Integrated Interim Report 2019 – Germany needs a strong rail system


Political environment

Regulatory and transport policy topics

Rail Future Alliance (rail pact)

On June 5, 2018, Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer announced the launch of the Rail Future Alliance, to swiftly address the targets and measures of the Federal Government with regard to rail policy. The Rail Future Alliance, under the management of the parliamentary Secretary of State Enak Ferlemann, began its work on October 9, 2018. The contents of the Rail Future Alliance were developed and discussed within five thematic working groups: introduce Germany in sync (Deutschland-Takt), ex - pand capacities, strengthen the competitiveness of rail, reduce noise emissions, and digitalization, automation, and innovations; skilled rail worker demand. DB Group participates in all the working groups and in the steering committee. An interim report was presented at the Rail Summit on May 7, 2019 and the working groups are invited to present their top measures for an immediate action program by autumn 2019. A final report (Master Plan Rail 2020) should be available by the end of 2020 or at the latest in the spring of 2021. The intensive work of all working groups will continue.

Master plan for rail freight transport is being implemented further

The implementation of the master plan for rail freight transport will continue as per the procedure thus far in order to supplement the work of the Rail Future Alliance. The rail freight transport round table held another meeting with the key representatives of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur; BMVI) and from the sector on September 25, 2018. The implementation and associated monitoring required for all ten areas of action with the 66 measures should be continued with the highest priority. The immediate measure of train-path price support was initiated on July 1, 2018 and has a term of five years. In 2018, funding of € 175 million was available, while in 2019, € 350 million is earmarked in the Federal budget. Immediate measures to be taken also include the Federal program Future of Rail Freight Transport, which seeks to strengthen innovation in the sector. A financial contribution of € 20 million per year is planned from 2020, but is subject to budgetary consultations. The notification of the funding guidelines by the EU Commission is also pending.

National platform future of mobility

The national platform future of mobility set up by the Federal Government began work on September 26, 2018 at the inaugural Steering Committee meeting. The objective of the mode of transport-oriented platform is the development of action recommendations. Working group 1 Climate Protection in Transport has prepared an interim report entitled “How to Meet the 2030 Climate Targets in the Transport Sector.” The steering committee approved the report on March 29, 2019. The Federal Government will continue to be able to consult working group 1, an expert panel for the in-depth analysis of issues that arise, for example, within the context of the work now being initiated by the Climate Cabinet. The work being performed by the other working groups and the cooperation between them will also continue. DB Group is represented in the steering committee and climate protection working groups on transport and digitalization.

Amendment of the railway regulatory framework in Germany

The Federal Government initiated an amendment to the railway regulatory framework on March 27, 2019 in order to implement the regulatory part of the Fourth EU Railway Package. As the Railway Regulation Act was negotiated in parallel to the Fourth Railway Package, the corresponding European specifications and evaluations had already largely been taken into account when the ERegG came into force in its original form. The need for amendments in Germany is therefore comparatively low.

5G frequency auction completed

The 5G auction ended on June 12, 2019. Immediately after the auction, attention is now focused on the specific implementation of the supply requirements imposed by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur; BNetzA). The requirements are expected to improve mobile communication services for rail passengers. The mobile network operators criticized the auction conditions and have filed suit against the decision. However, the mobile network operators were unsuccessful with their previously initiated temporary injunction proceedings. The coalition parliamentary groups passed a resolution regarding the establishment of a mobile radio infrastructure company (Mobilfunkinfrastrukturgesellschaften; MIG) to cover mobile service white spots on June 14, and it is still unclear what impact this will have on the fulfillment of the coverage requirements.

Europe-wide redefinition of the railway radio system by the end of 2020

In addition to the coverage of the railways by the mobile network operators, which is essential for the connectivity of railway customers, sufficient frequency equipment for railways is a key issue, as the current frequency allocations for railways throughout Europe are due to expire at the end of 2033. Working groups of the European Commission are currently preparing the technical and regulatory parameters for the reallocation of rail radio spectrum in Europe through a mandate from the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT). Sufficient frequency equipment is essential for the planned digitalization of rail operations in order to be able to carry out future applications such as Automated Train Operation (ATO). Through the member states represented in the CEPT, TOCs will have the opportunity to compile their own studies on the planned spectrum use to justify their own spectrum needs and usage until the end of 2019.

Mobility Package I: Ongoing political negotiations regarding competition and social standards in European road freight transport

Mobility Package I, which was presented on May 17, 2018, contains, among other legislative proposals, an initiative for the comprehensive revision of the competitive and social policy standards for European road freight transport. With regard to the relevant political negotiations in the European institutions, issues relating to labor and social standards and market access in particular lead to conflict between Western and Eastern European member states. Nevertheless, the Council, representing the European Member States, agreed on a position on December 3, 2018. The Members of the European Parliament also agreed on a common position on April 4, 2019: the parliamentarians have called, among other things, for the extension of the regulation to include light commercial vehicles. The European Parliament also wants to replace the existing restriction on the number of cabotage journeys with a period of three days and allow an unlimited number of journeys. The members also agreed on the driver’s obligation to return to the member state at least every four weeks. Nights in the cab should be prohibited.

These positions taken by the Council and Parliament have set the course for the final negotiations with the European Commission

Proposals for a multi-year EU financial framework

The Commission proposed a budget of € 1,279 billion for the new EU budget (MFF) for 2021 to 2027 on May 2, 2018. Investments in trans-European transport, digital and energy networks are expected to increase the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to € 42.3 billion, of which some € 31 billion will go to investment in transport networks. In the current financial framework, the budget for transport networks is around € 24 billion. This increase is due to a separate budget of € 6.5 billion for civil and military dual-use transport networks.

The European Parliament pushed for additional funding for the transport networks of € 7 billion in November 2018. The Council of the European Union has not yet taken a position on this. As the discussions about the CEF budget are embedded in the negotiations on the overall EU financial framework, no results are expected before the beginning of 2020.