Germany will invest 86,000 million over the next decade to modernize its railways

The German Government and the national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, have signed a contract for the modernization and renovation of the German rail network over the next ten years, for which they have committed an investment of 86,000 million euros, which means the biggest contract in the history of the Germanic country.

The agreement signed on Tuesday by the Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany, Andreas Scheuer, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn, Richard Lutz, and the company’s Director of Infrastructure, Ronald Pofalla, in the presence of the German Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz, contemplates an investment of 62,000 million euros by the German Government, while the railway operator will contribute 24,000 million.

In this way, the committed investment reaches an annual average of 8,600 million euros for investments in the maintenance and modernization of the railway network, including the renewal of the tracks and stations, as well as the electricity supply and signaling system, what supposes an increase of the available resources of 54% with respect to the previous plan.

«We signed the most ambitious modernization program ever carried out in Germany,» said German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, who stressed the goal of strengthening the rail service with a powerful and high-quality network as the basis for active protection of the weather.

For his part, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that «investments have priority for the federal government» and added that the investment program «largest in the history of Deutsche Bahn» establishes an investment perspective to long term in a modern and environmentally friendly rail mobility.

In the case of the representatives of Deutsche Bahn, the CEO of the operator, Richard Lutz, has argued that railway infrastructure is the basis, not only of growth, but of the quality of service and punctuality. «With the new agreement we can address the accumulation of investments and modernize the infrastructure, which will make the railway network more robust and reliable,» he said.

«It is the beginning of a modernization offensive in the German railway network that has never existed on this scale,» added Ronald Pofalla, head of Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, for whom the agreement «is a great victory.»

SALE OF ARRIVA

Last December, Deutsche Bahn announced its intention to take a «minority» share of its Arriva subsidiary in 2020, although in the future the intention is to completely detach the company.

«We intend to take Arriva to the Stock Exchange next year. Initially, we plan to sell a minority stake and intend to sell our share completely over time,» said a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bahn.

In this sense, Arriva would begin trading in the markets starting in May, while Deutsche Bahn would sell all of Arriva’s shares within three years.

Arriva has a workforce of 53,000 workers in 14 countries. Last May he received authorization from the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) to enter into competition with Renfe by operating an international transport service by conventional train between A Coruña and Porto.