Wendlingen – Ulm high speed line (Photo Deutsche Bahn) (2)

GERMANY: ‘Stuttgart and Ulm are moving closer together, but also Paris and Budapest’, said Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann at the official inauguration of the 59∙6 km Wendlingen – Ulm high speed line two days before revenue services started with the December 11 timetable change.

The importance of the 250 km/h line ‘extends far beyond the region’, added Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz. ‘It is the new pacesetter for our rail network. The benefits for people and for the economy are enormous today. And the benefits will be even bigger when Stuttgart 21 opens in three years.’

Wendlingen – Ulm high speed line inauguration (Photo: Deutsche Bahn)

Michael Theurer, Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport, said the opening marked ‘a milestone for the implementation of the Deutschlandtakt and part of the international axis from Paris through Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Ulm, and München to Wien and Bratislava’. The new line would release capacity on the existing Filstal route ‘for local traffic, but above all for freight.’

Construction of the line has taken 10 years at a cost of €3∙98bn. The European Union has contributed €568m, reflecting the project’s European dimension.

Just over half of the Neubaustrecke through the Schwäbische Alb hills runs in tunnel, with major works including the 8 808 m Boßler and 8 174 m Albvorland tunnels. A 485 m long and 85 m high bridge over the Filstal and A8 motorway is now the third highest railway bridge in Germany. There is one station, at Merklingen.

Wendlingen – Ulm high speed line (Photo: Deutsche Bahn)

Opening of the new line has enabled the number of long distance services between Stuttgart and München to be increased from about 70 to 90 trips each way per day, with the fastest journey times being cut by around 15 min.

The commissioning of the Stuttgart 21 remodelling project will bring further improvements, with Stuttgart – Ulm journey times being cut to around 30 min. Direct services will begin running from Ulm to Stuttgart Airport, the city’s exhibition centre and the Filder area in 2027.

Wendlingen – Ulm high speed line (Photo: Deutsche Bahn)

DB is currently evaluating options for a high speed route from Ulm to Augsburg which would cut about 15 min off today’s 45 min journey time, and expects to define a preferred option by the end of 2024.

  • Subscribers can read a detailed article on the Wendlingen – Ulm project which appeared in the September 2022 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine