PLANS to privatise all or part of Deutsche Bahn AG are once again in disarray as politicians argue over the formula for introducing the railway to the market.The difficulty of agreeing a compromise over state ownership of the 34?211 km network appears to be the main reason why Transport Secretary Wolfgang Tiefensee missed the end of March deadline for completing draft legislation, but even the plan he produced quickly ran into trouble.Ministers had until May 4 to comment on the proposals, but by then it was quite clear that they would not pass muster. Among the strongest critics was Economics Minister Michael Glos, who warned that the draft contained ’considerable risks’ in terms of competition it was also wanting in terms of constitutional and financial law. Nor was the Interior Ministry satisfied with the proposals, while members of parliament lined up to air their criticism. Many appeared to have been influenced by the national audit office report which suggested that DB had underspent on maintenance of the network (RG 4.07 p194).Further delay is now inevitable, and the government’s aim of completing the sell-off in 2008 so that it is out of the way before the next election in 2009 is now in jeopardy.Fuel was added to the fire at the end of April when the Monopolies Commiss-ion published its first bi-annual report on competition in the rail sector. This found that existing legislation was inadequate to ensure fair on-rail competition, arguing strongly in favour of a complete separation of operations and infrastructure.The commission also considered that low-cost airlines were a smaller threat to the rail business than DB AG contended, and it proposed that long-distance rail passenger services should no longer be protected from bus and coach competition.n