Nuremberg–Erfurt high-speed railway

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Nuremberg-Erfurt high-speed line
Line length: 107 km (66.5 mi)
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Maximum incline: 2  %
Minimum radius: 3,700 m (12,139 ft)
From Weimar and Leipzig/Halle HSL
106,861 Erfurt Hbf
Thuringian Railway branch
102.400 Gera viaduct, Bischleben (323 m)
100.900 Augustaburg crossover
100.520 Augustaburg Tunnel (1,404 m)
99.065 Apfelstädt viaduct (256 m), To Eisenach
96.930 Molsdorf bridge (89 m). A 4
95.650 Gera viaduct, Ichtershausen (1,121 m)
92.060 Eischleben maintenance station
Arnstadt–Saalfeld Railway
81.169 Behringen Tunnel (467 m)
81.000 Behringen crossover
79.980 Wipfra viaduct (172 m), A 71
78.164 Sandberg Tunnel (1,320 m)
76.200 Humbach viaduct (290 m)
74.330 Röstal bridge(130 m)
72.300 Wümbach viaduct (570 m)
71.000 Ilmenau
68.330 Ilm viaduct (1,681 m), Ilmenau–Großbreitenbach
67.625 Tragberg Tunnel (500 m)
66.420 Lohmeberg Tunnel (688 m)
66.330 Schobse viaduct (87 m)
64.635 Brandkopf Tunnel (1493 m)
64.460 Wohlrose viaduct (150 m)
57.006 Silberberg Tunnel (7,391 m)
56.463 Oelze viaduct (370 m)
54.904 Tunnel Fleckberg (1490 m)
54.685 Massertal crossover
54.034 Masse viaduct (385 m)
52.853 Masserberg Tunnel (1,051 m)
52.649 Reh viaduct (203 m)
51.991 Rehberg Tunnel (602 m)
51.704 Dunkel viaduct (291 m)
51.275 Gruben viaduct (215 m)
50.061 Goldberg Tunnel (1,163 m)
50.016 Saubach bridge
41.637 Bleßberg Tunnel (8,314 m)
40.926 Truckenthal viaduct (425 m)
40.880 Theuern maintenance station
38.244 Baumleite Tunnel (1,317 m)
37.040 Grümpen viaduct (1,104 m). Hinterland Railway
35.820 Müß Tunnel (745 m)
Thuringia / Bavaria border
33.062 Talbrücke Froschgrundsee viaduct (798 m)
32.390 Talbrücke Pöpelholz viaduct (306 m)
28.575 Reitersberg Tunnel (2,975 m)
28.259 Fornbach bridge (150 m)
25.900 Dörfles-Esbach junction
A 73 (221 m)
24.596 Itz viaduct (868 m). To Sonneberg
23.965 Rödental maintenance station
21.940 Feuerfelsen Tunnel (1,043 m). A 73
21.140 Kiengrund bridge (108 m)
19.520 Rennberg Tunnel (1,072 m)
18.056 Füllbach viaduct (1,012 m). From Lichtenfels
[B 303 (106 m)
Füllbach bridge (90 m)
17.182 Höhnberg/Füllbach tunnels (824 m/1,113 m)
16.258 Niederfüllbach junction
15.144 Weißenbrunn am Forst viaduct (614 m)
14.250 Mühlbach bridge (175 m)
12.198 Lichtenholz Tunnel (931 m)
9.574 Kulch Tunnel (1331 m)
8.625 Stadelbach bridge (90 m)
4.246 Eierberge Tunnel (3756 m)
4.010 Flutmulden bridge, Wiesen (88 m)
2.756 Main bridge, Wiesen (219 m)
From Hof
0.0 Ebensfeld
From Bamberg

The Nuremberg-Erfurt high-speed rail line is a 190 km-long German high-speed railway under construction, between Nuremberg and Erfurt. It consists of an upgraded line between Nuremberg and Ebensfeld and a new line between Ebensfeld and Erfurt. Parts of the new line have been under construction since 1996.

The line listed in the Germany's federal transport plan as German Unity rail project no 8.1 and is a section of the high-speed route between Berlin and Munich and a section of the line connecting Italy and Scandinavia in the European Union’s Trans-European Rail network.[1] It connects in the north to the Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle high-speed rail line and in the south to the Nuremberg-Munich high-speed rail line. After completion of all the new lines the travel time from Munich to Berlin will fall to under four hours. The line is part of the Line 1 of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T).

The line is to be used by fast long-distance passenger trains (ICEs) and freight trains. Construction commenced in April 1996; three years later construction was stopped by the new red-green coalition government formed after the 1998 election and only recommenced in 2002. In December 2008, the Federal Transport Minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee announced additional funding for the project to enable it to be completed by 2016,[2] compared to the original planned opening in 2004/05.[3] Currently, the line is scheduled to be opened in December 2017.[4]

The total cost of the project is estimated to be €5.1 billion;[5] in the 1990s it was estimated to be €3.75 billion. Costs have increased due to inflation and because additional infrastructure is now required. Total expenditure on the line until the end of 2007 was €833 million.[6]

The project is being managed by DB ProjektBau, a subsidiary Deutsche Bahn.


