The tunnel is in east Hessen between the stations of Fulda and Würzburg. Between the northern tunnel entrance of Kalbach (50° 24′ 22″N, 9° 39′3″E) and the southern end at Mottgers (50° 18′35″N, 9° 39′47″E) it crosses the Landrücken range which forms the Rhein-Weser drainage divide dividing the river basins of the Fulda and Main.
Description of tunnel
The double-track Landrücken Tunnel was built using the New Austrian Tunnelling method working from the north portal, known as "Baulos Nord" and two side accesses ("Baulos Mitte" and "Baulos Süd"). In addition, three shafts were established for ventilation during tunnel boring.
The tunnel opened in 1988 with a total tunnel cross section of 100 to 110 square metres (1,100 to 1,200 sq ft) and a maximum 1.25% gradient. It surpassed the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Tunnel near Cochem as the longest railway tunnel in Germany.
- length: 10,779 m (35,364 ft)
- year of opening: 1988
- tracks: two
- track separation: 4.70 m (15.4 ft)
- tunnel cross section area: 100 to 110 m2 (1,100 to 1,200 sq ft)
- steepest gradient: 1.25%
- speed limit: 250 km/h (160 mph)
- equipment: Electrified, LZB signalling, "Zugfunk" radio, GSM-R, BOS-Funk, C-Netz (from 1992 to 2000), GSM900/1800 (T-mobile, Vodafone and Eplus since the middle of 2006), FM radio, wind direction measuring system, two emergency exits)
On April 26, 2008, at 9:05pm, ICE train 885 derailed at 215 kilometres per hour (134 mph) inside the tunnel on its way from Hamburg to Munich with 170 people on board. The train collided with a herd of sheep that strayed in the tunnel. 25 people were injured, 12 of the 14 cars were derailed.
A few kilometers west of the Landrücken Tunnel, the Distelrasen-Tunnel built in 1914, near Schlüchtern-Elm on the Kinzig Valley Railway, was the first railway to traverse the Landrücken drainage divide.
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