German Transport Ministry to Fund Private Rail Connections

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is increasing its support measures for companies to be connected to the rail network.

The measures are designed to encourage modal shift because they will allow companies to move more freight by rail instead of road. The ministry wants to increase the modal share of freight rail to at least 25 percent by 2030.

Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer:

“The shorter and easier the path to rail, the more likely companies will be to transport their goods by rail. By having a rail connection right outside or a goods station nearby the decision will be easier. That's why we're supporting private investments, supporting the construction of goods stations and accelerating planning procedures. In this way we're improving business access to the rail network, and getting goods off the roads.”

Support Measures

  • More funds for private investments in connections
    Starting on 1 March 2021 up to 50 percent of costs for new rail connections, extensions and the reactivation and maintenance of existing connections will be paid for by the state. 34 million euros will be made available annually, which is more than double the sum compared to the previous year. In 2024 there will be 49 million euros in this pot. The programme will be funded by 200 million euros over five years.
  • Faster planning procedures
    The transport ministry wants to accelerate private investment in new connections by speeding up planning processes. The necessary conditions for this were put in place in the autumn of 2020: for rail connections measuring up to 2km and for the connection of industrial and trading sites of up to 3km businesses will no longer have to undergo a planning process.
  • Division of costs
    To connect private rail tracks to the national network, a set of points is required. Currently the infrastructure manager (DB Netz) has been shifting the costs associated with operating and renewing them to private investors alone. The transport ministry wants to divide the costs between both parties via a legal clarification in the relevant law (Allgemeines Eisenbahngesetz). By way of financial support the transport ministry will also contribute to the replacement of old points starting on 1 March via the federal support programme (Bundesförderprogramm).
  • More goods stations in towns and municipalities
    The transport ministry wants there to be more investments in smaller and medium-sized goods stations. To this end the ministry is expanding the federal support programme as of 1 March to allow for a support of up to 80 percent of the investment costs for multifunctional transshipment centres. Companies will also be able to transport their goods to these centres from where they can be transported by rail. The ministry estimates that this will benefit rural areas in particular.
  • Connecting industrial and trading estates
    When an industrial or trading estate is built, connecting it to the rail network should be part of the planning from the outset. Existing connections that are currently not in use are to be reactivated. In this way goods from different companies can be bundled and transported by rail together. Investment in such connections by private companies is to be supported by up to 50 percent by the state starting on 1 March 2021.

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