Development of infrastructure
In the year under review, more than € 10 billion was expended on the expansion, modernization and maintenance of the rail network, stations and power systems. Across Germany, 12 new construction initiatives were launched in major projects, with construction starting on 23 projects. Eighteen new construction and expansion lines were put into operation. Bundling in over 100 corridors and a professional construction management are indispensable for the large number of construction sites – up to 800 a day at peak times. By pooling the construction sites, we can minimize the impacts on normal operation. In addition, construction-related delays (delays that could be directly attributed to a construction site) were successfully reduced by 10%, despite a further increase in construction volume due to the construction of the management center that began in the previous year. Construction works in the year under review are summarized in the Contruction Project Map.
Additional information can be found in our Construction Information Portal.
- After more than three years of construction, the new electronic interlocking for the more than 6 km long tunnel main line of the Rhein-Main S-Bahn (metro) under the center of Frankfurt came into operation on August 6, 2018. This replaced the 40-year-old interlocking for the City Tunnel. In total, more than € 100 million was invested in new technology on one of the most-used lines in Germany.
- After about four years of construction, trains began operating in the new Pforzheimer Tunnel on September 10, 2018. This brought one of the largest measures of the modernization and capital expenditure program in the existing Baden-Württemberg network into use on time. About € 100 million in total was invested in the construction of the 909 m two-track tunnel.
- Commissioning of the line between Knappenrode and the German/Polish border took place in December 2018. Following the commissioning and after the timetable change, it began to be used for regional rail passenger transport and freight trains transitioning to the Polish overhead wire network.
- The new train formation yard in Halle (Saale) came into operation on June 29, 2018 as planned, after four and a half years of construction. On the site of the former Halle freight train station, one of the most up-to-date facilities in Europe has emerged. The Federal Government and DB Group invested a total of about € 180 million.
- With the commissioning of the Neufahrn electronic interlocking, the last major milestone in the overall commissioning of the Neufahrn Curve was reached at the end of July 2018, after about four years of construction. The commissioning took place as part of the timetable change in December 2018.
Progress on the Stuttgart — Ulm project
Construction work on the Stuttgart 21 sub-project continued to progress in the year under review:
- In the construction of the future Stuttgart central station, the first chalice pillar, a so-called “Restkelch” (supporting chalice) and a total of six chalice feet have been concreted, while work has begun on the station’s floor panel.
- In the Filder Tunnel, the fourth and final tunnel drive of the tunnel boring machine has been started. Tunnel boring at the northern end is complete, and all relevant anhydrite lenses in Cannstatt and Feuerbach tunnels have been successfully dealt with without any noteworthy issues.
- Concreting of the northern end, the connection between the Feuerbach and Bad Cannstatt tunnels and the future central station, has begun.
- The Neckar Bridge reached the eastern bank in May 2018.
- In June 2018, the fourth and final tunnel tube successfully crossed underneath the Neckar.
- About 43 km, representing more than two-thirds of the tunnels required for Stuttgart 21, have been drilled and excavated.
- Following the submission of an appeal to the Higher Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof), the decision to reinstate the immediate enforceability of plan approval section 1.3a in the airport sector was suspended in December 2018; the Court has not yet issued the grounds for its ruling.
In the Wendlingen — Ulm new construction line sub-project, the tunnel boring machine also broke through the second tube of the 8,806 meter long Boßler tunnel above the Fils Valley in June 2018. In terms of the last major tunnel, the Albvorland tunnel, the two tunnel boring machines have each completed about 5.5 km of their more than 8 km long tunnel respectively. Restoration of the landscape along the line on the Alb plateau is underway. There, the skeleton of the new construction line is almost fully complete. In December 2018, the first track sections were handed over to railway technology/superstructure. On the Fistal bridge, the concreting of the bridge superstructure is ongoing; many pillars are already finished.
Expansion of the Cologne hub
The highly-frequented Cologne hub is to be expanded through a total of 15 infrastructure measures. The construction projects to expand the S13 from Troisdorf to Bonn-Oberkassel are proceeding as scheduled insofar as possible, including the first bridge construction works. The S11 project core package, including the planned expansion projects between Cologne central station and Bergisch Gladbach, is currently in the pre-planning phase; the planning agreement for the provision of the planning services for performance phases 3/4 (draft and approval planning) is currently in negotiation with the grant authorities. The southern Gummersbach Street expansion project is approaching the end of draft and approval planning. In expansion line project 4 Cologne—Aachen, works in plan approval section 1 Eschweiler station are in the execution phase and in plan approval section 2 Aachen-Rothe Erde, building services are currently being tendered.
