alternative routes. "It is still the case: With digital rail, we want to increase capacity by up to 35 percent. We need that too. But we are also dependent on additional rail infrastructure for the segregation of traffic." The general renovation should begin on the so-called Riedbahn between Frankfurt (Main) and Mannheim, as Peterson announced on Wednesday.

Tim-Oliver Müller, general manager of the main association of the German construction industry, warned in the "Augsburger Allgemeine": "It would be fatal to concentrate exclusively on one part of the network and let the rest continue to deteriorate." The planned general renovation is the right strategy. In the "Handelsblatt" he called for a federal "rail fund" to secure financing. In addition, the "Bahn should examine together with the federal government what contribution the many hundreds of foreign investments will make to the future orientation towards the common good and, if necessary, part with them."

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