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Germany pledges record €86 billion to railway modernization

Germany pledges record €86 billion to railway modernization

Germany has pledged to put 86 billion euros into the upkeep and modernization of its railways over the next decade. The government will be footing 62 billion, while the German rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) will pony up the remaining 24 billion. The two sides signed the contract guaranteeing the investments – the biggest ever in German history – in Berlin on Tuesday, 14 January 2020.

“The 2020s are going to be a golden era for German rail,” said Germany‘s Transport and Digital Infrastructure Minister Andreas Scheuer. “We are signing on to the largest modernization program that’s ever existed in Germany. Our goal is a strong rail network as the basis for active climate protection in transportation.”

The volume of investment represented a 54 percent increase over the previous administrative period. Part of the money will be used to renew around 2000 kilometers of tracks and 2000 switching points every year. 2000 railways bridges will also be renovated by the year 2030. Seven billion euros will be spent on signal-box technology alone. Deutsche Bahn has said it wants to increase its fleet of super-fast ICE 4 trains from 39 to 137.

“The record size of this investment – plus the scope of areas it involves – will offer a wealth of opportunities for foreign companies as well as German firms to get involved,” says Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) transportation expert Stefan Di Bitonto. “In fact companies from around the world are already taking part in the modernization process.”

Deutsche Bahn wants to see regular high-speed connections operating at quick intervals between all of Germany’s larger cities and is targeting 260 million passengers a year by 2030. The emphasis on rail is part of Germany’s ambitious strategy to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz has argued in the past that rail is “the only truly green mode of transport.”