Based on various criteria, DB has identified around 40 sections of track across Germany that require short, medium or long-term rehabilitation. In a series of dialogue events with the railway industry, proposals were also discussed on the order in which the affected lines could be subjected to general refurbishment. The resulting working paper will serve DB as a basis for further discussions with the Federal Government, which will ultimately decide on the concept.
DB's Board Member for Infrastructure, Berthold Huber, said: "There is no alternative to a new refurbishment concept if we want to improve the quality, punctuality and reliability of our rail services. By 2030, we want to transform the most congested sections of our rail network into a high-performance network. The first corridors have already been defined: the general refurbishment of the Riedbahn between Frankfurt am Main and Mannheim will begin in summer 2024, followed a year later by the Hamburg-Berlin and Emmerich-Oberhausen corridors. The Federal Government will then decide how and where to proceed. I am pleased that we can now enter into further discussions with a concrete proposal. The exchange with industry is an important basis for this.
In principle, all sections of line with particularly heavy traffic and infrastructure systems that are particularly susceptible to faults are eligible for general refurbishment. This includes sleepers and ballast, tracks and switches, signals and signal boxes, and stations. This means that the line is closed once and then no major works are required for several years. In addition, the fully refurbished sections will be prepared for the digital railway of the future.
On the subject of sleepers, last year DB inspected around 200,000 sleepers following the Bavaria tragedy (read more here and here). Reports from independent testing institutes suggested that there may have been a manufacturer's fault: some of the sleepers had irregularities in their material properties.