INTRO: Opening of the Berlin - Hannover high speed lineon September 15 puts the German capital on Europe’s high speed network. Ralf Roman Rossberg reports

CHANCELLOR Helmut Kohl was due to preside at the formal inauguration of the 263 km Berlin - Hannover high speed line on September 15. Commercial services were due to follow on September 27, the same day that Kohl’s fate at the national election would be decided.

A high speed line has reached Berlin for the first time, and over the 250 km between Berlin Zoo and Hannover Hbf journey times are cut by practically 1h to 1h 47min, with ICE services calling only at Berlin Spandau or Wolfsburg averaging 142·4 km/h. Yet they are just 7min faster than the very respectable timing allowed for the FDt18 Fliegender K