Construction of new S-Bahn (metro) line from Hamburg to Bad Oldesloe
The expansion of the S4 S-Bahn (metro) line will help to strengthen local transport between Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein and to improve the quality of long-distance and freight transport. The building permit procedures for all three plan approval sections are ongoing. The first public hearing for plan approval section 1 took place in April 2018; the documents for sections 2 and 3 are scheduled to go on display in 2019. The relevant decisions are expected in writing in 2019 and 2020. We are working towards a total completion before the commissioning of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link (2028). The financing for the entire project is currently being agreed amongst the states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, DB Netz AG and the BMVI.
Frankfurt hub expansion
The Frankfurt am Main hub is one of the most heavily frequented in our network. To ensure rail transport is made fit for the future, we are undertaking measures to rebuild the area around the Frankfurt Stadion station, building two tracks on the Homburg Damm, connecting Gateway Gardens to the S-Bahn (metro) network, expanding the S6 S-Bahn (metro) line in the direction of Friedberg and building an S-Bahn (metro) line on the northern side of the Main river. Work on the crossing at the Homburger Damm has commenced. Along the S6, work is ongoing to expand the line between Frankfurt West and Bad Vilbel to four tracks.
Tunnel boring measures in the Gateway Gardens project have advanced a great deal; excavation underneath Federal motorway 5 has started. Underground construction work on the open lines is proceeding as scheduled. Work to expand the interior of the tunnel by all the relevant experts will begin in April 2019 as scheduled.
Progress in the Emmerich — Oberhausen expansion line
Construction work on expansion line project 46/2 Emmerich — Oberhausen is progressing on schedule. With the final public hearing having taken place in November 2018 for plan approval section 3.5 Emmerich—Elten, all the plan approval sections have been discussed in public hearings. The plan approval decision on plan approval section 1.1 Oberhausen was communicated in 2015. The subsequent appeal by the town of Oberhausen for additional noise protection on plan approval section 1.1 Oberhausen was rejected by the Federal Administrative Court on December 13, 2018. The second plan approval decision on plan approval section 3.1 Rees—Haldern was delivered to DB Netz AG on December 21, 2018, but will only be published in 2019. Building permits for further plan approval sections are expected to be issued before the end of 2019.
Developments in the Breisgau S-Bahn (metro)
The overall commissioning of the expansion of the western Höllental Railway between Freiburg and Titisee took place in December 2018. Actions undertaken as part of the project included making stations fully accessible, refurbishing or rebuilding level crossings and passenger underpasses, renovating tracks and overhead wires section by section and building new interlockings.
On the eastern Höllental Railway between Neustadt and Donaueschingen, works have been continuing as scheduled since July 1, 2018. Since mid-September 2018, clearing works have been ongoing along the line, as have clean-up works in the tunnels.
The plan approval decision for the Breisacher railway between Freiburg and Breisach was issued in October 2018. The first actions in this section of the Breisgau S-Bahn (metro) will begin in February 2019.
Ground-breaking on the Southern railway
Following ground-breaking on March 23, 2018, construction works on the Ulm — Laupheim — Aulendorf section are underway.
In the Ulm — Laupheim section, works on underground cable laying, the reconstruction of 60 km of overhead wire and replacement of about 400 m of support walls and two road bridges have been proceeding at a good pace. These works are expected to be completed in 2019; in addition, about 60 km of superstructure works and the reconstruction of three level crossings are planned for 2019. Here, the measures for the project and the superstructure program are being bundled and implemented together.
In the Friedrichshafen — Lindau section, the tenders have been awarded and implementation planning has begun. Construction will begin in spring 2019.
Commissioning is planned for December 2021.
Progress in expansion line 48 Munich—Lindau
The building permit procedures were completed for 19 of the 20 sections in the year under review. Between now and 2020, the main construction phase will be carried out with widespread section-by-section line suspensions. The main works on the expansion line, which were planned for the year under review but set back after delays to the building permit being granted, were agreed following expansion of the rail replacement service on several stretches of track and therefore additional suspensions, primarily in the year under review.
Beginning of the main construction work at Dortmund central station
Main construction work to modernize the Dortmund central station began in June 2018. In addition to the expansion and modernization of the passenger underpasses, all of the station’s platforms will be resurfaced and have new equipment and new roofs installed. After the work is completed, expected in 2024, the station will be fully accessible and will provide accessible integration with all other modes of transport. The total capital expenditures for the project are about € 130 million, borne by the Federal Government, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and DB Group.
Building permit for the Lehrte MegaHub granted
In February 2018, the EBA granted its approval for the second amendment to the building permit for the Lehrte MegaHub project. The foundations for the future crane track started to be laid in mid-September 2018.
