December 6, 2018 / 11:54 AM / 11 days ago

German rail operator thinks it needs additional 7.3 billion euros for network

A long exposure shows a regional train of German railway Deutsche Bahn AG leaves the train station in Hanau, Germany, November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German rail operator Deutsche Bahn will need around an additional 7.3 billion euros ($8.3 billion) in coming years to maintain and improve its network, internal planning documents seen by Reuters on Thursday showed.

The operator estimated it will need to ask the government to make this extra investment available up to 2023 to keep the 33,000 kilometre grid in shape, the documents showed.

It comes on top of nearly 28 billion euros government investment already earmarked to be spent on the network between 2019 and 2023.

Requirements would become especially urgent after 2020, “in order to combat further aging and to ensure the investment backlog does not grow further,” it said.

The network is key to a drive by the Bahn to reduce delays and cancellations to improve customer satisfaction and help draw transport volumes away from other sectors to rail, in order to cut harmful emissions from fuel burning.

A spokesman for the Bahn declined to comment on the figures.

The state has to bear transport infrastructure costs, but demands assurances that the network operator will make optimal and transparent use of the funds to actually achieve the promised improvements.

Reporting by Markus Wacket, writing by Vera Eckert, editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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