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Chairman's letter

Dr. Richard Lutz
CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn AG

Dear readers,

The world is in an extraordinary state. Russia’s war of assault on Ukraine continues. Inflation is also reaching record levels and energy costs are skyrocketing. The Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, either. But, despite all the uncertainties, there is one real positive for Deutsche Bahn. We are seeing a stable trend toward rail as an environmentally friendly mode of transport.

Never before in the history of long-distance transport have May and June been so busy in terms of travel. The 9-Euro-Ticket continued to encourage the surge towards the railway. Our regional and local public transport welcomed ten percent more passengers in June than in pre-Covid-19 times. Freight transport performance also increased slightly.

This shows that it was right to maintain our course during Covid-19, to position ourselves for further growth with new trains, better offers and more staff. Shifting more traffic to environmentally friendly rail lies at the heart of our Strong Rail strategy and guides our actions. We have hired about 90,000 new employees since 2019. With more than 360 trains, our ICE fleet will be larger and more modern than ever before by the end of the year.

We are grateful for the trust our customers place in us. Strong demand has also caused the economic trend to reverse. In the first half of 2022, we once again posted positive figures, and we expect this to continue for 2022 as a whole. DB Schenker is performing excellently and making a key contribution to profits. DB Long-Distance has more than doubled its revenues compared to the first half of 2021. DB Cargo’s revenues are more than five percent higher than in the first half of 2021, but is feeling the effects of the tense overall economic situation.

Part of the truth is also that the high demand and an increasing number of trains are encountering an overburdened infrastructure that continues to be restricted by construction activity – some parts of which are outdated and susceptible to disruption. This is currently leading to quality and reliability problems which are having a massive impact on our customers and all the train operating companies.

The German rail network is already at its limits, and is not equipped to handle future growth. That is why we are switching to a radical new approach for the renovation of our infrastructure. Together with the Federal Government and the industry as a whole, we are transforming the heavily used network into a high-­performance network. We are tackling head on all of the elements that are essential to a high-performance network and which can be implemented immediately. We have significantly increased the funding for preventive maintenance and will implement as many measures in the rail network as day-to-day operations permit.

In 2023, we will upgrade the diversion routes necessary for the construction work. In 2024, we will start the general renovation of the first corridor. In doing so, we will bundle all construction measures, replace facilities ahead of schedule and build as customer-friendly as possible. The result is a robust and high-performance network with space for even more trains, which is also free of construction on the renovated corridors for many years and has a positive effect on capacity and quality in the overall network.

Record levels of construction whilst still satisfying growing demand cannot be achieved without causing restrictions for our customers and transport companies. This will also be reflected in the punctuality. For this reason, during the years of renovation and modernization work, we will do everything we can to ensure customers are as satisfied as possible, by providing timely information, implementing replacement plans, securing connections even during construction work and ensuring a reliable service.

The focus in the coming years must be on making infrastructure an anchor of stability for the quality and reliability of the rail system.

Major challenges lie ahead of us. To this end, we have also restructured the Management Board team: Berthold Huber as Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure, Evelyn Palla as Member of the Management Board for Regional Transport and Dr. Michael Peterson as Member of the Management Board for Long-Distance Passenger Transport. I will end with the most important thank you. Our employees give their absolute best for our customers every day. They deserve the greatest recognition, especially given the current operating situation.

As Team DB, and working closely with the Federal Government and industry, we are making the rail network fit for growth and for the shift in the mode of transport. It is only with a strong rail that Germany and Europe can achieve their climate goals.


Richard Lutz

Dr. Richard Lutz
CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn AG

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