Greeting words by the Federal Minister for Digital and Transport
Track to the future – what a fitting title for the 28th International Exhibition for Track Technology. For more than 180 years now, the railways have been a guarantor of mobility for people and businesses. At the same time, they are THE means of transport for the future.
For example, rail is essential to achieving our ambitious climate change targets in the transport sector. We want to significantly increase both passenger transport figures and rail freight transport shares by the end of this decade. However, we can only achieve this if we constantly modernise and make the rail system more attractive.
That is why we will be investing massively in the coming years and creating modern, efficient infrastructure. We will build tracks and points, electrify lines, modernise railway stations and finance new sidings. And so that new projects can start and be completed as quickly as possible, we are ensuring that planning and approval processes are accelerated.
Digitalisation is helping us with all of this. It is the key to greater progress – in all areas. One of the most important innovations in the rail sector is the digital automatic coupling. It makes the coupling of freight trains much faster and is thus a crucial element in making the railways more competitive compared to roads. Thanks to it, processes are optimised and capacities are increased. We also expect this from the universal introduction of digital signal boxes and ETCS, the new European standard in control and signalling technology. With this digital support, we could achieve an additional capacity of up to 20% in passenger and freight transport.
These examples alone show that a great deal has happened in the railway construction sector in recent years. I am therefore particularly pleased that the International Exhibition for Track Technology is finally taking place again after five years and that innovative machines, vehicles and construction technologies can be experienced live and up close. In the Halle Münsterland, visitors can see already today what options the railways of tomorrow will provide. I wish all exhibitors and guests a great deal of fun, good personal exchanges and a successful exhibition!
Dr Volker Wissing (Member of the German Bundestag)
Federal Minister for Digital and Transport