Article: New Wendlingen-Ulm line: pacesetter for rail transport throughout Germany goes into operation
New infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology ensure more capacity, reliability and quality - Shorter travel times for long distance service and more appealing city connections in south and southwest - First step towards opening Stuttgart 21
Deutsche Bahn (DB) has completed a new high-performance main line that will benefit rail transport throughout Germany. The new Wendlingen-Ulm line officially goes into operation today. Together with Stuttgart 21, it is part of the Stuttgart-Ulm rail project and a component of the Main Line for Europe initiative, which is connecting cities and regions and a total of 34 million inhabitants in five countries. With the opening of the new-build line and the timetable change on December 11, DB is speeding up long distance transport across Germany, thus making an important contribution to shifting more traffic to climate-friendly rail. Trains will now be able to cross the Swabian Alps at high speed. This will not only shorten the travel time between Stuttgart and Munich, but also make direct city connections between Munich and Frankfurt am Main or Cologne more appealing.
DB's CEO Dr. Richard Lutz: "The impact of the new Wendlingen-Ulm line extends far beyond the region. It is the new pacesetter for Deutsche Bahn and a central pillar of our rail network. The benefits for people and the economy are huge, even today. And they will be even bigger when Stuttgart 21 opens in three years. My special thanks go to everyone who worked on this impressive project over many years."
Michael Theurer, German Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport: "The Wendlingen-Ulm line is one of the projects of the century, a milestone in the implementation of Germany-wide timetable integration, and the international link from Paris via Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Ulm, Munich and on to Vienna and Bratislava. The newly built line relieves pressure on the Fils Valley route, which consequently will have more capacity available for local transport and, above all, freight trains. I would therefore like to thank everyone involved in the project. The positive effects for travelers and for the economy make it absolutely clear once more just how important it is to ramp up infrastructure upgrades right now. It is only if we get faster at doing this that we will have a chance to meet our climate targets."
Winfried Kretschmann, Minister President of the State of Baden-Württemberg: "The new line is advantageous in several ways: It shortens travel times and enables more rail links. Stuttgart and Ulm are moving closer together. And Paris and Budapest are, too. For us as an exporting country at the heart of Europe, this is an important aspect. In addition, the line contributes significantly to climate-friendly mobility for all. Only with ultra-modern, well-developed train connections can we get traffic off the roads and out of the air and onto rail. The state of Baden-Württemberg was therefore happy to support the project with almost one billion euros. Building 60 kilometers of track with eleven tunnels and 37 bridges in just ten years is a great achievement! I would like to thank all those who were involved and who have done an outstanding job."
Dr. Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet of the European Commission's Commissioner for Transport: "The new line from Wendlingen to Ulm is a great addition to the rail network in southern Germany. It is also an essential project for the Rhine-Danube Corridor in the context of our trans-European transport network policy. In the future, the new line will also better connect regions and cities in western Europe with regions and cities in central and eastern Europe, as well as making cross-border rail service on long distance routes more attractive. This makes the newly built line a key stepping stone towards achieving the EU's climate targets in the transport sector."
Gunter Czisch, Mayor of the City of Ulm: "When the rail link to Ulm was completed via the Geislinger Steige ramp in 1850, the line was considered a masterpiece of engineering. The same can be said of the new line. Deutsche Bahn is showing us how future mobility can and must be: climate-friendly, fast and convenient - and on rail. Ulm and the region have always been strong advocates of this route. Now our commitment is bearing fruit."
Left to right: Dr. Michael Peterson, Board Member for Long Distance Passenger Transport at Deutsche Bahn AG, Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport for the State of Baden-Württemberg, Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, Dr. Richard Lutz, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO at Deutsche Bahn AG, Gerlinde Kretschmann, Winfried Kretschmann, Minister President of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet of the European Commission's Commissioner for Transport, Evelyn Palla, Board Member for Regional Transport at Deutsche Bahn AG, Gunter Czisch, Mayor of the City of Ulm, in front of the special ICE train’s power car
More long distance and regional trains make rail transport more appealing
The daily service on long distance routes between Stuttgart and Munich will be increased by some 20 to 90 journeys a day thanks to the new high-speed line. The region will simultaneously benefit from many new and attractive offers, one of which will be the fastest regional train in Germany, operated by DB Regio. This will be able to travel at speeds of up to 200 km/h here. Furthermore, DB, the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the local association Verband Region Schwäbische Alb are opening up an entire region for rail with the brand-new station in Merklingen. This area of the Swabian Alps can now be reached directly by train, which offers both commuters and tourists an eco-friendly way to travel.
New tunnels and Germany's third-highest rail bridge
Since the groundbreaking ceremony in 2012, DB has completed an extensive construction program on the new Wendlingen-Ulm line, including several tunnels: the almost nine-kilometer-long Bossler Tunnel, the Albvorland Tunnel between Wendlingen am Neckar and Kirchheim unter Teck, which is a good eight kilometers long, the Albabstieg Tunnel with a length of almost six kilometers between Dornstadt and Ulm, and the almost five-kilometer-long Steinbühl Tunnel on the Albaufstieg climb.
In addition, the 485-meter-long and 85-meter-high Filstal Bridge, the third-highest rail bridge in Germany, has been built. The bridge crosses not only the Fils Valley, but also the A8 highway. In order to connect the new-build line with Ulm main station, DB has comprehensively remodeled the station's track area. A new signaling facility is also being built.
Further improvements for travelers starting in 2025
Germany's Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan identifies this project as being urgently required. The construction costs of almost four billion euros were financed by the Federal Government, by the state of Baden-Württemberg and by the European Union. When Stuttgart 21 opens in 2025, travelers on regional and long distance services will enjoy more improvements. The travel time between Stuttgart and Ulm will then be halved to around half an hour. In addition, the airport, the trade fair center and the Filder Plain will have a direct and fast rail link from and to Ulm in 2027.
Further information (in German) for the media: You will find audio statements and fact sheets to download at www.deutschebahn.com/wendlingen-ulm. We will provide up-to-date photographic images on our press portal (mediaportal.deutschebahn.com) starting in the early afternoon.