Planning began on the line in 1991. Planning has been based on a projection of 137 services per day in each direction on the new line. This would include hourly long-distance passenger services, with nine services per day stopping in Coburg and Ilmenau-Wolfsberg. Goods trains are planned to operate mainly between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.[7] According to the plan, 1.8 million additional travelers per year will use the line, leading to an increase of about 800 million person-kilometres. This is based on the diversion of approximately one million people from road and approximately 700,000 from air transport. DB Netz (the owner of the new infrastructure) forecasts that when the line is open, it will collect revenue of € 37.3 millions per year (2002 prices) from infrastructure users.[7]

The economical value of the line is strongly disputed, since it is not possible to use the route for more than one long-distance passenger route, as is the case on the current hourly service on the Lichtenfels-Saalfeld line, which it will replace. Support for the line comes mainly from the states of Thuringia and Bavaria for local political reasons.

Ebensfeld–Erfurt new line[edit]

The new line begins north of Ebensfeld near the 20.4 kilometre-mark on the Bamberg-Lichtenfels line and ends in Erfurt. It crosses the Thuringian Forest at a height of approximately 600 m above sea level. The route's design is based on a normal maximum grade of 1.25%, rising occasionally to 2% as well as a normal minimum curve radius of 6,300 m and an occasional minimum radius of 3,700 m with a design speed of 300 km/h. The line has a length of 107 km, about 34 km of which is in Bavaria and the remaining 73 km is in Thuringia.

Fifty per cent of the planned line consists of tunnels, viaducts and bridges – the highest proportion yet for a new line in Germany. Its 22 tunnels have a total length of 41 km; the two longest are the 8,314 m-long Blessberg tunnel and the 7,315 m-long Silberberg tunnel. Its 29 viaducts have a total length of 12 km; the longest is the 1,681 m-long Ilmtalbrücke. In addition another 46 road and path crossings are planned. The line is being built with slab track.

Electric power will be suppled by three substations in Roth, Ilmenau and Eischleben, attached to two new branch lines of the traction current system. The planned construction will produce an earth surplus of 16 million cubic metres[8] requiring special spoil dumps, including one of 54.8 ha, up to 27 m deep to dispose of 1.8 million cubic metres.

Erfurt–Ilmenau line[edit]

Starting from Erfurt station the line runs west through the Gera valley on the northern side of the tracks of the Thüringer Bahn (Halle-Bebra line). It separates from the Thüringer Bahn before Erfurt Bischleben to follow the river and road bypass into the Augustaburg tunnel. After the tunnel the route turns to the south to run on the western side of the Autobahn A 71. It crosses the Apfelstädt river on the Apfelstädt viaduct, a highway and the Thüringer Bahn. It then goes over the Ichtershausen Gera viaduct, which crosses Autobahn A 4 at the Erfurt Kreuz intersection with the A 71 and the Gera river. It goes on to Neuroda now running on the eastern side of the A 71. It runs into the Sandberg tunnel going under and separating from the A 71. The next seven kilometres includes the Wümbach viaduct leading to the new station at Ilmenau. After Ilmenau the line passes through the Thuringian Forest with nine tunnels with an overall length of more than 22 km.

Situation in 2008[edit]

In April 1996, construction commenced on the section bundled with the A 71 between Erfurt and Arnstadt. Approximately 35 km of line between Erfurt and Ilmenau was almost finished by the end of 2005 and about €700 million had been allocated to it. This section includes three tunnels (Augustaburg, Behringen and Sandberg) and among other things the 1,100 m-long Ichtershausen Gera viaduct and the 570 m-long Wümbach viaduct. In November 2005, the first part of the new line was opened in Erfurt Hauptbahnhof, consisting of new track and ICE platforms. At the Coburg end of the line the body of the Itz viaduct, the neighbouring 221 m long tunnel, the connecting curve at Dörfles Esbach and a road crossing had also been finished by 2005.

In 2005, work started on the Stelzen intermediate access tunnel to the Blessberg tunnel as well as the construction of about 20 km of access roads in the Thuringia Forest. In June 2006, preparations commenced for the building of the Grümpen viaduct (access roads, water pipelines and power). Its 270 m span arch was followed in the autumn by the Froschgrundsee viaduct. This is also an arch bridge with the same span length, which set new records for spans on European arch bridges built for railways. They are due to be completed in 2009 along with the Truckenthal and Pöpelholz viaducts. In addition, work started on building the main-bore of the 8,314 m-long Blessberg tunnel in November 2006.[9] On 30 March 2008, the work on the Blessberg tunnel lead to the discovery of a large limestone cave.

