MOSTLY funded by the federal government, a €3·5bn package to upgrade the Berlin S-Bahn, renew several lines in Brandenburg and build a link to the expanded Schönefeld airport was unveiled by DB Netz on August 23.

Berlin will receive the majority of the money, with €2bn destined to be spent in and around the city. Major projects to be undertaken by 2011 include rebuilding the junction and station at Ostkreuz, one of the most congested on the S-Bahn network, and reinstating part of the former Dresdner Bahn to serve the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport.

The airport, which will become the city principal air hub once construction is complete in 2011, is being built as an extension of the current Schönefeld facility, which is already served by S-Bahn lines S9 and S45 and DB Regio services. It is envisaged that the new airport will be served by inter-city services as well from 2011 via a connection at Lichtenrade from the north-south line through Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

The remaining €1·5bn will be spent on upgrading the main lines from Berlin to Cottbus and Dresden and renewing the bridge over the River Oder in Frankfurt. Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg is keen for DB Netz to improve maintenance standards and remove a number of speed restrictions in the region which it believes are delaying local services.