The Anonymous Widower

‘New Era’ As German Coalition Prioritises Rail Spending Over Road

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

The so-called ‘traffic light coalition’ formed by the Social Democratic, Green and Free Democratic parties as the next federal government has committed to launching a ‘Rapid Capacity Expansion’ to enhance railway infrastructure as part of its wider transport strategy.

Other policies would include.

  • A national regular interval timetable as a matter of priority.
  • Increasing rail’s share of the freight transport market from the current 19% to 25% by 2030.
  • Doubling passenger traffic by the end of the decade.
  • Electrify 75 % of the network by 2030.
  • Road tolls for trucks would be increased to reflect CO2 emissions.
  • New commercial and industrial developments would be mandated to examine the potential for incorporating a rail connection.
  • A pressure group, whose name translates as Alliance Pro Rail is in favour.

But will the average German voter in their Audi, BMW, Mercedes or Volkswagen cruising down the autobahn be in favour?

It certainly looks like it will be all change on German railways and roads.

The article is also linked to three in depth articles on the future of German railways published by Railway Gazette in the last few months.

It certainly is all change.


December 26, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. Your extract shows how short-termist politicians are.

    Imagine all the trucks were Hydrogen or Electric powered? This would reduce the shipping costs over a hybrid road/rail delivery system.

    Railway operators seldom realise this. It doesn’t matter whether one is moving bulk or itemised cargo, the trans-shipping is the largest cost element when moving goods.

    If there is a green alternative that reduces trans-shipping, the supply chain will prefer it.

    The arrival of Hydrogen and better electric vehicles is imminent. I drove test H2 vehicles over a decade ago. The issue of cost of suitable vehicle tanks has been solved by the Japanese, the Germans are running with it. Even in Britain we are beginning to see H2 being supplied to new housing estates for heating and hot water.

    Comment by Robin St.Clair | December 26, 2021 | Reply

  2. When did you ever meet a politician, who understood science? Germany is saying good-bye to one who might understand the science!

    I’m not sure BMW man will like what comes in her place.

    But your right about hydrogen and electric power and transhipment. Have you seen the CargoBeamer system?

    Comment by AnonW | December 26, 2021 | Reply

  3. I don’t know about change being required it’s progress that we need.
    The one thing that puzzles me about rail freight in Germany is that in a relatively (for a continental European railway) market which after all has 130 companies actively engaged in providing traction, the market has declined over the last decade. I suppose a clue to this is that 85% of the market is still dominated by the freight arm of DB. The Germans really need to reorganise the unhealthy relationships that persist in the DB organisation and really unburnden DB Netz from the requirement of being a profit centre and of having insidious obligations to other parts of DBAG.
    If private companies could be free of the reported dominance of DB with its control of infrastructure and its market power perhaps Germany could develop a more successful freight sector.
    On the subject of transhipment, the freight industry and successive UK governments have been investing in Strategic Intermodal Freight Terminals for over a quarter of a century in the recognition that the movement of freight must be efficiently moved. These factor in the capital costs of construction and operating costs including trans shipment so to dismiss this solution by suggesting that that hydrogen and battery trucks is the answer is bizarre. A report was commissioned by the UK Major Ports Group. In that report it identifies the strategic freight network that keeps the UK’s goods moving and the beneficial value gained from making improvements to the network.
    With regards to congestion it finds that congestion on key UK routes and locations obstruct the UK economy, “amounting to 50,000 HGV hours wasted every day”, or 19 million hours per year and “3 million tonnes of rail freight restricted annually, costing an estimated £539 million every year”.
    Moreover the fuel efficiency of moving each ton of freight by rail is conservatively twice as effective. For example CSX Transportation a Class 1 freight railroad in the USA estimates it can move a ton of freight approximately 492 miles on a single US gallon (approx 620 miles per imp gallon) of fuel. By comparison an articulated truck in the UK hauling 44 tons consumes fuel at the rate of 8 mpg, a figure I got from DfT statistics. In equivalent terms that’s about 350 miles per imperial gallon shifting a ton of freight, making rail fuel efficiency about 75% better.
    Address these issues first before damning the current Intermodal freight strategy.

    Comment by fammorris | December 27, 2021 | Reply

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