In April 2007 work commenced on the Ilm viaduct and in May work commenced on the Füllbach bridge. In May 2007 Deutsche Bahn advertised Europe-wide tenders for the building of a one-km section of the line including the Tragberg Tunnel.[10] At the end of May 2007 work began on the building of the Füllbach viaduct.[11] Work began on the Froschgrundsee and Pöpelholz viaducts by September 2007. The contract for constructing the 7,391 m-long Silberberg tunnel was awarded on 26 March 2009. Construction formally started on 11 September 2009.[12]


Although there has been speculation that the line may not be opened before 2020, the Federal Government and Deutsche Bahn stated in December 2006 that the completion date for the new line would be 2016.[13]

Nuremberg–Ebensfeld upgraded line[edit]

Nuremberg–Ebensfeld upgraded line
Route number: 820, 891.2
Line number: 5900, 5100
Line length: 83
From Munich
0.0 Nuremberg Hbf
7.7 Fürth (Bay) Hbf
23.5 Erlangen
24.9 Burgberg tunnel(307 m)
Second tunnel next to the 1844 tunnel
BambergKilometre change
20.2 Ebensfeld
20,5 To Hof
HSL to Erfurt

Also see: Nuremberg–Bamberg railway

The 83 km long line is part of the existing railway highway circuit from Nuremberg via Saalfeld to Halle and is being upgraded to a maximum speed up to 230  km/h trains. In addition the entire route is being converted to four tracks. Between Nuremberg and Forchheim this is being carried out as part of the development of the Nuremberg S-Bahn. Seven kilometers of the overall length of the upgraded line will consist of two planned tunnels, in addition two new viaducts are planned with a total length of 400 m.

Platforms in Nuremberg station must be adapted for the S-Bahn. A goods line is being built between the Nuremberg marshalling yard and Eltersdorf including a 6,800 metre-long tunnel under Fürth, avoiding conflicts between passenger and goods trains in Fürth station. Construction work on the Nürnberg-Fürth section began with the turning of the first sod on 10 August 2006 and is due to be completed by the end of 2010. In the future one track will be used by S-Bahn services and the other three will be used by regional and long-distance trains. All four tracks operate in both directions and lead directly into Nuremberg station. Other measures to be carried out on the route include the removal of level crossings.[7] Planning has not been completed on some parts of the line.

The Nürnberg-Bamberg line is well suited to development as a high-speed line, as it runs in the broad and straight Regnitz valley and in particular between Erlangen and Bamberg is nearly flat and has wide curves. The Forchheim-Bamberg section already permits a constant maximum speed of 160 km/h for all services, and was often used in the past for test runs with new trains. Northeast of Bamberg the line runs through the Main valley, which is also very flat. Between Fürth and Erlangen there are sharper curves, particularly between Fürth and Fürth-Unterfarrnbach and north of Vach station where the line passes underneath the A 73 autobahn, where the maximum speed is 140  km/h. Between Fürth and Erlangen construction will be necessary to straighten the line and to remove many level crossings.


The total costs of the project is estimated to be € 4.583 billion (May 2006 prices). Up to 31 December 2005, about euro 705 million had been invested into the project, about € 550 million of it into the new line.[7]


  1. ^ "TEN-T priority axes and projects 2005" (PDF). Trans-European Transport Network. European Commission. 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-15.  (14.4 MB
  2. ^ "Neues Geld für ICE-Trasse in Aussicht" (in German). Freies Wort. 3 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "ICE schon 2016" (in German). Coburger Neue Presse. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Nürnberg–Berlin Abschnitt Neubaustrecke Ebensfeld–Erfurt Streckenkarte" (in German). Deutsche Bahn. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Im ICE nach Coburg oder an Coburg vorbei?" (in German). Coburger Neue Presse. 1 September 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "Sachstandsbericht Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit (Progress report on German Unity Transport Projects)" (PDF) (in German). Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs. July 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d Answers to parliamentary questions from Dr. Anton Hofreiter, Winfried Hermann, Peter Hettlich, other delegates and the Alliance '90/The Greens party on Nuremberg-Erfurt high-speed line, Issue 16/1217 of the German parliamentary report of 5 May 2006 (German)
  8. ^ In designing transport projects, engineers aim to balance the earth extracted with fill requirements, so that additional quarries and dumps are minimised. However, the ability to implement a balance can be limited because embankments often have undesirable environmental impacts and cuttings or tunnels are often desirable to minimise noise impacts. In this case the earth extracted from tunnels and cuttings exceeds the earth required for embankments.
  9. ^ "Work starts on 8km NBS tunnel". Today’s Railways Europe (135): 45. March 2007. ISSN 1475 9713. 
  10. ^ "D-Erfurt: railway tunnel". Ted. Official Journal of the European Union. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  11. ^ Schmuckkästchen für die keimfreie Zukunft. In Freies Wort of 23 May 2007 (German)
  12. ^ "Baustart für Silberbergtunnel an ICE-Trasse (Construction starts on Silberberg Tunnel on ICE route)" (in German). Südthüringer Zeitung (South Thuringa News). 11 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Bundestag: Unterstützerkreis für ICE-Strecke Nürnberg–Leipzig gegründet, of 20 December 2006 (German)


This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°30′45″N 10°59′38″E / 50.51250°N 10.99389°E / 50.51250; 10.99389