Following the successful awarding of the tender for the sorting facility on September 11, 2018, the performance planning is now taking place. All relevant tenders for the realization of the MegaHub have thus been awarded. Operational testing should take place in 2019.
Progress on the second S-Bahn (metro) main line in Munich
Since April 2018, legally valid building permits have been available for all three plan approval sections for the second main line in Munich.
At present, preparations for construction are ongoing in the Overground West section, Marienhof and at the central station. The tenders for the three main construction projects in this area were awarded at the end of 2018. In the Munich-Laim construction section, two construction site underpasses were created in preparation for the construction in 2018. These will be used from 2019 to allow access for the trucks and construction vehicles needed to start the main construction works on the track island to lay the fourth track at Laim station. At Marienhof and at the central station, the main construction works will also
Start of planning for the 740 m network
Creating a continuous rail network for 740 m freight trains is a key element for enhancing cost-efficiency in rail freight transport and making more efficient use of the rail infrastructure.
BMVI has therefore defined a 740 m network action plan, which has been classified under the compound item “Further network measures aimed at relieving bottlenecks” in the potential requirements of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (Bundesverkehrswegeplan; BVWP) 2030. BMVI has determined the profitability of the 740 m network and has assured Federal funding for the start of planning. The requirement plan measure is currently focusing on about 80 individual actions, such as relocating signals and installing switches to create new possibilities for overtaking.
Planning and implementation of the Karlsruhe — Basel project continued
In the Karlsruhe—Basel expansion/new construction line, planning is continuing, following the decisions handed down by the German Parliament and the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg on the financing of noise remediation measures beyond the legally required level. The key requirements of the region, as discussed in the meetings of the project advisory board, are being integrated into the planning.
Hanau — Fulda planning is progressing
Planning for the new section of line between Gelnhausen and Fulda in the Hanau — Würzburg/Fulda expansion/new construction line project has progressed.
In order to select the train path, 13 versions comprising more than 1,000 line segments were mapped out as part of the investigation; these were compared in terms of environmental impact, regional planning and transport/economy and continuously presented in a dialog forum. The decision was preceded by intense discussions with the region that lasted several years. Our early and comprehensive involvement of the general public has been described as exemplary.
The so-called version IV was the version submitted to the regional planning process.
The benefits of version IV include shortening the travel time between Frankfurt and Fulda by 11 minutes and improving the local public transport offer.
Approval process for the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link project
The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link project is in the design and approval planning stage. The approval documentation for plan approval section 6 on Fehmarn was submitted to the EBA in April 2018. The next seven sections will be submitted by spring 2019. While the approval proceedings are ongoing, a report is being drafted for BMVI in preparation for the German Parliament’s discussion of the demands of the region for additional noise remediation. Construction of a new link across the Fehmarn Sound is also being realized in connection with the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. The decision in favor of a preferred version will probably be made in the third quarter of 2019.
Implementation infrastructures for the Rhine-Ruhr-Express
The financing agreement with the Federal Government for the Düsseldorf electronic interlocking was signed in December 2018. The Federal Government and DB Group are together investing about € 330 million in the new command and control technology. The public hearing regarding plan approval section 2.1 Düsseldorf was held on September 25, 2018. Planning of performance phase 2 in Düsseldorf-Reisholz has commenced with the inclusion of Düsseldorf-Benrath as a stop in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. Construction work on plan approval section 4.0 Mülheim has begun. The plan approval decision for plan approval section 1.2 (Leverkusen) was issued on October 8, 2018.
Relocation of the Hamburg-Altona long-distance train station
This project involves the replacement of the existing Hamburg-Altona terminus by a new construction at the Diebsteich site for long-distance and regional transport, including the construction of a new concourse building. The current S-Bahn (metro) station in Altona will remain. The new station will have six long-distance and two S-Bahn (metro) tracks.
In December 2017, the plan approval decision was given by the EBA. In January 2018, the immediate full execution was granted by the EBA. On August 15, 2018, the Higher Administrative Court (Oberverwaltungsgericht; OVG) Hamburg reinstated the suspensive effect of the complaint by the Transport Club of Germany Regional Union North e.V. (Verkehrsclub Deutschland Landesverband Nord e. V.) against the plan approval decision by the EBA for the Hamburg-Altona project. The decision of the OVG Hamburg is incontestable. As such, at the end of the main process, construction can neither be resumed, nor can the pending construction projects begin.
The OVG Hamburg decided that the motorail facilities available at the present station have not been sufficiently recognized in the plan approval decision. Currently, different scenarios to enable further realization of the project are being discussed with the project partners.