Capital expenditure and modernization program continued #Construction
In the year under review, about € 7.5 billion was invested in the German rail network. About € 5.1 billion of this was spent on the renovation and maintenance of, for example, about 1,650 km of track, just under 1,800 switches, and about 4,600 LST facilities. In addition, € 2.4 billion is being spent on numerous new construction and expansion projects. This has resulted in many different construction activities. The impact on day-to-day operations was minimized by concentrating construction sites into corridors.
A construction site management round table was set up to find optimal solutions for everyone involved in the trade-offs between operations and constructions; round table participants include representatives of industry associations, the BMVI, the BNetzA, the TOCs, the public transport authorities and DB Netz AG. The aim is to gradually shift the focus of construction processes and communication within construction projects and the incentive systems and commercial policies between all sides involved further towards more passenger-friendly approaches to construction and change the way the unavoidable consequences of restrictions due to construction work are managed. Specific results and implementation milestones are to be presented in the second quarter of 2018.
Additional measures were initiated to further reduce delays caused by construction sites and increase stability in the rail network. For example, the management center Construction is collaborating with the regional areas on optimizing and improving the management of construction works. Despite an increase in construction sites, construction-related delays were down 14%, significantly lower than in 2016.
Progress with regard to new construction and expansion measures #Construction
Major construction works in the year under review are summarized in the Construction Project Map.
Commissioning of Berlin–Munich line
Commercial operation of the Ebensfeld‒Erfurt new construction line commenced on December 10, 2017, completing German Unification Transport Projects (VerkehrsprojektE Deutsche Einheit; VDE) NO. 8. One of the results is that travel time between Munich and Berlin on ICE trains will be reduced to under four hours. Under this project, portions of the expansion line Ebensfeld–Nuremberg were also expanded to four tracks. On the Ebensfeld‒Erfurt new construction line, as well as on the Erfurt‒Halle/Leipzig new construction line that was put into service in 2015, the newest version of the ETCS will be used. Extensive construction work is still taking place at the Halle and Leipzig hubs and on feeder lines.
Construction begins on second S-Bahn (metro) main line in Munich
The start of construction on the project and the opening of the second main line information center took place on April 5, 2017 with a multimedia exhibition. Preparatory construction work is currently underway at the central station, at Marienhof and in the area west. The main construction work will begin at Marienhof in summer 2018. Preparatory construction work will start at the central station in the concourse building area in spring 2018. The main construction work will begin there at the end of 2018. A legally valid construction permit has been obtained for the western and central section; two lawsuits regarding the eastern section are still pending.
Construction of Rhine-Ruhr-Express
Construction on the Rhine-Ruhr-Express project officially began in Cologne in March 2017. The first section was put into service in May following upgrades to the existing network. Additional sections for which construction permits have not yet been obtained will have to be expanded in order to absorb the initial increase in traffic. For reasons relating to customer tolerance, expansion within the heavily overloaded Rhine-Ruhr region will be possible only at a gradual pace, each time obtaining a construction permit while maintaining ongoing service. The Rhine-Ruhr-Express is one of the pilot projects of BIM.
Commissioning of the Hanau‒Nantenbach expansion line
The commissioning of the second track in the Laufach area on the bypass of the old Schwarzkopf Tunnel on November 6, 2017 established continuous two-track operations between Laufach and Heigenbrücken, and regular scheduled services have now commenced. This completes all work on the new operating tracks. Filling works in the old Schwarzkopf tunnel and the necessary landscaping measures are still underway, including dismantling around construction roads/construction site areas.
Recommissioning of Berlin–Dresden expansion line
As part of the project for recommissioning the Berlin‒ Dresden expansion line, commercial operations commenced on December 10, 2017 on the Wünsdorf–Waldstadt–Hohenleipisch and Großenhain Berlin Station–Kottewitz branch line sections of the route. The maximum speed in these sections was increased to 160 km/h. This achieved a nineminute reduction in travel time, another stage toward reducing total travel time to 80 minutes.
Progress in standardizing maintenance #Digitalization
In order to improve rail infrastructure quality, we take advantage of digitalization for maintaining the rail network.
Within the framework of the standardization of production system maintenance (Standardisierung Produktionssystem Instandhaltung; SPI), the scheduling and feedback process of operational maintenance has been standardized and digitalized. The first rollout phase has been completed on schedule and the maintenance system is now operating across Germany in long-distance and metropolitan networks equipped with digital commissioning and reporting. The second phase of the SPI commenced in the year under review as part of the OPEX program. The focus here is on standardizing workflows and processes, especially work preparation and execution, increasing productivity and improving the quality of facilities. The pilot locations are the operations and maintenance sites in Frankfurt and Würzburg; nationwide rollout commenced at the end of 2017 and will be completed by the end of 2019.
Rollout of point machine diagnostics #Digitalization
In order to optimize the availability of switches, a digital remote diagnostic system is used to detect potential faults before they can occur. The DIANA diagnostics platform gives maintenance an indication of a possible fault, allowing preventive measures to be taken. In the future, this should make it possible to reduce drive-related switch defects by up to 50%. Up to December 2017 about 15,700 switches were equipped with actuating current diagnostic systems. Predictive maintenance via the DIANA diagnostics platform will gradually be expanded to include other components.
New emergency technology in use
DB Netze Track is carrying out large-scale modernization of its machinery and vehicle fleet (for example, emergency technology, measurement technology and track maintenance vehicles). About € 660 million will be invested in this effort between 2015 and 2024. Emergency cranes and rescue trains are important components of this capital expenditures initiative. By 2019, all old vehicles using emergency technology will be replaced at a cost of about € 150 million. In the year under review, for example, a rescue train was placed into service in Würzburg as well as a track infrastructure maintenance vehicle in Leipzig.
Noise-based train-path pricing system supports conversion of freight cars
The LaTPS currently provides for a surcharge of 4% on the regular train-path price for loud freight trains. Freight trains consisting of 90% cars with quiet brake shoes are exempt from the surcharge. In the working timetable period of 2016/2017 about € 17 million was generated, all of which was used to finance bonus payments for TOCs that have equipped their freight cars with Quite composite brake shoes No. 05 . In the year under review, we received and approved a total of 25,643 applications for 2016 in the LaTPS (2015: 11,025) to promote the noise remediation of existing freight cars. A total of € 4.4 million was paid as a bonus to the TOCs on the basis of the applications submitted (2015: € 2.3 million). The LaTPS will be in place until the end of 2020. The program is income-neutral for its entire duration.
Rail cartel proceedings still pending
In 2013, partial settlements were concluded with voestalpine and ThyssenKrupp regarding the payment of damages. In March 2016, we concluded a partial settlement with the Stahlberg-Roensch Group and Constantin Stahlberg. We have not yet reached a settlement with the Moravia Group. After a commercial agreement had been reached, Moravia again backed out. Therefore, we continue to pursue claims for damages against Moravia in a lawsuit. We will continue our endeavors to achieve a full settlement. We are transferring most of the compensation payments to the Federal Government, the Federal states and other funding bodies which previously had assigned their claims to us. Because the rail procurements in question were largely supported by public funding, in obtaining damages we are working primarily in the interest of the funding bodies.