Report of the year 2017 to our European partners in EPF

The report is made to European Passengers Federation (EPF), and has a special focus upon public railway services.

Positive points for public transport in our country: 

Light rail line opened before Christmas in Aarhus (second largest town) after delays due to bad communication between authorities in the ministry and the operator. Two more lines (under re-construction) are delayed. With the Aarhus line, light rails (or modern trams) are again in Denmark. Next will be in Odense, and later a ring line in the outskirts of Copenhagen.

Travel card is now country-wide. The “rejsekortet” is now operational with public transport all over the country. With one card you can travel wherever you want.

New rolling stock to DSB is in the pipeline. It will be 200 km/h electrical trainsets to service domestic lines, replacing the diesel IC3. E-locomotives to serve regional traffic around Copenhagen and trains to/from Germany will be ordered in 2018, and will open up also for other operators to buy locomotives approved with new signal system.

Copenhagen Ring-metro is in good pace, and is still expected to open in 2019. Bus lines will be reduced and hereby the metro extension is not only good news to passengers.

There is still a narrow majority in Parliament outside the government to finance other improvements on the rail network. A couple of investments (most important West-Funen new build line) are decided.

Negative points for public transport in our country: 

Government still in favour of cars, trucks and airplanes. We have with Ole Birk Olsen one of the worst ministers (ultra-liberal) the public transport sector could ever have. Reduced taxes on cars, cheaper toll across the Storebælts Bridge to cars, low fuel prices makes car ridership flourish.

Strategic report about the future railway management is focussing on how to save public spending and how to privatize. No focus on how to improve ridership or quality.

IC4-trains will never take any important role in Danish railways. The Ansaldo Breda trains are too unreliable. The small version IC2 abandoned (and some sold to Bulgaria).

Signal program ERTMS is delayed, serious problems with build-in equipment in IC3 trains. Electrification of main lines will have to “overtake” the signals, which will increase costs. Stupid money to spend.

Denmark-Germany. German ICE-TD trains are out of service to/from Denmark from October 2017. Sad, but Danish IC3 diesel trainsets can do the job in the meantime. Waiting for a 10-year plan from DSB-DB of rail services between the two countries to come after a joined meeting 19.1.2018. The direct Copenhagen-Hamburg link is suffering from closures (major work in Denmark Summer 2019 and 2021). And German line is closed for construction 2021-2028, until the Fehmarn tunnel is supposed to open.

Long distance domestic coaches play a more important role, and take passengers from rail. Even domestic airlines have lost passengers to coaches.