Germany: DB and Federal Government Announce New High-Performance Network Plans

Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the German federal government have shared their new high-performance network plans and are inviting the rail industry to join them in developing this project.

The goal is to improve rail reliability and capacity across Germany.

DB and Federal Government Announce New High-Performance Network Plans
DB and Federal Government Announce New High-Performance Network Plans

The idea was first discussed publicly last month by DB CEO Richard Lutz, who said that to make Germany’s rail network fit for growth the focus should be on overhauling the most heavily used sections.

He spoke of 3,500 kilometres of track in particular, where the average capacity use is at 125%, rising to more than 150% when construction work is underway.

Announced at a special event in Berlin, the high-performance network will focus on these, Germany’s busiest rail connections, which according to forecast traffic development will increase in length to 9,000km by 2030.

Richard Lutz, Deutsche Bahn CEO, said:

“The accumulation of more and more traffic on infrastructure that is already scarce and further restricted by construction work leads to traffic jams and delays with massive effects on all customers in passenger and freight transport.

“The current operational quality clearly does not meet our requirements. There can be no 'keep it up'.

“The federal government and DB are therefore developing the heavily used network into a high-performance network.

“It will become the backbone for passenger and rail freight transport – from a problem to an anchor of quality and stability for the entire infrastructure.”

The general renovation of these heavily used corridors will focus on three areas, starting with the bundling of all construction measures.

To date, work has been mainly dependent on the condition and age of systems, but in the future a route will be closed once for all works, enabling it to then stay construction-free for many years.

During the renovation all outdated and fault-prone systems will be completely replaced and improved with more powerful and reliable components.

The next focus is on an increase of performance.  The network will have a first-class equipment standard with area-wide track-changing operation, fewer level crossings, sufficient overtaking and transfer points make rail operations more robust in the face of unforeseen disruptions.

Focusing on digital-first, predictive maintenance will be supported by always-on high-performance fault clearance and diagnostic systems that provide continuous information about the status of systems.

This makes it possible to service systems as part of planned maintenance work without disrupting operations and before errors occur.

The final focus is on customer-friendly construction. Working closely with the construction industry, high-density and capacity-saving construction methods will be introduced that will lower economic and passenger disruption.

The general renovation of the first rail corridor is scheduled to start in 2024.

Once complete the federal government and DB hope the experience gained will be able to be transferred to the rest of the network wherever viable.

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