The German government is to substantially discount track access charges to stimulate the country’s rail freight sector.
Presenting a master plan for the industry on June 23, Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt, said a €350 million relief fund would be included in the 2018 budget to effectively halve track access charges for operators.
In May, railway associations called on the German government to halve track access charges in order to make the sector more competitive with road freight.
The German Railway Industry Association (VDB) said [in German] the announcement was “a major step towards an ecologically and economically sustainable” freight industry.
Cutting operating costs, the government has said, will allow companies to invest more into innovation.
The master plan sets out how infrastructure improvements are being carried out to support 740-metre trains and the investment going into the digitalisation of the industry.
This summer, a digital system pilot will be tested at a marshalling yard in Munich, which will include automated shunting.