Germany’s Deutsche Bahn has launched the first comprehensive infrastructure programme under its new DB InfraGO company, outlining a €16.4bn ($17.6bn) plan to ‘stop the ageing’ of the country’s rail infrastructure. 

The 2024 programme covers the expansion, modernisation, and renewal of more than 2,000km of track, 2,000 switches, 150 bridges, and 1,000 stations as DB seeks to renovate its network “from the ground up” after combining its infrastructure and station management companies into one. 

Dr Philipp Nagel, CEO of DB InfraGo, described the new ‘common good-oriented’ company as “faster, more efficient and more powerful”, he said: “For us, orientation towards the common good means that people and the economy in Germany should feel rapid and sustainable improvements in the rail network. 

“To this end, we are renovating many sections throughout Germany – on main routes and in the regional network. In 2024, for the first time in many years, we will succeed in stopping the ageing of the railway infrastructure.” 

The infrastructure plan, part of the DB Group’s Strong Rail strategy, is backed by funding from DB, the federal government, and state governments. It will begin the national rail operator’s general renovations of its rail network, dividing the work across 40 corridors. 

General renovations carried out by the company will be informed by its new strategy of completely closing a route to carry out all works in a period of a few months, instead of the traditional method of shorter, more frequent closures of a route to carry out works over a longer period with less immediate disruption. 

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With the first of these general renovations set to begin on the Riedbahn between Frankfurt/Main and Mannheim in July, DB has said its initial tests have given it confidence the work will be completed in the five-month timeframe it has set, but some industry figures have expressed concern about the potential for closures and costs to spiral. 

In addition to the general renovations, DB InfraGO’s plan includes the installation of more digital signal boxes ahead of the official opening of the country’s first digital signal box on a main line in Donauwörth later this year. 

The company will also be improving the service facilities at the end of lines in 145 locations, improving barrier-free access to its smaller and medium-sized stations, and renewing infrastructure on certain diversion routes ahead of other general renovation closures.