More than 430 operators are currently operating 40,000 services a day across the country’s 33,400km-long network, with usage growing.

To request a path, operators and public transport authorities were required to submit a binding statement on what days, at what time and on which route they want to operate.

Over the next few weeks, DB Network will develop 140 schedules to find suitable paths for each request and create the timetable. DB says the process follows clear rules and is closely monitored by the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA.

“We are pleased about the high number of registered requests,” says Dr Thomas Schaffer, DB Network board member sales and timetable. “This is a sign that environmentally-friendly rail is increasingly in demand.”