Rail line upgrade eases bottlenecks on key German route

A stretch of railway line between the German cities of Hamburg and Hannover is being revamped in order to ease bottlenecks and provide a better service for both freight companies and passengers. The scheme helps the line to deal with growing demand and forecasted increases in traffic volumes.

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The 24.9 km long, two-track section of railway lies between the cities of Stelle and Lüneburg. This project sees the line undergo a major upgrade, which includes adding a third track that makes it possible for trains to travel up to 200 km/h. Adding the extra track also allows for the separation of rail traffic that is moving at different speeds, thereby easing the bottlenecks that have become common on the route in recent years.

The additional line, along with the installation of modern infrastructure – including control and security technology, overhead wires and telecommunications facilities – helps to improve the general flow of rail traffic and reduce journey times.

Growing demand

The railway provides an important connection to the Hamburg metropolitan area and the city’s sea port. Cargo volumes arriving at Germany’s largest port continue to grow. In addition, the State of Lower Saxony is keen to see an increase in the frequency of passenger services on the line. The scheme addresses these issues by making it easier for rail companies to put on more trains.

Improving the flow of rail traffic is expected to have a positive impact on the entire Hamburg-Hannover line. For freight hauliers, the upgrade should make rail an option that is more efficient, economic and safer than road transport.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project "Reconstruction of the Railway line from Stelle to Lüneburg" is EUR 236 502 458, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 107 000 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. The project falls under the Operational Programme for Transport, priority “National Railways”.

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