Better together: DB and Northern states in alliance for faster rail expansion

12 Jan 2022 13:33 Hinterland

A joint alliance between German Rail - DB and the Federal states of Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony & Schleswig-Holstein heralds a massive effort to expand the rail network in Northern Germany. ‘Rail Future North’ aims to promote and speed up new construction and expansion projects, to make existing infrastructure more robust, and beef up long-distance, local and freight traffic - irrespective of state borders. Alliance partners want to expand the rail industry, boosting its attractiveness. The overriding aim is to gain more passengers and freight customers for environment-friendly rail and to protect the climate. By 2030, over 30 billion euros should flow into North Germany’s rail infrastructure. The partners today signed a Memorandum of Understanding setting up the alliance.

Ronald Pofalla, DB board member for infrastructure: “We are founding a Hanseatic Rail League. The alliance will champion attractive rail in Germany’s Northern states, more freight by rail, plus the ‘Deutschlandtakt’, or coordinated national train schedule. Aligning five federal states and DB, an alliance for expanding rail in Germany with this clout is unique. Acting together, we can make climate-friendly rail an attractive, high-performance carrier. That applies equally to cities and rural regions. Cooperation across state borders will make planning faster, more effective and more uniform in future – for ‘one-stop’ rail transport services.”

Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economics, Employment, Transport and Digitalisation, Lower Saxony: “We in the North realize that we need to expand rail infrastructure, not just for international long-distance traffic, but especially for local commuter traffic. More freight also needs to roll by rail. With the alliance ‘Rail Future North’, along with the Federal states involved, the German Rail network will be planned and expanded more rapidly.”

Dr. Bernd Buchholz, Minister of Economics, Transport, Employment, Technology and Tourism, Schleswig-Holstein: “The local transport plan just passed by the state parliament is an absolutely appropriate module for ‘Rail Future North’. We have already anchored additional important rail infrastructure projects there that we want to implement in the next few years. Among these, electrification of additional rail routes will play a vital part. If the many projects are to be implemented as soon as possible, all the opportunities in the Investment Acceleration Act need to be purposefully exploited. In addition, an adequate staff contingent will be essential for handling the authorization process with no delays.”

Reinhard Meyer, Minister of Economics, Infrastructure, Tourism and Employment, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: “Good transport infrastructure is a crucial pre-condition for further economic development in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. That involves transnational freight shipments, local goods distribution, transport services for visitors to our state, and naturally also mobility for citizens within Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In close cooperation, Germany’s Northern states and German Rail will together ensure that rail expansion and new construction are energetically tackled. If essential construction measures are to be implemented faster, closer intermeshing of planning and coordination in future will be of vital importance.”

Dr. Maike Schaefer, Senator for Climate Protection, Environment, Mobility, Urban Development and Housing, Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen: “Assisting in attainment of intra-state climate targets, for central and state governments the transformation of transport is a key topic. As a crucial element in revamping the transport sector generally, successful rail is invariably cross-border: Infrastructural expansion does not stop at state lines. That will only prove successful provided that national and state governments, clients and rail companies, cooperate closely. With the signature today, the states and DB are together taking a major step into the future, towards an attractive, high-performance rail network for the North.”

Dr. Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Transport and Transformation of Mobility, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg: “Transformation of mobility is a nationwide project and an important lever for attaining our climate goals throughout the country. A nationwide schedule can only be achieved if all players cooperate even more closely across state borders. As a passenger transport centre in Northern Europe and a national and international logistics hub, Hamburg aims to contribute along with its adjacent partners. We want to speed up expansion of our own rail network. With the alliance ‘Rail Future North’ we are taking an important step towards still more effective rail transport in Northern Germany. Here we have a genuine North German rail alliance. We anticipate a distinct rise in rail traffic over the coming decades and it is therefore absolutely obvious that the rail system in Germany should be boosted nationwide, infrastructure expanded for the future, and capacities extended. More than ever, we need attractive and reliable rail transport to sustainably further the mobility shift and climate protection throughout Germany.”

The Memorandum of Understanding focuses on four points:

1. Investment offensive
Increased rail capacity: By 2030, at least 30 billion euros to be invested in expanding rail capacity in the North.

2. Catalogue of measures
The ‘Rail Future North’ alliance is developing joint measures to make rail network infrastructure in the North more robust, more efficient and more attractive for customers.

3. Acceleration of planning
The states and German Rail agree to push ahead with planning measures at an early stage. For this, they are contributing ideas and studies on the feasibility of future projects.

4. Site management
Alliance partners will improve construction site management to enable trains to continue running despite the multitude of sites. The aim will be to optimally coordinate construction and train operation.

The parties aim to present the first concrete results of ‘Rail Future North’ in summer 2022.

Better together: DB and Northern states in alliance for faster rail expansion

Press contact

Nicole Knapp
Head of communication infrastructure railway in Germany
Deutsche Bahn AG
Phone: +49 (0) 30 297 61030