Comprehensive improvement measures are underway
In order to achieve a trend reversal in punctuality development, three lines of action were pursued in the year under review:
- Consistently continue measures from Railway of the Future.
- Set up a punctuality management center to create short-term stability.
- Implement the Group project on capacity management to develop countermeasures for the negative punctuality effects of increasing levels of traffic and construction.
Development in the year under review led to a comprehensive review of punctuality and measures. This review demonstrated that the planned improvements were being realized more slowly than anticipated, in particular due to the additional capacity required. Consequently, the plan values for 2019 and the subsequent years were withdrawn and the decision was made to intensify the measures of the Agenda for a Better Railway.
Expanding and further developing PlanStart
In the year under review, the PlanStart team at DB Long-Distance focused on transferring the improvements reached in on-schedule departures at the hub stations to the jour-
ney on the line and on increasing adherence to stop times during mid-journey stops.
At DB Cargo, PlanStart teams were deployed at seven further train formation yards in the year under review to increase departure punctuality.
In addition, the year under review saw a plan corridor set up on the Cologne — Dortmund line as a pilot project whereby interdisciplinary teams work even more intensively to control punctuality. The model follows the successful PlanStart approach. By intensifying joint train control (between DB Netze Track and TOCs) as well as measures to support the mission to achieve zero errors in the corridor (such as through preventive replacement of large switch parts and mobile maintenance at turning points), we hope to see significant increases in punctuality in the corridor. The pilot corridor proved very successful in the year under review and further corridors will therefore be introduced in 2019.
Punctuality Management Center
In response to the decrease in punctuality, we created the Punctuality Management Center in March 2018, which is managed by the Infrastructure Board division and develops and realizes measures for the short- and long-term improvement of punctuality on an operating level across all business units. The measures of the Punctuality Management Center, which also incorporates non-Group TOCs, include activities to optimize schedules in order to stabilize punctuality, improve adherence to stop times, increase the availability of command and control technology and stabilize S-Bahn (metro) traffic.
Punctuality Competence Center at DB Regional
The Punctuality Competence Center at DB Regional has intensified its work with regional punctuality managers and with the Punctuality Management Center, which works across business units. For example, DB Regional is deploying train boarding guides at the central stations in Munich and Frankfurt am Main. After the positive impact these employees had working in the S-Bahn (metro), further boarding guides will be deployed for regional transport in Frankfurt am Main.
With a view to increasing punctuality and availability, comprehensive measures were taken for all S-Bahn (metro) systems. These include extending and renovating the infrastructure, as well as improving information provided by passenger controllers or by new display technology and renovating the appearance of stations.
As a result, the program improved the punctuality of the Berlin and Rhine-Main S-Bahn (metro) systems compared to the previous year.
Implementing the action plan for vegetation
The year under review began with the implementation of the vegetation action plan, which sought to reduce the negative impacts of increasingly extreme weather on rail operations.
In addition to continuing proven measures such as preventatively cutting back trees and bushes alongside tracks, the plan also includes thinning out vegetation. This can significantly stabilize the tree population along the tracks even beyond the trimming zone of six meters. As part of the reforestation measure, trees that have a stable height and suitable growth patterns will be planted, as will bushes and copses.
Up to 150 inspectors will join the existing workforce of over 1,000 forestry workers in order to inspect the vegetation. About € 125 million was earmarked for vegetation management in the year under review. The experience gained in the year under review resulted in further development of the concept. In the next five years, we are planning to spend about € 660 million on the care and management of the plant population.
Project capacity management
The Group capacity management project was launched in order to provide a more realistic evaluation of the medium-term effects of increasing traffic volumes and the high levels of construction on punctuality and to develop countermeasures accordingly. The initial result in the year under review was the development of a new method to extrapolate punctuality targets based on the consideration of all capacity effects. This method was already used to set targets for 2019. Capacity measures encompassing all business units were derived from the knowledge gained as a result. However, many of these measures will only take effect from 2020. This is because, among other reasons, construction-based infrastructure measures take time.
In 2019, the results obtained from the year under review will be extended to include TOCs in the form of an improved punctuality simulation.