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Corridors for freight

by DoDo Tue Oct 11th, 2011 at 09:26:36 AM EST

Thanks to outsourcing, the EU, the Schengen zone, and the eastward expansion of both, freight flows across borders increased. In particular to and from the marine ports, where all the import goods from China et al arrive. This is particularly true in the rail sector (I mentioned it in Diesel heavy haul across Europe for example). Most of this freight travels along corridors crossing Germany. According to the September 2011 issue of the International Railway Journal (IRJ):

RAILFREIGHT has grown in Germany over the last decade by 24.5% to 355.4 million tonnes, or 42.2% between 2002 and 2010 to 107.2 billion tonne-km. The large falls in traffic caused by the 2008-09 recession ... have recovered and volumes this year are now at or above 2008 levels.

The growth has been driven by several factors; the key one being the increasing importance of global trade especially for imported goods and commodities from Asia to Europe. Much of this moves by sea to the North Sea ports of Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam or Antwerp, and is then transported via Germany to destinations all over Europe. The four ports recorded a 90% increase in traffic from 18 million TEUs in 2002 to 34.2 million in 2008.

...55 of all railfreight in Germany is now international or transit traffic...

The IRJ article is about planned capacity enhancements on rail lines, aimed to meet further increase in traffic demand. However, while I will mention those, I will focus on what's not there: abandoned or never seriously considered projects, each of them a case study of the failings of two decades of transport policies focused on roads, budget cuts, and narrow domestic strategies.

First, the situation is pressing:

German infrastructure manager DB Networks plans to increase capacity from 120 billion tonne-km, which has nearly been reached, to at least 175 billion tonne-km by 2020.

This is total capacity; some specific corridors are already saturated. Where will capacity enhancements come from? One is high-speed lines. High-speed lines don't just affect long-distance passenger traffic – a point I keep banging on about, so nice to see it in print:

Separation of traffic flows will be achieved partly by building new lines, such as the Halle - Erfurt - Ebensfeld high-speed line, which has been under construction for over a decade and is due to open in stages between 2015 and 2018.

For more on that line, on how badly it was planned and how much it was delayed while the parallel highway was finished, read The EU's emerging high-speed networkS. Civil works are well-progressed or even finished now. Just at the end of September, the boring of the last tunnel started.

The other main element of the capacity enhancement plan is the upgrade of existing mainlines. Of particular note is the electrification and re-signalling of some presently under-used secondary mainlines. That way, two new corridors will be created:

  • A second route from Hamburg to Munich. The present one goes via Hanover and was West Germany's main north–south artery, the new one via Leipzig is to the east.
  • A line avoiding the hubs of Mainz and Mannheim (both near Frankfurt) on the central section of the Rhine Valley corridor.

Mainline electrification slowed down in West Germany in the eighties, then there was another big push in Eastern Germany with Reunification, but that quickly bogged down, so this could be some welcome change. But, let's take a closer look at what was and what wasn't on IRJ's map. First in the north:

  • The new eastern north–south corridor starts with a triple-tracking of the existing one south of Hamburg, then continues with the upgrade of a section of the so-called America Line. As the name indicates, over a century ago, this line was originally built for east–west port traffic. It lost this role due to the split of Germany during the Cold War. After Reunification, it was to be completely rebuilt and electrified, but those plans weren't fully implemented due to budget cuts. The Uelzen–Bremen section is still dieselised and sees little traffic (but that includes transports for wind power manufacturer Enercon). Would the upgrade be completed, the new eastern north–south corridor could serve Bremerhaven, too, and east–west traffic could avoid Hanover.

  • The triple-tracking south of Hamburg is still more of a stop-gap measure: for real relief, you'd need a new line between Hamburg and Hanover. For long, DB has planned such a line: the so-called Y line, a high-speed line also open to freight trains by night. However, as I commented previously, this is a bad plan: it tries to save money by choosing the shortest route, which is to connect mid-way to the existing Hamburg–Bremen line. But that doesn't remove the bottleneck near Hamburg, thus freight transporters don't like it; and it cuts across natural reserves, thus locals and environmentalists don't like it. It would be better to build along the highway and all the way into Hamburg.

