Hanover–Berlin high-speed railway: Wikis


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Hanover-Berlin high-speed railway
Route number: 301, 349
Line number: 6107 (ABS), 6185 (NBS)
Line length: 258 km (160.3 mi)
Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Maximum speed: 250 km/h (155.3 mph)
Stations and structures
Straight track
Station on track
0,0 Hannover Hbf (route 1730)
Station on track
4,7 Hannover Karl-Wiechert-Allee
Unknown route-map component "mKRZo"
8,0 Mittellandkanal
Unknown route-map component "AKRZu"
10,8 A7
Station on track
Lehrte (Route 6107)
Unknown route-map component "AKRZu"
238,7 A2
Station on track
231,1 Immensen-Arpke
Station on track
223,9 Dollbergen
Stop on track
219,7 Dedenhausen halt
Station on track
213,7 Meinersen
Small bridge over water
211,6 Bridge over the Oker
Stop on track
206,3 Leiferde (near Gifhorn)
Track change
205,7 Üst (crossover) Leiferde (near Gifhorn)
Station on track
198,4 Gifhorn
Unknown route-map component "mKRZu"
194,4 Elbe-Seitenkanal Tunnel
Stop on track
192,1 Calberlah
Unknown route-map component "mKRZo"
189,3 Mittellandkanal
Junction from right
186,3 Fallersleben branch
Straight track
to the Weddel loop line
Station on track
185,6 Fallersleben
Station on track
180,9 Wolfsburg
Unknown route-map component "eBHF"
176,5 Vorsfelde
Unknown route-map component "KMW"
Beginning of the new line (route 6185)
Station on track
269,2 Oebisfelde
Unknown route-map component "mKRZo"
261,5 Mittellandkanal (108 m)
Track change
238,5 Üst Gardelegen
Junction to left Track turning from right
Straight track Straight track
connection to Stendal (route 6107)
Straight track Stop on track
112,4 Möringen (Altm)
Straight track Station on track
105,1 Stendal
Straight track Straight track
km change
Straight track Straight track
Entrance to the new line (route 6427/6428)
Junction from left Track turning right
km change (route 6185)
Bridge over water
194,9 Elbebrücke Hämerten (812 m)
Track change
192,3 Üst Schönhausen (Elbe)
Bridge over water
173,1 Havel (230 m)
Junction from right
165,5 Bamme connection to the Lehrter Bahn
Straight track
(Great Bustard protection area)
Station on track
160,5 Nennhausen
Station on track
152,4 Buschow
Junction to right
148,5 Ribbeck connection to the Lehrter Bahn
Straight track
(Great Bustard protection area)
Unknown route-map component "mKRZo"
129,3 Havelkanal (86 m)
Straight track
End of the new line in Berlin–Staaken
Junction from left
116,1 Berlin Nennhauser Damm
Straight track
Grade-separated connection to Spandau
Station on track
112,5 Berlin-Spandau
Unknown route-map component "KMW"
Kilometre change
Straight track
Strecke 6025/6109 (Stadtbahn)
Station on track
11,1 Berlin-Charlottenburg
Station on track
9,0 Berlin Zoologischer Garten
Station on track
5,2 Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Station on track
4,0 Berlin Friedrichstr.
Station on track
2,2 Berlin Alexanderplatz
Station on track
0,0 Berlin Ostbahnhof
Straight track

The Hanover–Berlin high-speed railway is a 258 kilometre railway line linking the German cities of Hanover and Berlin

The Wolfsburg-Berlin section was built as a new line and runs largely parallel to the Lehrterbahn (the old Berlin-Hanover railway) opened in 1871. The whole line was opened officially on 15 September 1998 and has been in commercial service since 20 September 1998.

The overall Hanover-Berlin project (including the reorganization and upgrading of the Lehrterbahn) was carried out as German unity rail project no 4 of the federal transport plan.



The line consists of five sections: upgraded line between Hanover and Lehrte (for operations up to 160 km/h) and between Lehrte and Wolfsburg (200 km/h), the new and upgraded line between Wolfsburg and Oebisfelde (68 km altogether); the 148 km-long new line between Oebisfelde and Staaken (250 km/h) and the connection between Staaken and the Berlin Stadtbahn and Berlin station (60 to 160 km/h).

Due to its flat profile the line has few structures, apart from a cut-and-cover tunnel under the Elbe-Seitenkanal (ca. 1975) and four large bridge over the Mittellandkanal, the Elbe, the Havel and Havelkanal. The line was the first German line which was mostly constructed with slab (ballast-less) track.



In the 1980s planning began on an improved line for ICE trains for transit traffic (people who were allowed to transit, but did not have a visa to visit East Germany) between West Germany and West Berlin. In September 1988, the governments of West Germany and East Germany began negotiations in relation to the development of the Lehrterbahn for speeds up to 200 km/h.[1]

Options available were:

  • Northern route via Wolfsburg and Stendal to the old Lehrter Bahn
  • Southern route via Magdeburg and Potsdam to the Berlin-Potsdam-Magdeburger railway

In 1990 the northern route was chosen; it was the shortest and fastest connection between Berlin and Hanover and was used by the long-distance high-speed trains before World War II. The option that was favored had the transit tracks parallel with, but separately from, the existing tracks of the Lehrterbahn, which would remain available for internal East German traffic. The existing line would be used from Wolfsburg to Hanover as an upgraded line. The new and upgraded line was intended for passenger traffic and the original line for goods traffic. At several points the new and original lines were to be interconnected, including Rathenow and Stendal.

