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‘Trains of the future’: German rail operator plans huge modernisation

Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, is launching a modernisation offensive and plans to invest more than €19 billion in new trains over the next few years.

The ICE 3 Neo under construction
The ICE 3 Neo under construction. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

On Wednesday, Deutsche Bahn announced plans for its largest modernisation programme to date.

The record sum of €19 billion will help create the capacity needed to meet increased demand, as well as more modern vehicles which will help make the network more climate-friendly and reliable. 

“We are now investing in the trains of the future,” CEO Richard Lutz told the Innotrans rail technology trade show in Berlin on Wednesday.

At the trade show, Deutsche Bahn also showed what the regional train of the future may look like and presented a new double-decker wagon. It included special office cabins and family areas, which will go into service in Bavaria from spring 2023.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The best night trains running through Germany

To enable more people to switch from cars to trains, the company says that around extra 450 highspeed ICE trains will run through Germany in 2030 and, next year, three new ICE trains will hit the tracks every month.

Over the next few years, Deutsche Bahn will be buying trains for long-distance services at a cost of around €10 billion – most of which will be spent on the ICE 4, while around €2.5 billion have been earmarked for 73 ICE 3 Neo trains, the first of which will go into service in December.

The end of Covid restrictions and the introduction of the €9 ticket at the beginning of June has recently given a huge boost to passenger numbers on buses and trains in Germany.

READ ALSO: What we know so far about the successor to Germany’s €9 ticket

According to the Federal Statistics Office, almost 4.8 billion passengers used regular train services in the first half of 2022 alone – over 36 percent more than in the first six months of the previous year.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

The federal government and the states have said they want to reach an agreement on a successor to the €9 ticket at the next conference of transport ministers on October 12th.

Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

For months, the German federal and state governments have been discussing a follow-up for the €9 ticket – the hugely popular Germany-wide travel card that ran from June to the end of August earlier this year.

But now a follow-up solution is finally in sight. At a meeting on Monday, the state transport ministers expressed their willingness to co-finance a successor to the €9 ticket and to reach an agreement with the federal government by mid-October for a ticket that would go on sale on January 1st, 2023.

READ ALSO: Can German ministers agree on funding for a €9 ticket follow-up?

Following the meeting, Bremen’s transport senator Maike Schäfer (Greens), chairwoman of the conference of state transport ministers, said: “We have taken a good step forward.”

While various price points had previously been discussed for a follow-up ticket, including a ticket for €69, a €49 ticket is now the focus of discussions.

According to Schäfer, the ticket would cost an additional €3 billion a year, and, although local transportation is under the control of the states, the federal government will have to help finance it.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing has said that he wants the government to provide half of the funding for the new ticket and the other half would be covered by the states.

However, the states are insisting on a lot of extra funding including, for example, an additional €1.5 billion for the expansion of local transportation and a similar amount of money to compensate for the drastic increase in energy prices.

READ ALSO: What we know so far about the successor to Germany’s €9 ticket

A working group has been set up to work out how exactly the ticket will be financed, which will deliver a result by October 12th, the date of the next conference of state transport ministers.

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