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Rail passengers in Nuremberg: Numerous sleepers have to be replaced during ongoing operations

Photo: Daniel Karmann / dpa

Construction sites are causing problems for Deutsche Bahn: The punctuality of the state-owned group is decreasing again. In May, Deutsche Bahn's long-distance trains reached 65.5 percent of their stops on time – the ICE and IC trains have never been so unpunctual this year.

Compared to the previous month, the value fell by a good five percentage points, as the railway announced. The goal of a punctuality rate of well over 70 percent is therefore a long way off. In the summer of 2022, the figure was even lower, with just 58 percent of long-distance trains reaching their destination on time in June last year.

For the statistics, a train is punctual as long as it does not arrive at a station with a delay of more than six minutes. Train cancellations or missed connecting trains are not taken into account – accordingly, warning strikes with train cancellations are not reflected in the statistics.

"Last month alone, DB had to replace around 50,000 sleepers in the rail network as part of the special inspection program."

New negotiations planned between Deutsche Bahn and EVG

In order to improve punctuality in the long term, among other things, Deutsche Bahn is planning comprehensive general renovations of important routes from July 2024. This is intended to create a more reliable infrastructure. In regional transport, 92.5 percent of trains reached their destination on time in May – compared to 93.3 percent in the previous month. There are far more trains on the road in regional transport than in long-distance transport.

Meanwhile, the wage dispute between Deutsche Bahn and the EVG union continues. Representatives of both sides want to meet in a small circle in the coming days and explore possible solutions to the collective bargaining conflict. Both sides did not want to name the exact time and meeting point, but there will be no warning strikes before the planned meeting.

The EDC had already announced a few days ago that it would not call for work stoppages next weekend. Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of the ICE accident in Eschede – and the union does not want to deprive members and railway workers of the opportunity to travel to the commemoration.

In the past few days, it seemed as if the collective bargaining parties had completely caught up in their negotiations. Now, a EDC communication states: "We certainly see opportunities to find a basis for constructive negotiations. Let's talk about that in peace."

The railway accepted the offer for a conversation of the negotiating leaders on Thursday evening. A spokeswoman said: "We hope that this conversation will lead to the EDC pointing out possible compromises on its part, which will finally lead to a collective agreement."