Rail and road access for Fehmarn Link secured in German Infrastructure Plan 2030

12/04/2016

The German Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has presented the Federal Government’s draft for their infrastructure plan, Bundesverkehrswegeplan 2030. North Germany is satisfied: Most wishes are fulfilled and the expansion of road and rail links from Lübeck to the upcoming Fehmarn connection are both prioritized and funded.

Renovation instead of new investments and removal of bottlenecks: These two actions are prevailant through the infrastructure planning for the entire Federal Republic until 2030 with investments adding up to a total of 264.5 billion euro (aprox. 1.97billioner kr.).

Upgrading of the railway between Hamburg-Lübeck /Bad Schwartau and the Fehmarn tunnel is budgeted at  1.23 billion euro. This does not yet include the price of a new connection from the German mainland to the island of Fehmarn, which is currently served by the “hanger”, a listed road and rail bridge, which even today no longer can handle traffic peaks. Therefore, it is no longer up for discussion to renovate and expand the bridge. State and Federal governments and Deutsche Bahn are currently discussing different bridge or tunnel solutions for a double-track electrified railway and four-lane motorway.

The establishment of a new Femernsund connection will be implemented outside of the Government’s infrastructure plan. Deutsche Bahn reports that by their assumption is that a new connection can be ready around the same time as the (present time evaluation) latest possible opening of the tunnel in 2028. The railway line can be ready by 2024.

Higher speed is not off the table

Although the new railway line was originally planned for speeds of max 160 km/h, the discussion of an upgrade to a higher speed has not yet taken off the table. It is part of the current pre-planning, says Conservative Bundestag member Ingo Gädichens from East Holstein.

Ingo Gädichens refers to a statement from the Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt from mid-March. According to Dobrindt, the defined maximum speed of 160 km/h on the line is not finally adopted. This is because the studies were not completed by the infrastructure plan deadline. Deutsche Bahn also confirm that all options are being studied.

Motorway in time, trains to corner

Planning and feasibility studies of the expansion of road 207 from the end of the motorway A1 at Heiligenhafen to Puttgarden are ongoing.

However, the Infrastructure Plan show uncertainties concerning the expansion of the S-train service S4 from Hamburg to Bad Oldesloe. As S-trains normally fall under regional infrastructure planning, and therefore by definition are a matter of the federal state, there is now uncertainty whether S4 will, or can be, part of the new federal infrastructure plan. This is all because the new S-train line will relieve the rail line between Hamburg and Denmark. Therefore, the S4 project has also received an EU grant for feasibility studies.

Whether S4 will be included in the governmental infrastructure plan in 2030 with a priority status depends on future consultations and political negotiations in the legislative process.