INTRO: A budget shortfall means Germany’s ambitious proposals for new lines have been scaled back, although 66 projects are still going ahead between now and 2008

RESPONSIBILITY for capital expenditure on rail infrastructure in Germany falls to the federal government under the legislation which set up DB AG; this also made provision for extension of the 35755 route-km network. These funds are provided as interest-free loans or non-repayable investment grants. With the German economy in the doldrums, ambitious plans for expansion over the next 10 years have had to be cut back.

New line and upgrading projects to be carried out in 2004-15 were listed in the federal transport infrastructure programme announced on March 20 2003. Of a total spend of around €150bn, rail was set to receive €63·9bn, and of this €25·5bn was to be spent on new lines or upgrading projects.

With proposals to implement a lorry motorway tax postponed and the need to curtail government spending, a rail projects review was instigated earlier this year. The transport ministry and DB AG examined all current and planned projects, announcing the results of their consultation in July.

Instead of an ambitious medium and long-term programme that included further high speed lines such as a Y-shaped route from Hannover to Hamburg and Bremen, the review envisages that just €3·09bn would be earmarked for expenditure on new projects or those already in hand up to 2008. Spending of €2·5bn a year will be available for renewals and improvements to the existing network in the next four years.

A phased programme of work has been agreed, the emphasis being on allowing committed projects to proceed. DB AG and the ministry have also agreed to review the programme if additional budget funding up to a total of €1bn should become available. This would allow some projects to be accelerated and others to be started.

The agreement sees DB AG funding outstanding work on the Nürnberg - München new line and upgrading project (p571), with DB AG undertaking not to exceed a ceiling set by the ministry. State funding will pay for the other works, including improvements to the Augsburg - München main line costing €185m.

Berlin projects

The single most expensive project to survive the review is the north-south inter-city link being built across Berlin with interchange to the Stadtbahn at Hauptbahnhof (formerly Lehrter); this will absorb €375m by 2008. A further €132m is destined for improvements to the Berlin inner ring, with €83m for the Anhalter Bahn and €74m for reconstruction at Ostkreuz. Other schemes in Berlin will cost a total of €57m.

Upgrading of the important Hamburg - Berlin main line is to continue, with a two-stage programme costing €179m to complete work for 230 km/h operation.

The long-standing project to provide a fast link between Berlin and München using a mix of new and upgraded lines will absorb a total of €528m; this includes €59m for Berlin to Halle and Leipzig and €128m for work between Leipzig and Dresden, but this total excludes work south of Nürnberg. Between Nürnberg and Erfurt a new line from Erfurt to Ilmenau will cost €56m, with a further €109m adding a new section from there to Ebensfeld. Upgrading from Ebensfeld to Nürnberg, plus construction of a third track between Nürnberg and Fürth, will require €10m. Works between Erfurt, Halle and Leipzig are to cost €166m.

Upgrading planned between Paderborn and Chemnitz is to cost €84m, while upgrading of the Karlsruhe - Nürnberg Leipzig/Dresden corridor is expected to absorb €143m. Additional works are planned in Halle, Leipzig and Erfurt, and these will cost €147m, while €24m is to be spent on improvements between Berlin and Dresden.

Upgrading of the K