Impression of the south portal of the Laiming tunnel (Image: Deutsche Bahn)

EUROPE: The preferred alignment for the cross-border northern approach route to the Brenner Base Tunnel has been announced by Deutsche Bahn, Austrian Federal Railways and Germany’s Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure.

Five alignments had been proposed, with the Violet Route option selected following a comprehensive examination of ecological, urban, geological and hydrogeological factors.

This begins at Schaftenau, northeast of Wörgl and runs through the municipalities of Kiefersfelden, Oberaudorf and Stephanskirchen to Ostermünchen, bypassing the current border station of Kufstein and a major junction at Rosenheim.

Around 47·5 km would be in Germany and 6·5 km in Austria. Approximately 60% of the route would be underground, including the 12·9 km Steinkirchen tunnel in Germany, the 13 km cross-border Laiming tunnel, and the 5·5 km Ringerfeld tunnel under Stephanskirchen east of Rosenheim.

German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer said ‘in a broad public dialogue, we discussed numerous scenarios openly, transparently and constructively with the local people’, and while the chosen route has the highest proportion of tunnel, this would help to protect people and the environment.

There would be connections with existing lines at Schaftenau, north of Niederaudorf and near Ostermünchen.

The cost is estimated at €6·7bn to €7·2bn, with opening envisaged in 2038.

‘After six years of planning, a decisive milestone has been reached in the project’, said Klaus-Dieter Josel, the DB representative for Bayern. ‘More than in any other project before, our planners conducted an intensive dialogue with the people in the region. I am sure that the route we have determined is the best one for this area. Our goal is to shift even more traffic to environmentally friendly mode of railway transport.’

Brenner northern approach route
Section Length, km Status
Innsbruck bypass 14·9 opened 1994
Baumkirchen – Radfeld 37·5 opened 2012
Radfeld – Schaftenau 20·5 planning underway
Schaftenau – Ostermünchen 54 route defined
Großkarolinenfeld/Ostermünchen – Grafing   early planning
Grafing – München-Trudering   early planning