BFederal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) have named the 100th ICE 4 of Deutsche Bahn Rhineland-Palatinate. The trains in this series consumed around 22 percent less energy per seat than the trains in the first series, said “godfather” Wissing on Monday at the ceremony in Mainz Central Station.
According to Bahn, the ICE 4 in XXL format with 13 car parts is 374 meters long, reaches a speed of 265 kilometers per hour and offers 918 seats. The new flagship of the ICE fleet stands for “innovative and sustainable travel,” said Wissing. The success of the 9-euro ticket has generally drawn new attention to the means of transport by train.
Shortly before the start of the celebration, a small group of environmental activists presented Wissing with an oversized 9-euro ticket made out to him. With the action, the campaign network Campact called on the minister to continue the discounted public transport offer. Wissing reacted calmly and accepted the ticket with a smile: “It was my idea to introduce it,” he told the demonstrators. It must be clarified how a successor solution can be financed.
The second Palatinate at the train christening next to Wissing was railway manager Richard Lutz. The train is currently experiencing a boom in demand, and not just because of the 9-euro ticket, said the Landau native and repeatedly referred to the climate-friendliness of traveling by train. Dreyer supported Wissing’s demand for nationwide simplification of public transport tariffs. This was also “the great charm” of the 9-euro ticket, said the godmother of the new ICE. It would be desirable if there were a successor model.
“In the next few weeks we want to get better!”
However, the high demand for the 9-euro ticket has also caused displeasure among passengers in recent weeks. Numerous delays, overcrowded trains and canceled connections were a problem across Germany, especially at weekends. The chairman of the train drivers’ union GDL, Claus Weselsky, spoke of a chaos this summer that he had never experienced on the railways. “This is the absolute worst case scenario,” Weselsky told the newspaper “Welt am Sonntag”.
With regard to the delays at the end of June, Bahn boss Lutz had said that the train would try to transport as many passengers as possible on the congested rail network. According to the company, only 58 percent of long-distance trains reached their destination on time in June, and 88.5 percent of regional trains.
According to Lutz, the delays are neither due to too few staff nor to insufficient investment in the trains. Rather, the rail boss justifies this on Monday evening in the “heute journal” with an overloaded rail infrastructure. This was “undersized and underfunded for years and decades” and therefore “outdated and not good”. “The design of a high-performance network is a step in the right direction,” says Deutsche Bahn boss Richard Lutz, although he called for more efficiency in construction. To maintain the network, investments have been increased by a three-digit million amount.