Rail freight misses out on German rail expansion act funding

Image: Shutterstock. topae

Rail freight will not be included in the German Federal Railway Infrastructure Expansion Act (BSWAG). As a result, German rail freight will miss out on ETCS funding and compensation for the upcoming lengthy route closures.

Rail freight is not being included in the BSWAG, and the German rail freight sector will therefore likely not be getting financial aid for the retrofitting of locomotives to install ECTS and compensation for the expected route closures.

Operators on the rail network will need to install the ECTS systems on their locomotives as part of an EU effort to have a single harmonised rail safety system. Retrofitting locomotives will be a multi-million euro affair, for which the already fragile rail freight sector is seeking financial assistance.

Rail renovations

Moreover, large rail renovation projects in Germany will inevitably lead to lengthy track closures. Freight trains will be significantly delayed and incur extra costs and they will need to take diversionary routes. The nine-month closure of the connection from Hamburg to Berlin alone is likely to burden the affected freight railways with additional costs in the hundreds of millions in 2025.

BSWAG does not provide any financial support for the freight sector as compensation for the expected rail downtime, whereas local transport will receive such support. As a result, freight customers will be billed for the hundreds of millions in additional costs. The sector is expecting a 230 million euro growth in costs in 2026 alone.

Branch organisation responds

In an opinion piece in the German publication der Tagesspiegel, Peter Westenberger, CEO of branch organisation Die Güterbahnen, reacted to rail freight being put on sidetracks: “The losers? Everyone! Higher transport prices are a particular burden on international industries and trade – almost half of the transshipment in the Port of Hamburg now takes place by rail in the hinterland”, he said.

“Of course, DB InfraGO’s track access fee revenues also fall when traffic shifts to the road. Motorways are getting even busier. And everyone has agreed for many years that more rail makes sense, especially in freight transport, with its 7.5-fold climate benefit and high energy efficiency. But when things get concrete, there always seem to be more important things”, Westenberger added.

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Rail freight misses out on German rail expansion act funding | RailFreight.com

Rail freight misses out on German rail expansion act funding

Image: Shutterstock. topae

Rail freight will not be included in the German Federal Railway Infrastructure Expansion Act (BSWAG). As a result, German rail freight will miss out on ETCS funding and compensation for the upcoming lengthy route closures.

Rail freight is not being included in the BSWAG, and the German rail freight sector will therefore likely not be getting financial aid for the retrofitting of locomotives to install ECTS and compensation for the expected route closures.

Operators on the rail network will need to install the ECTS systems on their locomotives as part of an EU effort to have a single harmonised rail safety system. Retrofitting locomotives will be a multi-million euro affair, for which the already fragile rail freight sector is seeking financial assistance.

Rail renovations

Moreover, large rail renovation projects in Germany will inevitably lead to lengthy track closures. Freight trains will be significantly delayed and incur extra costs and they will need to take diversionary routes. The nine-month closure of the connection from Hamburg to Berlin alone is likely to burden the affected freight railways with additional costs in the hundreds of millions in 2025.

BSWAG does not provide any financial support for the freight sector as compensation for the expected rail downtime, whereas local transport will receive such support. As a result, freight customers will be billed for the hundreds of millions in additional costs. The sector is expecting a 230 million euro growth in costs in 2026 alone.

Branch organisation responds

In an opinion piece in the German publication der Tagesspiegel, Peter Westenberger, CEO of branch organisation Die Güterbahnen, reacted to rail freight being put on sidetracks: “The losers? Everyone! Higher transport prices are a particular burden on international industries and trade – almost half of the transshipment in the Port of Hamburg now takes place by rail in the hinterland”, he said.

“Of course, DB InfraGO’s track access fee revenues also fall when traffic shifts to the road. Motorways are getting even busier. And everyone has agreed for many years that more rail makes sense, especially in freight transport, with its 7.5-fold climate benefit and high energy efficiency. But when things get concrete, there always seem to be more important things”, Westenberger added.

Also read:

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Author: Dennis van der Laan

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