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Notice of cancelled train: In addition to technical problems, a strike can also be responsible

Photo: Marijan Murat/ dpa

In terms of punctuality, Deutsche Bahn's record is miserable, with just 65.2 percent of all long-distance trains arriving at their destination at the scheduled time last year, according to the group. But another figure is important if you want to talk about the performance of the transport company – and it can be found in a recently published small question of the Left Party faction in the Bundestag, which was first reported by the "Stern".

According to the report, 0.8 percent of all long-distance trains – i.e. ICE, IC and EC – were cancelled last year without replacement because there were problems with the technology. If you now take into account that, according to the report, about 1600 long-distance trains are on the road in Germany every day, this adds up: More than 4000 trips did not take place in this area alone.

In addition, there were further train cancellations in regional transport, such as regional trains, suburban trains or the regional express. Here, the failure rate due to technical problems was significantly lower at just under 0.5 percent, but according to the report, there are also significantly more trains on the road here than in long-distance traffic. In total, another 37,000 train cancellations were added in this way.

Almost at a standstill in new construction and electrification

The inquiry also shows how often signal faults (17,314 reports), switch faults (34,820 reports) and technically disrupted level crossings (32,808 reports) have hindered train traffic in the past year. This means that, statistically speaking, there are more than 230 disruptions in the railway network every day. "This is a catastrophic result of decades of failed transport policy," said Left Party parliamentarian Bernd Riexinger. More than 80,000 disruptions in one year are unacceptable."

Last year, according to Deutsche Bahn, 132 million people were on the road in long-distance transport, and 1.6 billion in regional transport. The declared political goal is to double these numbers in the coming years. To this end, Deutsche Bahn is planning, among other things, an ICE half-hourly service for 20 major cities, for which it wants to purchase more trains.

However, with the expansion or upgrading of the rail network, the Small Inquiry is currently progressing very slowly. A total of 138 kilometres of new railway lines were opened throughout Germany, but this number is only so high because the ICE line between Wendlingen and Ulm was completed in Baden-Württemberg. In 13 federal states, not even one kilometer of new railway line was built last year. And nationwide, only 7.7 kilometers of existing line were put back into operation.

Electrification is progressing at a similarly slow pace. In total, only 56 kilometers were newly supplied with overhead lines. Stern calculates that it would take almost 90 years to achieve the traffic light government's goal of electrifying 75 percent of the rail network. The year 2030 is actually announced.

Editor's note: In the original version of the report, there was an incorrect figure for the cancelled long-distance journeys. We have corrected the error.