  • For Rotterdam, in the last decade, the Netherlands built an entirely new freight-only mainline to the German border, the Betuwe Line. As an extension, the connecting line into the Ruhr Area was to be upgraded and triple-tracked. Upgrades are often touted as the cheaper option, however, extensive works in already built-up areas and one-story-high noise screens installed for kilometres on end are both expensive and invite NIMBY protests. For those reasons, the Oberhausen–Dutch border upgrade got nowhere so far (there is an agreement on the budget but DB doesn't expect the building permit before 2012). It would be better to build an entirely new parallel line, be it high-speed or even just for 200 km/h.

  • For Antwerp, Belgium electrified its freight-only Montzen Line to the German border, and Germany upgraded parts of the Cologne–Aachen–Belgian border line. Until Düren, Cologne's commuter trains got dedicated tracks while freight trains and Thalys high-speed trains share 250 km/h tracks. That's sub-optimal for railfreight, but from Düren to Aachen, it's even worse as the only capacity boost planned is a third track on a short section. Given DB's plans to run trains to London, plugging the high-speed gap here with a parallel line would really make a difference.

  • For Antwerp's port traffic, however, an even better solution would be the revival of the Iron Rhine, a railway further north: unlike the Montzen route, it is all flat. However, the line cuts across the south-eastern tip of the Netherlands, where it has a dismantled section. The Netherlands sees no domestic benefits to this line and thus blocked attempts to rebuild it, also using the spurious argument that the disused section runs across a natural reserve; the federal German and Northrhine-Westphalia governments think cost estimates are too high; only Belgium and the Port of Antwerp are pushing it with full support.

Let's now move to the south.

Let me first emphasize the importance of the Rhine Valley. It carries most of the traffic between Rotterdam, Antwerp and the Ruhr Area on one end and Switzerland, Italy at the other end. The more northern sections also carry much of the traffic to Bavaria, Austria and beyond. Until Frankfurt, freight trains now run on both sides of the Rhine, plus a line further east, and long-distance passenger traffic is separated on a high-speed line. South from there, it's more congested.

  • There are three lines from Frankfurt to Mannheim, and further capacity would be freed up by the long-planned plugging of the high-speed gap between the two cities. This project is held up by disputes over the routing (through or avoiding) at Mannheim and Darmstadt.

  • The present plans want to create another route between the Frankfurt and Karlsruhe areas by electrification. However, on a key section, the new corridor would use the tracks of an east–west line carrying the Paris–Frankfurt traffic: the Palatinate Forest crossing, which is low-speed and already a bottleneck. Solving this would require a single c. 25 km mixed-traffic tunnel for the east–west corridor. However, DB's infrastructure branch has difficulties in projecting long tunnels, and this project has been mentioned as the vaguest of ideas only.

  • The corridor between Karlsruhe and Basle is the one where extra capacity is most needed. Germany is quadruple-tracking the right-bank Rhine Valley line. However, as the IRJ article mentions, the central part is way behind schedule (it won't be ready by the time the Gotthard Base Tunnel opens) and faces NIMBY blockade from local communities who have a say by law. What the article doesn't say is that delays are also due to budget cuts, and that DB's tactic in consultations with locals is to dig in and stick to original plans no matter what, and watch as delays increase financing costs.

  • There would be an obvious capacity relief between Karlsruhe and Basle: the left-bank Rhine Valley line. Using it would involve a switch to and from a different electrification system when crossing into and out of France, however, it's the same as on the Betuwe line, so the multi-system locos already in use can master it. France and Germany would only need to electrify and upgrade the Wörth–Strasbourg section to make this a reality, however, nothing much happens in that direction. (Presently the most notable freight transports on the line are the trains with the Castor nuclear waste containers between the La Hague reprocessing plant and the Gorleben final storage site.)

  • Further south, there are plans to divert some of the traffic away from the congested hub of Basle by electrifying the line in the Upper Rhine Valley, on the German side of the Swiss-German border. However, in spite of several bilateral agreements, the project is moving forward at glacial speed. The current target date is 2016, but I'm sceptical.

  • Stuttgart 21, the project to replace Stuttgart's surface terminus with an underground through station, has been covered in two diaries by epochepoque on ET; and the protests and controversy around the project was covered in several Salon comments. While I see Stuttgart 21 itself as more of an ill-designed real estate scheme than a solution to transport problems, I argued that the connected high-speed line to Ulm would very much make sense, to relieve the congested existing line that includes a mountain pass.

