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Offbeat New rail pact: industry agrees on timetable

20:21  30 june  2020
20:21  30 june  2020 Source:   ksta.de

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Ein ICE der Deutschen Bahn am Bahnhof Frankfurt-Flughafen. © dpa An ICE train from Deutsche Bahn at Frankfurt Airport station. In the future,

rail customers will be able to get to their destination more quickly and easily, trains will be more punctual - and more goods should also be brought from the road to the railways. These are major goals that are mentioned in a “rail pact” by politics and business. But there is still a long way to go.

After two years of work, politicians, trade unions, railway companies and associations signed the "Roadmap" for the future of rail on Tuesday in the Federal Ministry of Transport in Berlin. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) said that rail could become the number one mode of transport. By 2030, twice as many people are to travel on the more climate-friendly train than before.

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The central element of the pact is the Germany tact

The central element of the pact is the Germany tact - but work has been going on for a long time. If you want to take the ICE from Berlin to Cologne on weekdays or on weekends, you have the opportunity to do so every hour - in the future, a train will run every half hour. The pace of the train route from Berlin to Hamburg began in December with this clock - a year before the original schedule. The connections to regional transport should also be better coordinated to make it easier to change trains.

Scheuer called the Germany tact a "little revolution". It should not only bring improvements in long-distance passenger transport. "It's about better, faster and more reliable transport offers for people and goods," said the President of the Association of German Transport Companies, Ingo Wortmann.

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However, it will still take years on many routes until the Germany tact is implemented. A major step should be taken in 2025, said Scheuer. Railway chief Richard Lutz said: "The expansion of the infrastructure is fundamental." For this reason, heavily used nodes are now to be expanded, along with the expansion and new construction as well as the reactivation of routes.

Many questions still open

But many questions are still open - and how often is it about money. "This is still a black box," said Klaus-Dieter Hommel, chairman of the rail and traffic union (EVG), which was also involved in the elaboration. "There is still no decision and no idea how the financing should look in the future."

Because one thing is clear: the infrastructure is already completely overloaded. The industry's plan not only provides for more passenger transport, but also wants to increase the share of rail in freight transport from the current 19 to around 25 percent by 2030. All of this requires additional capacity. “Despite considerable funds, the money is not even enough to keep the existing infrastructure from getting older. And that's an alarm signal, ”said Hommel.

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billion package for the infrastructure

Federal Government and Deutsche Bahn had already agreed last year on a package of around 86 billion euros for the maintenance of the existing infrastructure in the next ten years. The new plan now calls for the funds for new and expansion projects from the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan to be significantly increased from the current 1.5 billion euros to up to 4 billion euros per year. However, this has not yet been decided.

The rail competition in freight traffic also fears that the federal government is not serious about strengthening the railways and criticizes above all that truck traffic will continue to be subsidized. "With all" internal "improvements, the railways will not gain market share if the other modes of transport are subsidized at the same time or even faster with state support," said Peter Westenberger, Managing Director of the Network of European Railways (NEE).

There is still a lot to do in the Germany tact

The same applies to the Allianz pro Schiene interest group, which is also one of the signatories to the rail package. The association welcomes essential elements of the plan. But it doesn't see the big hit in it. Because other modes of transport were largely ignored in the master plan, this is not the starting signal for a comprehensive turnaround in traffic, according to a position paper by Allianz pro Schiene. Managing Director Dirk Flege said on Tuesday that there was still a lot to do in the Germany tactic. It's not about timetables, but a different and better infrastructure.

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SPD parliamentary group leader Sören Bartol said that the pact is only worth as much as it brings real results. Planning and building should go much faster. Criticism came from the opposition in the Bundestag. "Without concrete measures, such as significantly more long-distance trains and ICEs with double-decker cars, which are already available in France, for example, at the TGV, we will only be able to dream of significantly more passengers on the rails," said FDP transport politician Christian Jung.

It is not foreseeable how the corona crisis will affect the agreed projects. Because the virus has plunged Deutsche Bahn as the biggest player in the implementation of the goals into the greatest financial crisis of its existence. Many projects are under threat, even if head of rail Lutz and Chief Human Resources Officer Martin Seiler once again emphasized in a letter to the employees at the beginning of the week that they wanted to continue with the investments and the planned massive new hires. The railways are about to negotiate with the EVG trade union in order to agree on savings measures. (dpa)

Alabama agrees to play 3 games with Tigers, 2 in Memphis .
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Coach Penny Hardaway and Memphis will play Alabama three times over the next three seasons with two of those games in Memphis. The deal announced Tuesday starts with an exhibition fundraiser either Oct. 31 or Nov. 1 at the FedExForum in Memphis for pandemic relief efforts. Then Memphis would visit Alabama at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa during the 2021-22 season with the teams playing in Memphis during the 2022-23 season.“I’m really excited about the game against Alabama this upcoming season,” Hardaway said. “I’m happy to have this series.

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