2.5 hours by train between Copenhagen and Hamburg is a closer reality

Sep 29, 2019 | Infrastrukture

On 2 December, The German Bundestag has adopted a total of three building laws for the construction and upgrading of roads, railways and waterways which are gathered in the Federal Infrastructure Plan 2030. With this plan, the German rail connection to the upcoming Fehmnarbelt Tunnel has been given priority status. Whether there will be a speed of 200 km/h on the whole route, or only on the newly built part of the line, is now to be investigated further.

Travel times by train of around 2.5 hours from Copenhagen to Hamburg after the opening of the Fixed Fehmarn Connection at the end of 2028 has moved closer to reality. After the Bundestag gave the green light for the Federal Infrastructure Plan on December 2 it is clear: Rail connection to the Fehmarn Link has received the status ‘Priority Project’ and is now financially secured.

An additional 108 million € (about 805 million DKR), that the Bundestag Budget Committee had previously granted to, amongst other things, studies of the upgrade of the railway line from the original 160 km/h to 200 km/h, must now provide further clarity. With tracks for speeds of 200 km/h, municipalities along the line could be relieved: They would then be exempt from having to finance their share of railway crossings, their security and the construction of additional noise barriers.

– We are pleased to have noted the grant from the Bundestag’s Budget Committee and the Bundestag’s adoption of building laws to the Federal Infrastructure Plan. The expansion of the railway connection to the Fehmarnbelt Connection from 160 km/h to 200 km/h for the newly built sections has already been discussed in recent months and weeks. There has also been carried out a first feasibility study, spokeswoman for DB Grossprojekte, Maja Weihgold, stated.

Speeds of 200 km/h all the way?

It is still not decided whether there will be speeds of 200 km/h throughout the entire length of the journey.

– The current studies have focused on the newly built sections and a few sections of the existing line, explains Maja Weihgold.

– Following the Budget Committee’s authorization and the Bundestag law, we will now discuss with our client, the Federal Ministry of Transport, the further framework and details. It will therefore depend on whether the ministry asks us: ‘Look into 200 km/h for the entire stretch’ or ‘examine the possibility of obtaining a travel time between Hamburg and Copenhagen around 2.5 hours’, the DB spokeswoman point out.

Delays due to freight

The question is how the wish for shorter travel time can work together with the capacity for slow freight trains that can only run at 120 km/h.

– Of course, we have already planned for fast tracks. Whether, or indeed how, these should be further adjusted, future planning must show, says Weihgold.

In the now adopted Federal Infrastructure Plan, fast tracks with a length of 850 have been introduced. In addition, the plan made it possible to add additional fast tracks for freight trains over 750 m length throughout the whole of Germany if needed. In Denmark they have planned for similar fast track.


FACTS on Federal Infrastructure Plan 2030:


In the next 15 years, it is now possible to realize or plan for more than 1,000 traffic projects. The total volume of the funding is more than 270 billion € (about 2,011.5 billion DKR). Roughly 70% of the funds are allocated to maintenance and modernization of the networks. Half of the money will go to rail projects (41.6% respectively. 112.3 billion € (about 836.7 billion DKR)) and waterway (9% respectively. 24.5 billion. € (approximately 182.6 billion DKR) ). 49.3% of the funds go to road projects (132.8 billion € (around 989.4 billion. DKR)) (Source: Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Berlin)


Find Federal Infrastructure Plan (German) here:

The short version

The entire version


In connection with the adoption of laws build on 2 December 2016 made minor changes to the plan, according to information from the Bundestag.

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