  • Bavaria's north-east, the region around Hof, is presently a dieselised island. This is where the new north–south freight corridor is to be created by electrifying the Reichenbach–Hof–Regensburg mainline. As the IRJ article says, the only obstacle to the completion of the project is the federal government's approval of its part in the budget... and thus it's not unlikely that Hof will become an electrification dead-end for long years.

  • Five years ago Germany opened a high-speed line between Nuremberg and Ingolstadt, but only upgraded the Ingolstadt–Munich section (with some extra tracks for Munich's commuter trains). The line being part of the north–south corridor serving Hamburg and Bremen, recent capacity problems should be no surprise... Long-distance passenger traffic should have been separated here, too.

  • Further south, Austria is quadruple-tracking the Inn Valley line all the way from the future Brenner Base Tunnel to the German border (again see The EU's emerging high-speed networkS). It would make sense to double the line on the German side, too, especially between Munich and Rosenheim where the line to Salzburg branches off (presently there is quadruple-tracking only for Munich's commuter trains). But there are no such plans.

  • A cheaper solution for freight trains would be the double-tracking and electrification of the lines to Mühldorf: transport flows to the south via Austria's Tauern mountain line and to the east towards Vienna could be separated from the Italy-bound traffic on the Brenner route. This has been a definite plan in the nineties already, but not much has been built so far due to budget cuts. The current target date is 2016, but I'm sceptical.

Watching highway and main road expansion on maps, I had the impression that there was less provincialism in the transport strategies of EU member states and less eternal delays due to budget cuts when it came to road construction... Many politicians say that they want to move freight from road to rail, but actions speak louder than words.

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

Now for some recent road lobby success news:
  1. Following the Berlin regional elections, last week mayor Klaus Wowereit's Social Democrats (SPD) chose just the issue of a highway extension project within the city as the excuse to fail the coalition talks with the Greens, and pursue a concrete-head Grand Coalition with the Christian Democrats (CDU) instead. The Berlin SPD's insistence on the city highway got rhetorical support from federal SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel - a former federal environment minister...
  2. Meanwhile, Baden-Württenberg state's new Green-Red coalition is clashing because the local SPD considered betraying its coalition partner and vote together with the CDU over road projects and Stuttgart 21.
  3. Finally, yesterday, following months of controversy over a project to test super-long trailer trucks ('gigaliners') on highways, Germany's 16 states voted 8:8 on a motion to block the project, which, being one less than majority, means it can go ahead.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 11th, 2011 at 09:27:11 AM EST
Local, small scale trials of LHV's (Longer and Heavier Vehicles aka Gigaliners, EuroCombi, EcoTrucks or MegaTrucks) have been running already for several years within many states of Germany (link with details) but what's been blocked is movement between the states.  

Trucks of this size have been running in Sweden and Finland since the 1970's. Similarly in Canada, another country highly dependent on forestry, LCV's (Longer Combination Vehicles) are permitted. Depending on the combination, they can go up to 25 meters and 62.5 tonnes total weight, very similar dimensionally to the European trucks (25.25 m, 60 t) but using a much different configuration.

Efforts to allow national use of Canadian style LCV's in the US (they're permitted in some states) have been routinely defeated by the railroad and highway safety lobbies on safety grounds using arguments very similiar to those raised in Germany. Ironically, since deregulation at least (1980), this has helped to drive down truck driver pay (more trucks needed for a given amount of freight) as this is the one key cost that trucking companies control. This in turn has forced drivers to work longer hours, often in violation of hours of serivce limits, leading to an increase fatigue related acidents (here's a link on the issue in general).

Driver pay and working conditions are generally better in Europe than the US, but the industry is moving down a slippery slope thanks to the opening of borders. To me it's no coincidence that the countries that are most at risk of losing driver jobs and haulage companies to the east are also the ones that are most supportive of the LHV's. The restrictions put in place on driver training and qualifications become an effective barrier to entry while the improved economics allow the companies to continue to compete despite a higher cost base.

by Jace on Thu Oct 13th, 2011 at 12:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
surely the river itself could carry a great deal more traffic? Is intermodality a show-stopper?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Oct 11th, 2011 at 11:23:17 AM EST
The Rhine is Europe's busiest river route. However, re-loading at ports costs time and money, and it makes little sense to re-load stuff that will start or finish its journey far away from the river port. Thus I find that shipping along the Rhine has a market share of 42% within the Rhine Valley, but already in the totality of Swiss imports and exports, it's only 14% resp. 5%, and the role of Rhine shipping in Transalpine traffic is insignificant. Regarding intermodal traffic, it is significant along the Rhine, but again not beyond it: container transport by ship becomes uncompetitive on most connecting canals due to bridge height limitations. Interestingly, the Swiss report downloadable via the above linked page (both in German) says that while most cargo arriving in Switzerland's Rhine ports leaves via rail, most of the intermodal cargo leaves via road.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 11th, 2011 at 12:19:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not surprising to see lots of projects in the Rhine/Transalpine corridor as this is the corridor for intermodal freight. This is due to Switzerland's long standing policy of diverting highway traffic over the mountains to rail. This policy drives volumes and hence economics on nearly all north-south axis routes. Significantly it also diverts high value freight to rail including chemicals and perishables so the railroads or intermodal operators (Hupac, Kombiverkehr) don't have to rely on low value/low rate international (ISO) boxes. The restrictions on the Rhine as well as this policy are the reasons why these moves tend to involve only truck and rail. Note also that Europe has quite a bit of short sea shipping (e.g. Rotterdam to Genoa) that directly competes for the less time sensitive freight on this corridor.

There are a whole host of problems with European rail freight that have a particular impact on intermodal. These include physical limitations like clearances (loading gauge), axle loads and train lengths. There are also significant operational issues as well (punctuality and border crossing restrictions in particular), but running longer trains seems to me the most pressing issue. While I understand that there are infrastructure upgrades required to run longer trains (passing loops and signal blocks) and operating issues (potentially reduced capacity - number of trains, but not tonnage), these seem somewhat more manageable than raising clearances and axle loads or finding money to build all new lines.

Never the less, long term major projects like the Betuweroute and NEAT are still being built around maximum train lengths of 750 meters. While this is an improvement over some lines that are limited to 650 meters or less, it is still nothing compared to North America where some of the major railroads commonly run freight trains four kilometers long! Granted these trains are more like ships in that they don't start and stop very well but just think what this can do for your operating economics (keeping these trains together and having terminals big enough to handle these monsters not withstanding...). At least with the Betuweroute, the clearances are large enough to one day handle double stacked containers. Railion (DB/NS - now DB Schenker) has also experimented with 1,000 meter long trains on the line but for now they're still considered to be 'Exception Transport' subject to special operating permits.  

by Jace on Wed Oct 12th, 2011 at 09:10:43 PM EST
running longer trains seems to me the most pressing issue

Methinks lengthening stations and rebuilding signalling along that corridor are just as costly as increasing clearances for double-stacked containers. (The study linked by epochepoque also argues that the potential benefits are limited due to the high upfront costs). Not before complete deployment of ETCS L3, that is in the uncertain future, I say.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 30th, 2011 at 02:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From a study on increasing freight capacity for 2025/30. Blue: traffic now, Green: additional capacity, Red: missing capacity, Yellow: capacity for reroutes.

Status quo:


If traffic were doubled:


If traffic were doubled and reroutes were used extensively:


Major corridors (color-coded) that should be extended:


In the current (funding) situation, high-speed lines are more dead weight for freight traffic. They eat up the meager budget and crowd out small but highly effective investments. I have harped on about the Wendlingen-Ulm line. It's unusable for freight trains or regional trains, thus doesnt't even offer capacity relief (worse they're promising more regional trains on the old line), and freight lines are avoiding the area anyway. Same for Nuremberg-Erfurt-Leipzig. It's out of the way, because of tunnels safety rules it offers only a very small freight capacity, etc. Generally, they simply don't offer much freight benefits for the buck - up to two orders of magnitudes ton-kilometers less per Euro than targeted investment. Build high-speed for high-speed and freight infrastructure for freight.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Thu Oct 13th, 2011 at 09:08:42 AM EST
I now had time to look at this study, but it left a mixed impression. On one hand, there is a really detailed look at what can be done to increase capacity for freight, both at a systemic level and for each relevant rail line, and I'd subscribe to 90% of it. Even stuff that seems missing or off on the maps is mentioned in the fine print (like the French-side Rhine Valley line or the lack of consideration of CIR-ELKE and significant local freight in the Ruhr Area in their capacity model). On the other hand, there is a clear line against higher-speed long-distance passenger rail, to the extent of going off-topic to make a point.

Among measures short of constructing new tracks, they mention sensible stuff like signalling and train control upgrades, the construction of more flyovers, and the re-establishment of dismantled passing loops (during upgrades across Europe over the past few decades, railways insanely eliminated a lot of stations to save on expensive switches and to sell off real estate). But, they also propose to 'even out speeds'. In practice, they want to slow down long-distance passenger trains. This is a welcome recognition of the capacity-eliminating effect of running different-speed train types on the same line, in contrast to high-speed rail detractors who argue for the alternative of faster services with tilting trains on conventional lines, but what kind of solution is this? They propose a speed reduction/travel time increase "to an extent tolerable to passengers". Well I don't know about there being such an extent. Elsewhere, they mention stagnating long-distance rail passenger numbers in Germany, but do so as if this had policy-independent reasons, rather than being a consequence of an already bad offer: slower travel speeds, worse punctuality than in other countries.

I have argued several times on ET that the German idea to build new lines for mixed high-speed passenger and low-speed freight traffic is misguided, because the result is ideal for neither (too slow for the first and limited capacity for the second) and expensive (needs more elaborate construction and maintenance). In the study, the ideal-for-neither conclusion is drawn for a number of actual projects, but a passenger-only line is rejected, too, with the rather odd argument that new lines are supposed to be economically sensible only if they see a few hundred trains a day.

As for the effect of high-speed lines on capacity on existing lines, I found confusing discussion. In their own capacity calculations, they assumed unchanged capacity reserves for passenger trains into the future, which is certainly off (both for local and long-distance trains). In the detailed discussion of the Hamburg-Bremen-Hanover "Y", they refer to a with/without DB calculation of future traffic levels, and conclude that DB's own numbers show that the old Hamburg-Hanover line would still be near the limit – but I don't see how they got to capacity from actual trains, and see significant extra capacity on the diagram shown (also via the Hamburg-Bremen line). In the detailed discussion of the Wendlingen-Ulm line, there is the even more odd argument that it is bad for freight traffic because the extension of Stuttgart's rapid transit along the old line, promised as parallel investment, will be a poison for freight capacity. So the development of local passenger traffic should be constrained, too?

Then there is the issue of costs. For their own upgrade proposals, they present a very crude and optimistic calculation based on a multiplication of line lengths with assumed per kilometre costs, which they then contrast with the real budget of existing programmes. Like epochepoque, they also claim, without much evidence that I could find (though I haven't read every page), that high-speed projects draw funds away from all other projects, which also lose out in cutbacks. This is is a popular argument in Germany, but, as already indicated with examples in the diary, it is just not true. Delays and cancellations due to cutbacks hit both high-speed and conventional projects in the past, as did consequent cost increases and badly planned, sub-optimal scaled-back completed states. It is instructive to look at the state of German Reunification Traffic Projects (Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit = VDE). The six finished projects include only one proper high-speed line, and an upgrade for 230 km/h (Hamburg-Berlin). The three half-finished projects include two completely conventional lines, and one line (Nuremberg-Berlin) where the finished sections are mostly conventional (e.g. Berlin-Halle/Leipzig). Meanwhile, the VDE road projects are over 90% finished.

The megaproject nature of high-speed lines in contrast to conventional lines is over-emphasized, too: for example, the Ebensfeld-Erfurt high-speed line itself, a top example cited for excessive costs, is €2.7 billion, but the Munich-Mühldorf-Freilassing electrification and double-tracking is no small sum at at least €1.4 billion, either (the study even gives a €2.8 billion number, but I am not sure what everything is included in that). Similarly, delays and cost increases stemming from delays (due to inflation, interests, rent, repeated planning measures, standard changes, extra measures to accommodate NIMBY demands) appear as somehow in the nature for high-speed projects, but at most as the consequence of incompetence and bad focus for desired conventional projects.

