Customer and quality

Capacity expansion for a Strong Rail system

Expanding fleet and infrastructure capacity also significantly impacts quality and punctuality.

Infrastructure expansion

With the implementation of volume targets as part of the Strong Rail strategy in passenger and freight transport, we expect train kilometers on track infrastructure to increase further by more than 30%, this means about 350 million train-
­­path km. The growth will be disproportionately realized on that part of the rail network, which is already overburdened today. Additional traffic must therefore be offset by expanding infrastructure capacity. At the same time, we also need to ensure a high level of network reliability and capacity at all times, even during the expansion phase. We can only achieve a high level of performance and growth in the network in cooperation with the Federal Government. LuFV III and measures as part of the climate action program have laid the foundations for financing growth.

There are three main levers to help increase the capacity of the network and the volume produced:

  • New construction and expansion: Implementing new construction and expansion measures plays a significant role in successfully expanding network capacity. In this case, we have the potential to create an additional 180 million train-­­path km, laying the groundwork for more traffic on corridors and for new service concepts. The projects needed to achieve this are included in the Federal Government’s urgent requirement plan and are being implemented successively. Additional measures supplement these projects, such as further expansion measures to enable Germany in sync (Deutschland-­­Takt) or track extensions as part of legislation to support structural changes in current coal regions (Strukturstärkungsgesetz).

  • Digital Rail for Germany (Digitale Schiene Deutschland; DSD): Digital rail for Germany is our long-­­term program for increasing capacity, reliability, productivity and interoperability. With the nationwide roll-­­out of Euro­pean command and control technology (European Train Control System; ETCS) in conjunction with digital interlockings (digitale Stellwerke; DSTW) and digital rail operations, we are increasing capacity with a potential 100 million extra train-­­path km, and all without building new tracks. The program includes the completion of ongoing ETCS projects, the implementation of the starter package from 2020 and the industrialized comprehensive rollout (from 2025 at the latest).

  • Capacity management: With additional measures, we will be able to increase the volume produced by another 70 million train-­­path km. Improved capacity management is an important component of this. This includes coordinating capacity increases, optimizing capacity during construction, traffic optimization and fault minimization. A budget for optimizing capacity during construction is planned to start in 2020 for the first time with LuFV III to ensure fewer restrictions for TOCs in the future.

Fleet and depot expansion

We are massively expanding our maintenance depots and investing in new trains to ensure we build a strong rail system. We are also investing in the modernization of our vehicles. With these levers, we will continue to expand our vehicle availability.

We are investing about € 800 million in maintenance depots for long-­­distance transport until the end of 2024, improving the punctuality and quality of the ICE and Intercity trains as a result. Larger halls, expanded workshops and ware­houses, as well as new sidings for working on and storing trains, ensure faster and better train maintenance in the future. 

Digitalization and automation are being developed further, and we are also creating about 1,000 additional jobs in our depots. About half of these new employees have already been hired.

In order to further increase the vehicle availability and to create additional capacities in our factory halls, digitalization and automation are also being developed further. Innovative technologies are being piloted in individual depots and gradually expanded to other sites. Our focus is on optimizing main­­­­­tenance for our prospectively largest fleet, the ICE 4, to increase vehicle availability through shorter downtime.

In addition to our depots, we also invest extensively in vehicles. The vehicle fleet for long-­­distance transport will be increased in the long term by about 25% to up to 600 trains. More specifically, the vehicle fleet will be expanded with a total of more than 300 new vehicles (ICE 4, Intercity 2, ECx and HGV 2.0). HGV 2.0 is the expansion of the high-­­speed fleet, which travels at 300 km/h.

More than 100 trains in the ICE 1 and ICE 3 fleets are being modernized to improve technical reliability and provide more comfort on board. Equipping almost the entire fleet with ETCS guarantees continuous and reliable availability of digital equipment. We are also optimizing comfort on board the ICE 4 fleet. In addition to new seats, there will be ICE 4 trains with 13 cars and over 900 seats each in the future.

In addition, we have put out to tender the procurement of 90 high-­­speed trains. Of these high-­­speed trains (HGV 2.0), 30 are due to start being delivered on a rolling basis from 2022. Most of these will then be maintained at a brand-new depot. As a new and subsequently as the tenth long-­­distance transport depot, Nuremberg has a key role to play in strengthening the rail system as well as in the climate and mobility transition. The new depot, which is expected to be completed in 2028, helps us to establish sufficient capacities to meet the growing demand on the rails.

The following overview shows the expansion of the vehicle fleet until 2026.

We are also investing in our regional transport fleet and depots. Over the next few years, vehicles on the Rhine-­­Main, Stuttgart and Munich S-­­Bahn (metro) lines will be modernized extensively. In addition to improving the technical reliability and comfort of the vehicles, we are also working to increase utilization.

For transport contracts with the Rhine-­­Main and Stuttgart S-­­Bahn (metro) lines, the vehicle fleet is scheduled to be expanded with the public transport authorities by the end of 2024. Additional single or multi-­­level multiple units are being procured as part of the transport contracts awarded to service the additional train kilometers.

Vehicles are equipped with ETCS to increase capacity in the existing rail network. Starting in 2023, the Stuttgart S-­­Bahn (metro) vehicles will be equipped with this technology for the first time.

In addition, there will be major capital expenditures in the workshop infrastructure over the next few years to maintain and expand maintenance capacities. These measures will focus on workshops for the S-­­Bahn (metro) in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich by 2025.

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