With the “small and medium-sized measures” construction program, Deutsche Bahn wants to ensure more punctuality in rail transport in the short term – and according to its own statements, it is making good progress. “By the end of 2025, 138 of the 355 planned projects will have been implemented,” the railway said. “That’s 40 percent of the planned measures with an investment volume of around one billion euros.”

The projects include, among other things, the expansion of overtaking tracks for freight trains up to 740 meters long. There are also projects for local rail transport, such as transfer points or junctions.

“Thanks to accelerated implementation – for example by bundling measures and leaner project planning – we are increasingly able to quickly achieve a major impact with small and particularly effective projects,” said the head of the new rail infrastructure division InfraGo, Philipp Nagl . “Our passengers and freight transport customers benefit directly from this.”

Almost every third ICE and IC train was delayed

The managing director of the Freight Railways Association, Neele Wesseln, criticized the fact that the railway had “embellished” the quota for the measures implemented until 2025. “By including additional packages with measures that have already been implemented in the targets, it was able to increase the planned implementation rate for the end of 2025 from 26 to 40 percent,” she said. The railway’s competitors in freight transport are organized in the association. In addition, two fewer measures would be implemented than announced by InfraGo two years ago.

The federal government’s railway commissioner, Michael Theurer (FDP), was again pleased with the progress reported by the railway. “These measures make a quick-acting contribution to increasing resilience and punctuality in the rail network,” he told the German Press Agency. “As part of the amendment to the Federal Railway Expansion Act, we want to significantly simplify the approval processes for such measures.”

The legal reform is intended to give the federal government more options for financing the rail network. However, she did not get a majority in the Federal Council. The amendment is currently in the mediation committee.

The program with more than 350 small and medium-sized measures is scheduled to be completed by 2030. This could increase punctuality in rail traffic by four percentage points, rail infrastructure director Berthold Huber said last June. Last year, especially in long-distance transport, the railway was more unreliable than it had been for many years. Almost every third ICE and IC train was delayed. For this year, the railway has set itself a target of a punctuality rate of more than 71 percent.

In addition to the smaller and medium-sized construction projects, the railway wants to gradually and comprehensively renovate dozens of busy route corridors. It starts in July on the so-called Riedbahn between Frankfurt and Mannheim, which is to be completely closed for almost six months for the all-round modernization. A total of 40 sections of the route are to be renewed in this way by 2030.