Berlin - Hamburg track renewals (Photo: DB Netz)

GERMANY: Work to relay tracks on the busy Hamburg – Berlin main line via Wittenberge was completed on schedule on December 12, allowing reintroduction of 230 km/h running for inter-city services with timings of around 1 h 45 min between the Hauptbahnhof in each city.

The line had been closed since September 11 to allow the relaying work to take place, with ICE services diverted via Uelzen, Salzwedel and Stendal and some trains curtailed or replaced by buses. Deutsche Bahn has now restored services to the previous level with around 30 ICE, IC or EC trains a day in each direction; many southbound services continue beyond Berlin to Erfurt and München.

The €100m project involved relaying around 400 km of track and renewal of about 15 000 sleepers and 30 000 tonnes of ballast. Signalling and train control equipment was also replaced and 24 turnouts relaid.

Vossloh was responsible for supplying new long-welded rails ‘on a just-in-time basis’ The company said that ‘34 long rail units have been working on the project in a logistical masterstroke, mainly at weekends and at night, in order to minimise the impact on traffic’.

Chief Operating Officer of Vossloh Jan Furnivall said that ‘with the implementation of this major project on one of Germany’s most important rail links, we have jointly accomplished a truly Herculean task.’