Welcoming of the patron

Alexander Dobrindt MdB

German Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure


of the 27th International Exhibition for Track Technology (iaf)

Photo: Federal Government/ Kugler


Dear Sir or Madam,


the success story of Germany is inextricably linked to railways.
More than 180 years ago they set the course for our rise to a leading industrial nation. 60 years ago they were an enabler for the economic miracle and our export strength. 25 years ago it united our country and became a symbol for borderless freedom. Today we are the leading European railway country with one of the densest railway networks, with thousands of stations in our cities and regions and with some 3 billion passengers every year.


This success story also and most notably bears the mark of the enterprises and research institutions in the field of track technology. With their products and innovations they have time and again strengthened the productivity of our railway infrastructure – and aligned it to cope with the future growth of traffic.

What matters now is to perpetuate this success story.

Our traffic forecast shows that there will be an enormous growth for rail transportation with a
43 percent increase in freight volumes by 2030. This means that rail traffic will grow faster than any other transport mode. This is in line with our objective of shifting even more traffic from road to rail. We intend to retrieve this growth and give the railway system a vigorous upgrade for the globally digital age – with three points:


1) We invest. Our budget for 2017 includes for the first time more than 5 billion Euro for railways. This is an absolute record and represents roughly 40 percent of our total investment in the transport infrastructure. We furthermore increase the regionalisation funds that are earmarked for regional traffic tasks of the federal states where we will spend a total of 150 billion Euro over the next 15 years – more money than ever before.


2) We modernise. With our “silent rail” strategy we create a wide acceptance for growth in railway transportation and will achieve more mobility with less noise. We invest a total of about 1 billion Euro in noise protection measures. This supports among others the conversion of freight wagons with whisper brakes, trials with new noise protection technologies and the procurement of extremely quiet freight wagons. At the same time we will prohibit noisy freight wagons by 2020.


3) We digitalise. We are making sure that even more trains and stations offer a free WLAN access and we have agreed upon a free internet access in the second class of all ICE trains to be provided by the end of the year by Deutsche Bahn. Furthermore we invest 75 million Euro in the development of digital applications to increase the capacity of freight traffic and support data based ideas.


It is my conviction that with the great innovative power of the track technology industry and with our track upgrade program we are preparing the railways for the future traffic growth – and we are jointly writing a further chapter of the success story of our country.


This will already be experienced at close quarters at the 27th International Exhibition for Track Technology, the worldwide biggest trade fair for permanent way building technology. I wish all exhibitors and guests every success, a profitable exchange and exciting inspirations.


Alexander Dobrindt, Member of the German Bundestag
and Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure