Before a renewed peak meeting on the crisis of the German Railways, the Federal Government is increasingly under pressure.
The Railway and Transport Workers‘ Union (EDC) recalled the financial responsibility of the federal government as the owner of the group. ECG Chairman Alexander Kirchner said that the coalition agreement by the governing parties obliged them to double their rail passenger and freight numbers by 2030.
„We need money for that; Every year at least 6 to 8 billion euros, which must be invested in the network, so that more trains can drive and then, above all, on time. “
An ECG spokesman said that this would be additional funding from the federal government in the amount of 2 to 3 billion euros per year. There is an enormous need to catch up with the infrastructure. The federal government is still in the responsibility, said Kirchner, who is also supervisory board vice. „And he has to finally live up to this responsibility.“ As the owner, the Confederation also sits with representatives on the Supervisory Board and thus controls the management.
This Wednesday, the head of the Deutsche Bahn to CEO Richard Lutz comes together again with Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) and politicians of the coalition. It’s the third meeting of its kind this month. On Wednesday, it’s all about how the complex structures of the Group can be improved and what the future financing looks like.
The railway is heavily in debt and needs additional billions, for example for the modernization of the fleet and the network. Coalition circles said it was unclear how much additional funding was needed. For this purpose, the railway tip must provide information.
The board of directors had already presented in December an „agenda for a better rail“ with dozens of individual measures. After a meeting with Scheuer in mid-January, the Group announced a package of measures to step out of the crisis step by step. The trains should be punctual, the service for the customers to be improved. This should be helped by more investment, more staff and less congestion by rail. Scheuer had demanded tangible improvements for customers in the first half of the year.
ECG chief Kirchner also turned against a push for higher rail fares by Transport State Secretary Enak Ferlemann (CDU). „The requirement to make the journey with Deutsche Bahn long-distance trains more expensive does not really help us,“ says Kirchner. „As long as competitors like the long-distance bus or the plane would enjoy tax benefits and continue to advertise dumping prices for customers, the railroad can only lose with such a proposal.“
Green Transport politician Matthias Gastel criticized Scheuer for investing in the transport infrastructure like his predecessors prefer the road construction and neglect the expansion of the railway network. He said: „If the federal government does not quickly set transport policy goals for the railway sector and brings coordinated measures on the way, then drifts the tanker Deutsche Bahn in difficult waters.“
The FDP demanded that the railway should provide clear prospects on Wednesday. Their financial situation is becoming more and more dramatic, said transport politician Christian Jung. Scheuer now had to „clear edge“ show how the Federal Government imagine the future of the railway.
Meanwhile, the railway announces that in 2018 on average just under ten long-distance trains have failed daily without replacement. The figure corresponds to a default rate of 0.7 percent daily at around 1400 ICE, IC and EC. According to railway information, there were around 3,500 long-distance trains throughout the year that did not even depart from the planned starting station. The railway stressed that there had been no accumulation of complete failures in 2018.