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Berlin and Brandenburg want rapid expansion of the rail network


Berlin and Brandenburg are calling on the federal government to rapidly expand rail connections in the capital region, to Poland and to Lusatia.

This was emphasized by Berlin's Governing Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) and Brandenburg's Minister President Dietmar Woidke (SPD) on Monday after a meeting with railroad boss Richard Lutz and representatives of the federal government in the capital.

Great need for expansion of Berlin junction

Both heads of state suggested that the expansion of the Berlin junction should be included in the "urgent requirements" of the so-called Federal Rail Infrastructure Expansion Act. This would affect the Potsdam main line, the southern and western Berlin inner ring, the so-called northern line and the connection to Wustermark. "We need to focus more on acceleration," said Wegner. Rail traffic must not be "slowed down".

Extension of the Berlin-Küstrin route

According to the two politicians, the double-track electrified extension of the Berlin-Küstrin line is of particular importance for cross-border rail traffic with Poland. In their opinion, this connection is also an urgent requirement. They also highlighted the Berlin-Stettin line, which is due to be completed in 2027, and Lübbenau-Cottbus as particularly important projects.

Co-financing of necessary replacement transport expected

Woidke was pleased that the construction financing for the electrification and double-track expansion of the Lübbenau-Cottbus line had now been secured. A total of 265 million euros had been earmarked for this. "This will bring Berlin and Cottbus closer together in future. From 2027, significantly more trains will be able to run at shorter intervals on the Berlin-Cottbus route." Deutsche Bahn wants to fundamentally modernize the Hamburg-Berlin route, Germany's busiest direct connection, at a cost of billions of euros and close it completely from August 2025 to April 2026. Partial closures are also planned from August 2024. Wegner and Woidke expect the federal government to co-finance the necessary replacement services, as they said.

300,000 people commute between Berlin and Brandenburg

Both heads of government pointed out that 300,000 people commute between Berlin and Brandenburg every day. "We need a reliable and sustainable rail network so that the transport transition succeeds and we can achieve our ambitious climate targets." Berlin and Brandenburg have already committed 335 million euros to the planning of the joint i2030 project. Now it is the federal government's turn. "We demand that the federal government keeps its funding promises and significantly accelerates the planning and approval procedures," Wegner and Woidke said in a joint statement.

"We want to modernize, electrify and digitalize the routes"

"We want rail expansion. We want modernization, electrification and digitalization of the lines," Wegner told journalists. After all, too little had happened here for a long time. Woidke also called for better and faster progress to be made here. The expansion of the infrastructure must keep pace with the very dynamic development of the region. "Germany was known for its very well-functioning infrastructure. We need to get back to that," said Woidke.

Expansion of infrastructure in the i2030 joint project

As part of the i2030 joint project launched in 2017, the rail infrastructure in the capital region is to be modernized and expanded along eight corridors and in the S-Bahn network. Up to 200 kilometers of railroad line and up to 100 stations are to be built, converted or expanded. An investment volume of 10.6 billion euros is planned for this. S-Bahn and regional trains will then run on new routes, with longer trains or at significantly shorter intervals.

Investment of around two billion euros

"A booming capital region needs strong railways to make it easier for even more people to switch to climate-friendly mobility," explained Deutsche Bahn AG CEO Lutz. "That's why we are investing around two billion euros in rail infrastructure in 2024 together with the states of Berlin and Brandenburg and the federal government." This will drive forward important projects. It will also create the basis for further growth and a modal shift to rail.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 11 June 2024
Last updated: 11 June 2024

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