closed corridors

German network overhaul at full steam; here are the latest updates

Image: Deutshce Bahn AG / Uli Planz

Amidst a wave of railway infrastructure renovations expected to occur in Germany in the coming weeks and months, more information surfaces regarding the closure and substitution of routes. As the German Federal Government underlined during a parliamentary discussion, the Hamburg-Berlin route is set to experience a nine-month closure in two sections between August 2025 and April 2026. At the same time, other crucial corridors are already bracing for closures, which will begin in a matter of days.

Regarding the Hamburg-Berlin corridor, an important route linking Germany’s largest port and its capital, two sections, the Hamburg-Rothenburgsort and Berlin-Spandau, will be fully closed between 1 August 2025 and 30 April 2026. At the same time, several other sections of the line will be closed by rotation to carry out work.

The sections to be closed for nine months affect short distances between the hubs and locations at the Hamburg and Berlin premises. The federal government stressed that this route has available freight alternatives, with trains possibly being redirected via Werder, Magdeburg, and Braunschweig.

Riedbahn overhaul begins

A landmark infrastructure upgrade project will begin in Germany on 15 July 2024. The Frankfurt am Main-Mannheim line (Riedbahn), one of the busiest routes in Germany, facilitating around 300 trains per day and an integral part of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, will enter a five-month upgrade phase until December.

In preparation for the work, Deutsche Bahn implemented a route diversion rehearsal between January and February 2024, paving the way for the actual services’ rerouting this summer. Specifically, DB implemented two diversion routes between Frankfurt and Mannheim, which will run parallel to the main line. One diversion route will run between Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Heidelberg, and Mannheim, while the other will link Frankfurt and Mannheim via Mainz and Worms.

DB did not specify which route will be preferred for rail freight traffic. However, the company stressed that tests during the rehearsal proved that freight traffic could run smoothly via the diversion routes, hopefully signalling smooth operations.

More work is on the way

DB will also carry out a series of other works in addition to the flagship projects. Below, you can find an analytical overview of the upcoming route upgrades and their timing.

2025: Hamburg–Berlin, Emmerich–Oberhausen.

2026: Hamburg–Hannover (subject to further decisions), Hagen–Wuppertal–Cologne, Troisdorf–Koblenz, Koblenz–Wiesbaden, Nuremberg–Regensburg, Obertraubling–Passau.

2027: Lübeck–Hamburg, Bremerhaven–Bremen, Lehrte–Berlin, Hamm–Düsseldorf–Cologne, Frankfurt/Main–Heidelberg, Munich–Rosenheim, Rosenheim–Salzburg.

2028: Bremen–Hamburg, Nordstemmen–Göttingen, Uelzen–Stendal, Stendal–Magdeburg, Hagen–Unna–Hamm, Cologne–Bonn–Koblenz, Koblenz–Mainz, Bebra–Fulda, Würzburg–Nuremberg.

2029: Hamburg–Hannover (subject to further decisions), Bremen/Rotenburg–Wunstorf, Lehrte–Gross-Gleidingen, Bebra–Erfurt, Aachen–Cologne, Forbach–Ludwigshafen, Stuttgart–Ulm (old line).

2030: Bremen-Osnabrück, Osnabrück–Münster, Münster–Recklinghausen, Minden–Wunstorf, Weddel–Magdeburg, Kassel–Friedberg, Würzburg–Ansbach–Treuchtlingen, Mannheim–Karlsruhe, Ulm–Augsburg.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is the Chief Editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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German network overhaul at full steam; here are the latest updates | RailFreight.com
closed corridors

German network overhaul at full steam; here are the latest updates

Image: Deutshce Bahn AG / Uli Planz

Amidst a wave of railway infrastructure renovations expected to occur in Germany in the coming weeks and months, more information surfaces regarding the closure and substitution of routes. As the German Federal Government underlined during a parliamentary discussion, the Hamburg-Berlin route is set to experience a nine-month closure in two sections between August 2025 and April 2026. At the same time, other crucial corridors are already bracing for closures, which will begin in a matter of days.

Regarding the Hamburg-Berlin corridor, an important route linking Germany’s largest port and its capital, two sections, the Hamburg-Rothenburgsort and Berlin-Spandau, will be fully closed between 1 August 2025 and 30 April 2026. At the same time, several other sections of the line will be closed by rotation to carry out work.

The sections to be closed for nine months affect short distances between the hubs and locations at the Hamburg and Berlin premises. The federal government stressed that this route has available freight alternatives, with trains possibly being redirected via Werder, Magdeburg, and Braunschweig.

Riedbahn overhaul begins

A landmark infrastructure upgrade project will begin in Germany on 15 July 2024. The Frankfurt am Main-Mannheim line (Riedbahn), one of the busiest routes in Germany, facilitating around 300 trains per day and an integral part of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, will enter a five-month upgrade phase until December.

In preparation for the work, Deutsche Bahn implemented a route diversion rehearsal between January and February 2024, paving the way for the actual services’ rerouting this summer. Specifically, DB implemented two diversion routes between Frankfurt and Mannheim, which will run parallel to the main line. One diversion route will run between Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Heidelberg, and Mannheim, while the other will link Frankfurt and Mannheim via Mainz and Worms.

DB did not specify which route will be preferred for rail freight traffic. However, the company stressed that tests during the rehearsal proved that freight traffic could run smoothly via the diversion routes, hopefully signalling smooth operations.

More work is on the way

DB will also carry out a series of other works in addition to the flagship projects. Below, you can find an analytical overview of the upcoming route upgrades and their timing.

2025: Hamburg–Berlin, Emmerich–Oberhausen.

2026: Hamburg–Hannover (subject to further decisions), Hagen–Wuppertal–Cologne, Troisdorf–Koblenz, Koblenz–Wiesbaden, Nuremberg–Regensburg, Obertraubling–Passau.

2027: Lübeck–Hamburg, Bremerhaven–Bremen, Lehrte–Berlin, Hamm–Düsseldorf–Cologne, Frankfurt/Main–Heidelberg, Munich–Rosenheim, Rosenheim–Salzburg.

2028: Bremen–Hamburg, Nordstemmen–Göttingen, Uelzen–Stendal, Stendal–Magdeburg, Hagen–Unna–Hamm, Cologne–Bonn–Koblenz, Koblenz–Mainz, Bebra–Fulda, Würzburg–Nuremberg.

2029: Hamburg–Hannover (subject to further decisions), Bremen/Rotenburg–Wunstorf, Lehrte–Gross-Gleidingen, Bebra–Erfurt, Aachen–Cologne, Forbach–Ludwigshafen, Stuttgart–Ulm (old line).

2030: Bremen-Osnabrück, Osnabrück–Münster, Münster–Recklinghausen, Minden–Wunstorf, Weddel–Magdeburg, Kassel–Friedberg, Würzburg–Ansbach–Treuchtlingen, Mannheim–Karlsruhe, Ulm–Augsburg.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is the Chief Editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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