Leipzig’s new city tunnel – the backbone of a new network
11 April 2014 • Author(s): Oliver Mietzsch, General Manager, Greater Leipzig Railway Authority Association (ZVNL)
On 15 December 2013, the Leipzig City Tunnel was opened for commercial service. Despite some delays in completing the new underground infrastructure which ended up costing double the initially planned €450 million capital investment, statements from industry-officials made during an opening ceremony were full of pride about the completion of one of Germany’s major infrastructure projects.
However, the new Leipzig City Tunnel is far more than a new underground infrastructure that links the two remaining Leipzig head stations – Leipzig Hauptbahnhof and Leipzig Bayerischer Bahnhof. It will become the backbone of a new railway network, consisting of six regional rail – way lines in Central Germany. In addition, the tunnel will also allow for long-distance railway services, provided they fit into the tight regional railway timetable schedule.
Every five minutes commuter trains will run through the tunnel in each direction with an estimated passenger volume of 60,000 per day (minimum). They will provide connections to all directions: from the neighbouring city of Halle in the West to Hoyerswerda, more than 100km to the East of Leipzig, and from the chemical industrial complex site of Bitterfeld north of Leipzig to the car manufacturing town of Zwickau in the South. Predictions show that passenger volumes will double after the new Central German railway network will have entered its final stage in 2017 with the completion of the high-speed rail link from Munich to Berlin. Thus, the Leipzig City Tunnel will serve as an additional axis for quick inter-regional transport on the railway corridor Berlin–Leipzig– Nuremberg–Munich.