GERMANY’s Federal Transport Agency (BNetzA) approved on March 22 the track access charges for 2025 proposed by infrastructure manager DB InfraGo.

Charges for long-distance passenger trains will rise by 17.7%, while those for freight trains will go up by 16.2%. There will also be a slight increase in charges for local passenger trains of 0.6%. Overall, track access charges will rise by 6%.

DB InfraGo says that the BNetzA has made several adjustments to the charges originally proposed in January. These include consideration that higher sales per route-km can be achieved by freight trains, resulting in increased capacity for this type of traffic. At the same time, the yield (sales/passenger-km) for long-distance trains was harmonised to guarantee comparability with freight trains.

As a result, track access charges for freight trains increased by 2.8 percentage points, rising from 13.4% 16.2%. Charges for long-distance passenger trains were reduced by 1.7 percentage points, falling from to 19.4% to 17.7%.

Rail industry bodies greeted news of the increases with dismay. The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) is calling on the federal government to step in to meet some or all of the price increases.

“The significantly increased track access charges are putting a particularly economically risky burden on commercial rail freight and long-distance passenger railways,” says Mr Joachim Berends, vice president of VDV. “A number of railway companies will be brought to the brink of their economic existence, especially since the economic environment for rail transport is already extremely difficult.”