Gloomy forecasts for the railway - 20 years until the rail is fit 20/07/22

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Gloomy forecasts for the railway20 years until the rail is fit

Disillusionment at the VSL general meeting: None of the speakers sees the railways in a position to improve their performance in the short term. How the Green Minister of Transport, Hermann, sees things.Disillusionment at the VSL general meeting: None of the speakers sees the railways in a position to improve their performance in the short term. How the Green Minister of Transport, Hermann, sees things.

The forecasts for rail freight transport are anything but rosy. Even loyal supporters of the railway are under no illusions as far as the actually planned strengthening of the mode of transport is concerned. "Rail is worse than ever," said Baden-Württemberg's Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) at the general meeting of the Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics Baden-Württemberg (VSL) on Tuesday in Esslingen.

Hermann: No track can be reactivated in two years

The Minister of Transport attributes this to years of underfunding of the mode of transport. In Hermann's opinion, politics and the industry now need staying power: "Any idea that we can reactivate rail within two years is completely wrong," he explained at the event, which took place on his 70th birthday. "We need at least 20 years to make rail freight transport as efficient as we need it to be."

Hermann therefore broke a lance again for the overhead line truck. Expanding the rail infrastructure is a long-term and expensive undertaking. "We have the autobahn," he said, and campaigned for electrification - especially on those sections that are overloaded and for which there are no suitable rail options - such as the A6 from Heilbronn via Nuremberg to Prague, which is prone to congestion. The Greens politician also admitted that there had been little progress over the past ten years with the planned construction of combi-terminals. A project near Eutingen failed due to a citizens' initiative, and another in Horb-Heiligenfeld is now being planned. "We need more decentralized terminals," said Hermann and hopes "that something is still possible in Reutlingen." Michael Theurer (FDP), Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport (BMDV) and since January 12 the Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport, sees considerable challenges for the mode of transport. The issues haunted him until he slept, he said. "But what I don't like is that people are still making fun of the railways," he said, not wanting to sugarcoat things either: "The infrastructure isn't good." Theurer relies on extensive modernization towards a high-performance network, more Power through the planned new infrastructure company and significantly faster planning. With a view to the federal government's goal of increasing the share of rail freight transport to 25 percent by 2030, he said: "This goal is very ambitious."

Huster no longer believes in a 25 percent rail share

Frank Huster, General Manager of the German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV), sees the chances of this dwindling. "We don't believe in it anymore," he said, although of course he would like to achieve the goal. "The railways are in such a bad position that we don't even know how we're going to pull the cart out of the mud." they agree to break the closed loop of financing. In other words, according to the association, income from the road no longer necessarily has to flow 100 percent back into the road, but could also benefit the rails in the sense of a traffic shift. Because one thing is certain for Huster: The newly elected VSL President Dr. Michael Lege. "The network is a total failure," said the head of the logistics service provider Wiedmann & Winz from Geislingen an der Steige. But he feels no glee. Because the train is urgently needed. "We need them to drive the traffic turnaround," he said. "We want more goods on the train" - and the VSL is also expressly committed to climate protection. Currently, however, the experience is that shippers contacted his company and asked for freight space on the road because they wanted to turn their backs on rail.