Press release | 12 October 2021 | wrt

Will Railways Be On Board for the Future?

Expert interview: A look at the state of rail transport in Germany from a scientific perspective

In light of the many reports about Deutsche Bahn resulting from the recent strikes, now is perhaps a good time to take an overall look at what is the most environmentally friendly form of transport. In theory, up to 80,000 passengers can travel on Germany’s rail system every hour in each direction with a freight train departing somewhere every five minutes. Despite this, the railway’s market share remains shockingly low – just eight percent of passenger kilometers and 17 percent of ton-kilometers for freight transport. Why is this and what needs to happen to change the situation?

Rail expert Professor Dr.-Ing. Markus Hecht discusses these issues in a major interview for TU Berlin. Throughout his 24 years as head of the Chair of Rail Vehicles at TU Berlin’s Institute of Land and Sea Transport Systems, he has witnessed the many highs and lows of German rail transport.Professor Hecht would also be happy to discuss any of the topics discussed in the interview with members of the press and media. The main topics covered include:

  • Why only 61 percent of line kilometers in Germany are electrified with India set to have electrified its entire system by 2023
  • How a lack of incentives means that essential passing lanes are not being constructed on single-track lines
  • Why management prefer to cancel trains when there are problems rather than operate them with delays
  • The problems caused by the fact that all platforms in Europe are 55 centimeters except in Germany
  • Why Stuttgart21 is bad for the Deutschlandtakt program to increase the frequency of trains and improve connections in Germany
  • Why Switzerland has just five interlockings for the entire country and Germany has 500 which communicate poorly with each other

The interview is available here.


Markus Hecht

Head of the department

+49 30 314 25150

Organization name Railway vehicles
Consultationby arrangement by phone or e-mail