Of this, two-thirds will be for infrastructure projects and the rest for motive power and rolling stock, and measures to improve service quality.

Infrastructure investment totals €3.5bn a year and is financed by the government, while DB will fund other projects from its own resources, with priority going to new regional trains and ICx.

Grube says he is optimistic about this year and forecasts growth in Germany of 1%.

DB anticipates a record profit of €2.75bn for 2012, and plans to hire an additional 10,000 staff by the end of 2013.

Meanwhile the German government has allocated DB €100m from its infrastructure acceleration programme to modernise 130 stations.