On 28 June 1990 the transport ministers of the two still separate Germans States, Horst Gibtner and Friedrich Zimmermann signed an agreement to build a high-speed line along the existing Lehrtebahn, following two years of negotiations.[2]

It was originally planned that the high-speed line would be used by a hourly IC/ICE line between Hanover and/or Braunschweig and Berlin. As a result of the expected increase of traffic due to German reunification four lines had been adopted by 1991:

Taking into regional, suburban and freight trains, planning was based on 200 trains each day (in both directions) between Berlin and Stendal for the high-speed and original routes. In consequence, it was decided that the design speed for the high-speed line would be 250 km/h, the original line would be developed for a design speed of 160 instead of 120 km/h and earthworks and structures on the largely single-track original route between Staaken and Stendal would make provision for a second track.[2]


Separation of the high speed line (right) from the Berlin-Hamburg line near Spandau

Building began on 11 November 1992 with the beginning of work on the 812 m-long Elbe bridge at Hämerten. Parallel to the building of the new line, Lehrterbahn was reorganised. At the same time construction commenced at Berlin Spandau long-distance station and on the Weddel loop line, a 21 km-long connection between Fallersleben (near Wolfsburg) and Weddel (near Braunschweig).

The 16.7 hz traction current line between Oebisfelde and Rathenow, which was brought into service on 14 March 1995, was the first traction current connection established between west and east Germany. The last viaduct was finished in October 1997 with the bridge over the Havelkanal.

During the building phase, archaeologists carried out approximately 4,000 digs in Brandenburg and made discoveries in 30 places, including finds of some objects that were over 1,500 years old.

Numerous test and acceptance runs were made with ICE S trains at up to 331 km/h between April and August 1998. Services commenced on 24 May 1998 on the Vorsfelde-Stendal section. On 15 September 1998 the whole line was officially opened.

In 2005 long-planned changes began on the eastern side of Lehrte station. On 15 January 2007 two new bridges were opened as a flying junction in Lehrte, overcoming congestion at the junction. When work on points is completed in 2008, the running speed of the main line will be raised from 60 to 120 km/h. The Federal government plans to invest 376 million for upgrades between Hanover and Lehrte between 2006 and 2010.[3]

Great Bustard protection area

East of Rathenow, near Buckow, the line runs by the 6.400 ha nature reserve of Havelländisches Luch. It is one the last refuges in Germany for the vulnerable Great Bustard, one of the largest flying birds of the world.

There were extensive discussions until 1995 in relation to measures to protect the birds, including consideration of the building of a six-km long tunnel for approximately DM one billion. In order not to disturb the birds, this would have required about seven years to build. A cut-and-cover tunnel would have cost DM 500 million. A deviation around the entire area was also examined.

In order to protect the endangered species, for a length of six km (between the 153 and 158 km marks) seven metre-high embankments were built to assist the over-flight of the birds, which have quite slow and low take-offs. The cost for this work was DM 35 million. On a 17 km-long section (between the 148.5 and the 165.5 km marks) the third track of the parallel Lehrterbahn was omitted and trains from it run on the new line. In addition on this section, the overall height of the electrification supply lines is reduced and the maximum speed is reduced to 200 km/h. An area of approximately 300 hectares was added to the nature park as compensatory habitat. This work delayed the planned opening from 1997 to 1998.

Commencement of operations

On 24 May 1998 the Wolfsburg-Oebisfelde-Stendal section of the new line entered service. The whole new line was officially opened on 15 September 1998 by the Chancellor Helmut Kohl, DB boss Johannes Ludewig and Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen. In Berlin Ostbahnhof the opening ICE was officially named the “Claus Graf Stauffenberg”, before it ran to Hanover via Stendal and Wolfsburg as ICE18952.

With the timetable change on 20 September 1998 the travel time between Berlin and Hanover was reduced from four hours and twelve minutes (1990) to one and a half hours; the Berlin-Frankfurt time was reduced to an even four hours. The drastic travel time reduction on the new line led to rising passenger numbers, as a result of the cancellation of the competing air services between Berlin and Hanover.

With the opening of the high-speed line, the two state capitals of Magdeburg and Potsdam lost their ICE connections. As a consequence there were violent protests, which led for some time to the reinstatement of occasional ICEs between Berlin and Wolfsburg on the old line.


Several ICE/IClines run across the line:

Running speeds

The new line is regularly operated between the 178 km-mark of the Lehrterbahn (near Vorsfelde) and the 118 km-mark (near Berlin-Staaken) at 250 km/h; in the Great Bustard protection area (148 to 166 km-marks) the maximum speed is 200 km/h. The upgraded line in the Lehrte–Wolfsburg–Oebisfelde section is designed for 200 km/h.

On 13 August 2001 an ICE S ran on the new line at 393 km/h. This is the second highest speed that has been achieved so far on German railways.


  1. ^ Jahresrückblick 1988 − Neu- und Ausbaustrecken. In Die Bundesbahn 1/1989, S. 58 (German)
  2. ^ a b Helmut Weber, Gernot Arnhold: Schnellverbindung Hannover–Berlin: Abschnitt Oebisfelde–Staaken ein Jahr nach Planungsstart. In Die Bundesbahn 10/1991, p 977 ff. (German)
  3. ^ Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung: Investitionsrahmenplan bis 2010 für die Verkehrsinfrastruktur des Bundes, April 2007 (German)


This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
  • Erich Preuß: Die Schnellbahn Hannover–Berlin. Geramond-Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3932785312. (German)
  • Jürgen Hörstel: Hannover–Berlin. Geschichte und Bau einer Schnellbahnverbindung. Transpress-Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3613710889 (German)

External links

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