In addition, there are the upgrade projects and sub-projects that serve both high-speed and high-capacity passenger/freight traffic (Hanover-Wolfsburg-Oebisfelde section of Hanover-Berlin, Cologne-Düren, Karlsruhe-Basel quadruple-tracking, Nuremberg-Bamberg-Ebensfeld quadruple-tracking section of Nuremberg-Erfurt, Oberhausen-Emmerich), which critics conveniently count as high-speed when discussing the high cost of prestige projects (Nuremberg-Erfurt total: €5.2 billion) but count as conventional when discussing delays for needed non-prestige projects. (Nuremberg-Bamberg appears in the study as a section critical to a bypass that would relieve Würzburg-Nuremberg on the long term.)

The real top issues are, IMHO, these:

In other words, it seems completely off target to focus on the distribution of funds for rail infrastructure  projects when the main fact is that there is too little for anything. IMHO German Green thinking about traffic policy is often too much informed by the local focus and politics of protests against megaprojects (so argues Greens expert Toni Hofreiter, too, although using the line about prestige projects). In particular, I wonder how this argumentation will develop, now that there are significant NIMBY protests against mainline upgrades for freight traffic. I mentioned one affected project in the diary, the Oberhausen-Emmerich line to the Dutch border. But some sections of Kalrsruhe-Basel are affected, too, and lately so is the Upper Rhine line electrification. This is just the corridor which Stuttgard 21 opponents argue would be much more deserving of funds for a capacity increase, but the Rhine Valley local opponents challenge the freight traffic projections there.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Oct 30th, 2011 at 02:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm all for doubling or tripling the budget but it's unfortunately very unlikely. The effects are plain to everyone and even the ministry has more or less come out.
Viele Projekte wurden bis 2015 aus dem Plan genommen, etwa der jahrelang geplante Rhein-Ruhr-Express, der im Ruhrgebiet den Nahverkehr stärken sollte. Auch die für den Güterverkehr wichtige Y-Trasse, die Engpässe in Norddeutschland auflösen sollte, wird fürs Erste gestrichen.

Der sogenannte Investitionsrahmenplan wird alle fünf Jahre erstellt, er konkretisiert die Bauvorhaben des Bundes. Noch im vorigen Plan waren die beiden Schienenstrecken enthalten, genauso wie der ebenfalls aufgeschobene Ausbau der Bahnknoten München, Hamburg, Mannheim und Bremen.

Also, Frankfurt-Mannheim is off for now. At least the stupid Y-Trasse is delayed, hopefully for good.

One question regarding the role of 'budget buster projects': do those all-or-nothing megaprojects not compound the problem of an undersized budget? They are delayed like other projects thus they incur even higher cost due to cost inflation and so on. Reverse darwinism at work.

My point is not so much about absolute cost but about value engineering. I'd be happy to spend the €4b now to upgrade Karlsruhe-Basel even if it crowds out other projects - the 'crowding out' and 'compounding delays' problem are just mathematical facts as the SZ article shows. I'd likewise spend the money (if available) on new high-speed lines if they were truly high-speed. In my opinion however the German high-speed program has failed. If there is no dramatic turnaround (throw out the Bundesverkehrswegeplan) we might as well stop now and concentrate on upgrades. With the budget as it is, every additional expensive project has some high hurdles to clear. But most of those projects are simply functionally mediocre.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Nov 5th, 2011 at 05:02:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I emphasize some major capacity enhancement potentials which are mentioned in the study but not in my diary:

  • Cologne-Ehrang(-Trier) (corridor G on the map): a mainline that would need electrification, and could then relieve Koblenz-Ehrang as well as Cologne-Koblenz of some of the France-bound traffic.
  • Fulda-Hanau: east of Frankfurt, where the north-south line meets upon east-west traffic. At present the summit tunnel is rebuilt as a higher-capacity bi-tube tunnel, and there are long-delayed plans for partial quadruple-tracking.
  • Nienburg-Minden re-double-tracking: the Hanover-Ruhr Area line is quadruple-tracked only from Minden, so Hanover-Minden is a potential bottleneck, but with this line the node of Hanover could still be relieved.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 30th, 2011 at 02:31:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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