DESPITE driving rain, ceremonies were held on May 4 in the Bavarian town of Kissing to mark the start of work on four-tracking of German Railway's trunk line between München and Augsburg. Taking part were the Federal Finance Minister Dr Theo Waigel, Bavarian President Dr Edmund Stoiber and DB Board Member Prof Dr Ulf Häusler.

As well as forming a key link in DB's north-south domestic inter-city network, the 57·1 km route forms part of the trans-European east-west corrridor from Paris to Budapest via München and Wien. According to Häusler, the existing double track is used by 360 trains a day; the quadrupling will increase capacity and allow greater segregation of services into different speed bands.

Costed at DM1·1bn, the project will provide 12500 additional jobs during the construction phase. Financing will be split between DB and the federal government. Work is due to be completed by 2003, although DB hopes to have the Augsburg - Mering section ready in 2002.

The work will be concentrated on the 43 km section between Augsburg and Olching, where the northern freight bypass around München branches off the main line. Separate S-Bahn tracks already exist between Olching, Maisach and Nannhofen, which will mean that part of the route will become six-track.

The northern pair of tracks will be realigned for 230 km/h passenger services, with freight and regional trains concentrated onto the southern pair. As part of this realignment the station at Kissing will be moved closer to the town centre.