Rail customers need patience: up to 800 construction sites cause delays

Rail customers need patience: up to 800 construction sites cause delays

Rail customers can expect numerous roadworks on the german network again this year. At peak times, there will be 800 construction sites at the same time, announced infrastructure director ronald pofalla.

In addition to maintenance projects, around 50 new construction and expansion projects alone were planned or implemented. A record 10.7 billion euros is being invested in the rail network and stations, up from 9.4 billion euros last year. The increase is also partly due to higher construction prices. The bulk of the sum will be paid by the federal government. Not counting the billion euro stuttgart 21 project.

Restrictions for passengers should be kept as low as possible. "We are getting a better and better handle on driving and construction," said pofalla. More construction workers were deployed, more auxiliary structures were erected and more work was done at night – so that the trains could start rolling again in good time.

Railroad 2019:total closure, rerouting, train cancellations

However, there are some rough plans that will leave a mark on the passengers. First and foremost, the general overhaul of the first, roughly 30-year-old high-speed lines. It will begin in 2019 with the hanover-gottingen section, where from 11. June to 14. December will be built.

Consequence: total closure, rerouting, train cancellations. Between hamburg and frankfurt, berlin and frankfurt as well as hamburg and munich the trains will take 30 to 45 minutes longer – if everything goes as planned. And the trains are expected to be fuller, too, because fewer are running than usual, the railroad announced.

Obstructions between hanover and wurzburg

The north-south line is one of the most important routes in the network: 15.5 million passengers travel between hanover and wurzburg each year on ICE and intercity trains. The entire route is to be renovated by the end of 2023.

Delay between augsburg and nurnberg

In addition, there are many other construction sites. Between berlin and wolfsburg, for example, ICE trains will only be able to travel at a maximum speed of 160 km/h until mid-may because work is still being done on the control and safety systems. Between augsburg and nurnberg, trains will be running 20 to 25 minutes longer from the end of march to the end of june because of work on switches and tracks. From the end of october to mid december, trains of several ICE lines will not be able to stop at frankfurt airport because suburban trains will be diverted via the long-distance station.

Construction sites cause fewer and fewer delays according to railroad calculations. Despite this, about one in four long-distance trains was late last year. However, the railroad is citing external reasons for this: storms, heavy rain, lightning strikes and drought, as well as a track closure after an ICE fire and a warning strike in december. The truth is also that, in view of rising passenger numbers, there are bottlenecks in staffing and the rail network.

Overloaded: wurzburg – nurnberg line

According to pofalla, special attention is being paid to widening the bottleneck in the network – for example, with new switches and passing tracks. Four major bottlenecks have been identified: according to rail calculations, the tracks between koln and dortmund are used to 140 percent of their capacity – but operational problems can usually occur at 90 percent or more. Other sections are hardly less congested: fulda-mannheim (135 percent), wurzburg-nurnberg (125 percent) and the hamburg area (120 percent).

In these four so-called plan corridors, traffic is to be managed even more intensively. Because they very often run into delays and then drag them along with them in the entire network .

In addition, a "risk radar" is to be installed for the construction of the new building. Three to four months before the start of construction, experts are asked to check once again whether the individual construction projects, which are often planned years in advance, will not result in excessive restrictions for passengers.

The railroads are under pressure: according to the group’s calculations, the 33,000-kilometer network has a refurbishment backlog of 54 billion euros. At the same time, the federal government wants the state-owned company to improve significantly in terms of punctuality and quality by the summer. And negotiations are underway to determine how much money the federal government will give to maintain the network in the next demand period from 2020 to 2024.

For smaller expansion projects such as sidings, the railroad also wants money from the states. An initial agreement under the slogan "robust network NRW" is now being concluded, pofalla announced. The project involves 150 million euros over a period of several years.

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