Are the railway lines electrified?

Rail electrification is making slow progress

Almost 13,000 kilometers of railway lines in Germany have not yet been electrified, trains can run on 61 percent of the network, according to a response from the federal government to a request from the FDP parliamentary group, which the dpa has received. Diesel locomotives often run on the remaining routes.

The government's goal is an electrification level of 70 percent by 2025. However, there has not been any major progress recently: 60 kilometers of existing lines were electrified last year. The much-touted electric future of the railways is still a long way off, criticized FDP railroad politician Christian Jung.

The railway wants to become climate neutral by 2050. In 2038 the trains should run 100 percent with green electricity - today it is 60 percent.

On many routes, however, there is no overhead line. While the city-states achieve high electrification rates of well over 90 percent in some cases, the area is often much less. In Schleswig-Holstein, trains can only access a power line on 33 percent of the routes, compared to 85 percent in Saarland, the area with the highest quota.

Germany above average

Germany is above the European average, emphasized the Federal Government's Railway Commissioner, Enak Ferlemann. In addition, it must be taken into account how many trains are actually running on the respective route. "At the moment, over 90 percent of the traffic volume is already provided in electric traction."

However, the level of electrification was already 57 percent in 2005, four percentage points less than today, according to data from the rail lobby association Allianz pro Schiene. He demands that the lines be equipped with the so-called contact wire much faster.

FDP politician Jung also points to alternatives: trains with diesel-electric hybrid, fuel cell hybrid or catenary battery hybrid systems. You can also drive where there is no power line - with lower pollutant emissions than conventional diesel locomotives. According to Ferlemann, the railway does not have such trains.


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