After the collapse in passenger numbers in rail transport, demand for long-distance and regional trains is now back at record levels. In total rail transport, the transport performance last year was 104.2 billion passenger kilometers, as the pro-rail alliance Alliance calculated based on data from the Federal Statistical Office. “This is above the previous high of 102.0 billion passenger kilometers in 2019,” the association told the German Press Agency. “The Corona dip in traffic performance has been overcompensated – in fact, we can speak of an all-time high here.”

Traffic performance is a key figure for the railway industry. It is calculated from the number of passengers transported and the kilometers traveled by rail. In the Corona years 2020 and 2021, this performance was almost halved due to the collapse in demand. The federal government’s goal is to double rail transport performance by 2030 compared to 2015. At that time the value was almost 92 billion passenger kilometers.

Germany ticket

The Pro-Rail Alliance also announced that the Deutschlandticket gave a significant boost to demand last year. For around a year, the monthly subscription has enabled nationwide travel on local and regional transport for currently 49 euros per month. But long-distance transport is also experiencing “a real boom,” emphasized association managing director Dirk Flege. The traffic performance there was around 47.6 billion passenger kilometers last year, which is also an all-time high.

It’s not easy for passengers on the rails at the moment. For around a year, two collective bargaining rounds at the railway caused several industrial disputes and significant restrictions. Added to this is the poor condition of the rail network. Numerous construction sites have been slowing down rail traffic for years, and unpunctuality is particularly high at Deutsche Bahn.

The federal government and the company want to tackle the problem in the next few years with a thorough renovation of the network. 40 busy route corridors are to be fundamentally modernized by 2030. This should make the network less susceptible to disruptions and allow traffic to run more smoothly. But the construction work initially brings with it further restrictions: the individual corridors will be completely closed for several months during the renovation. It starts in June on the Riedbahn between Frankfurt and Mannheim.

The federal government has so far pledged almost 30 billion euros to modernize the network by 2027. However, this only covers almost two thirds of the total requirement, which the railway estimates at around 45 billion euros by 2027. The extent to which the network will continue to be financed in the following years is currently still completely open.