Berlin–Munich in less than four hours: Chancellor, Federal Minister and heads of the Federal Laender inaugurate the most modern railway line in Germany
Daily services at record speed: more trains and shorter journey times on many routes • Deutsche Bahn expects to double its market share between Berlin and Munich to 40 per cent
(Berlin, 8 December 2017) Germany’s most modern railway line between Berlin and Munich was inaugurated today with two special trains and a festive ceremony in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Minister Christian Schmidt and the heads of various Federal Laender inaugurated the more than 500-kilometre long railway line at five stations along the route, together with Richard Lutz, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn and numerous other DB and government representatives. Completion of the new-build line from Erfurt to Ebensfeld (near Bamberg) has closed the final gap in the German Unification Traffic Projects. As from the change of timetable on 10 December, 35 ICE trains will run daily on the new line.
Federal Minister Christian Schmidt commented, “The largest of all German Unification Traffic Projects has now gone into operation. We have reached the finishing line of a marathon race that began back in 1991. High-performance infrastructure in all parts of Germany is an essential requirement for the unity of our country. A major and final step has now been accomplished in rail transport. That is also the reason why the Federal Government provided funding of around 10 billion euros for the project. The German Unification Traffic Projects are a success story: they have integrated our country, creating new and in-depth human and economic relations.”
Richard Lutz, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn, praised the inauguration of the new high-speed line through the Thuringian Forest as a milestone: “This is a historic day: this superlative railway line has helped Germany to grow closer together. In future, Berlin and Munich will be linked in the record travel time of less than four hours, from city centre to city centre. This service is sure to encourage more people than ever before to travel by rail.”
The inauguration of the Berlin–Munich line ties in with the largest change of timetable since Deutsche Bahn was founded and is accompanies by numerous improvements to services. From Sunday onwards, one third of all DB long-distance trains will run on the basis of the new timetable. 45 stations throughout Germany can be reached directly by ICE via the new high-speed line through the Thuringian Forest.
17 million people in Germany will benefit from shorter journey times, new direct services and better connections. DB expects its market share on this route to double, reaching a figure of 40 per cent. The new service campaign is part of the quality programme entitled “The Future of Rail Operations in Germany”, with which DB intends to make rail travel more comfortable and dependable.
As the new rail hub in central Germany, Erfurt now offers fast connections in all four directions, with long-distance trains departing every hour. These services have been timed to optimise the connections to regional services so that more distant regions will also benefit from the advantages of the new line.
German Unification Traffic Project No. 8 is a project of superlatives: over a period of almost ten years, new railway lines were built and existing lines upgraded along Germany’s largest construction site between Nuremberg, Erfurt, Leipzig, Halle and Berlin. The project involved a total of roughly 500 kilometres of railway line and investments of around ten billion euros. The 26 tunnels have a total length of 57 km. 37 viaducts were built, including Germany’s largest railway bridge (8.6 km) near Halle in the Saale-Elster Valley.
The upgraded line between Berlin and Halle/Leipzig was inaugurated back in 2006 for use at top speeds of 200 km/h. It was joined by the Halle/Leipzig–Erfurt new-build line in December 2015 and the new-build line between Erfurt and Ebensfeld near Bamberg now completes the project. ICE Sprinter trains now travel on both these new-build lines at speeds of 300 km/h. The rail nodes of Halle, Leipzig and Erfurt have also undergone comprehensive refurbishment.
The inauguration ceremonies took place today at various stations along the line in Nuremberg, Erfurt, Leipzig, Lutherstadt Wittenberg and in Berlin. They were attended by high-ranking representatives such as Acting Transport Minister Christian Schmidt, Minister-Presidents Bodo Ramelow (Thuringia), Stanislaw Tillich (Saxony), Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt), State Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann (Bavaria) and Berlin’s Mayor Michael Müller.
|Facts and figures about the Berlin-Munich line|
|Facts and figures about the construction work|
|The Top 5 service improvements after the change of timetable|
Information for journalists:
A multimedia package on this subject can be downloaded from deutschebahn.com/vde8.
For up-to-date material on the inauguration visit deutschebahn.com/mediathek
Online information about German Unification Traffic Project 8 (“VDE 8”) is available at www.vde8.de