The Bild newspaper reported on November 11 that the figure is included in a 200-page strategy blueprint drawn up by DB’s executive board which is due to be discussed by DB’s supervisory board at a special meeting on November 22-23.

Transport minister, Mr Andreas Scheuer, told Bild that any funding would need to come with strong conditions to improve services.

“The board meeting will be a very intense meeting to discuss strategy and I want any agreements reached to yield significant improvements for passengers by spring of 2019,” Scheuer said.

The report comes at difficult time for DB, as the national operator and infrastructure manager grapples with mounting financial difficulties. In early September DB CEO, Dr Richard Lutz, warned management across DB that the group was facing serious financial problems which has led to a freeze on much of the railway’s non-operational spending.

In 2017, total DB debt stood at €18.6bn, and the recent announcement of a further order for ICE4 high-speed trains will add around €1bn to this.