Posts Tagged ‘Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’
This Stralsund – Szczecin high-speed rail line (HSL) is part of a series of proposals for the triangle Hamburg – Berlin – Szczecin. Read first the introduction: New rail infrastructure north of Berlin.
The existing route Stralsund – Szczecin is via the junction station at Pasewalk, and the main new infrastructure is a northern bypass of that station. The bypass was proposed here earlier, as part of a Neubrandenburg – Szczecin HSL. It would connect upgraded lines east and west of Pasewalk.
Northern bypass of Pasewalk with HSL junction…
High-speed trains from Stralsund would use an additional curve onto the bypass. They would reach it via the existing Stralsund main line, already double-track and electrified. Upgrading from Stralsund to Greifswald was proposed here earlier, as part of a HSL Neubrandenburg – Stralsund. For high-speed services to Szczecin, the section Greifswald – Pasewalk would also be upgraded, as far as the bypass.
Trains on both high-speed routes would use an upgraded version of the existing line toward Szczecin, or possibly a parallel HSL. In both cases, the bypass would shorten the route, and avoid Pasewalk station.
Fast trains from Stralsund would stop at Greifswald: the other 20 intermediate stations would be served by regional trains. An extra stop at Anklam would contradict the aim of a fast service to Szczecin. Fast inter-regional services from Berlin, the successors to the current Regional-Express, could stop at both Anklam and Pasewalk.
These improvements to the rail infrastructure on the Island of Rügen are part of a series of proposals for the triangle Hamburg – Berlin – Szczecin. Read first the introduction, on new rail infrastructure north of Berlin.
Rügen is an island opposite the Baltic port of Stralsund (population 58 000). The city is linked to the island by a bridge and causeway, and is the main urban centre for the island. The largest settlement on the island itself is Bergen, with 14 000 inhabitants. Rügen has a total of 77 000 inhabitants.
Rügen: map by by Devil m25 under CC 2.0 licence…
The island is a major tourist destination, and its railways were built to bring tourists from the south. Rügen still has direct Intercity services, with an ICE to München and a Eurocity to Prague, but they are seasonal. Some have only one train per week. All serve Stralsund Hauptbahnhof, in most cases reversing there. There is an hourly regional service from Stralsund to Bergen.
The proposed high-speed lines (HSL) from Rostock to Stralsund and from Lübeck to Rostock would re-align services into Stralsund. Rügen is a logical terminus for these new services, which would not need to reverse at Stralsund. Services from Berlin via the proposed HSL through Neubrandenburg would terminate at Stralsund. The lines on Rügen itself can be upgraded to offer better connecting services.
Rügen has a double track electrified ‘main line’, from Stralsund to Bergen. It splits at Lietzow, beyond Bergen, into two single-track branches, also electrified. That is a lot for an island of that size, and tourism is not the only reason: under the DDR, the train ferry port at Mukran was built as a strategic link to the Soviet Union. It is still a major ferry port, with one passenger train service: the Berlin Night Express to Malmö, three times a week in summer.
Railways of Rügen: map by NordNordWest under CC 3.0 licence…
Sassnitz and Binz are both 51 km from Stralsund. Sassnitz has an hourly regional service from Stralsund, starting in Rostock. Binz has a two-hourly local service from Stralsund, and all the Intercity services terminate there. (Binz is in the southeastern corner of the island, where the main resorts are located).
There is also a non-electric 12-km branch, from Bergen to Putbus. It connects there with a narrow-gauge railway, the Rügensche Kleinbahn, a remnant of a larger system. Although it is part of the public transport network, it is a 750mm gauge steam railway, and extremely slow. With two changes of train, it takes 2h 19 minutes to get from Stralsund to the furthest village, Göhren (53 km by road).
Binz around 1900, public domain…
New bridge or tunnel
Any improvement to the rail lines on Rügen starts with the causeway and bridge from Stralsund, over the Strelasund. There are two channels, separated by the small island Dänholm. The shipping channel, with lifting bridge, is on the Stralsund side of Dänholm. There is insufficient space, for a tunnel to drop under the shipping channel, and then climb to the surface on Dänholm. Any tunnel would therefore cross both channels, and would be at least 5 km long, approximately following the existing rail alignment.
The old road/rail bridge, and new road bridge: image by Klugschnacker under CC 3.0 licence…
The best alternative for a tunnel is a new double-track lifting bridge, higher than the present version. The extra clearance would allow a reduction of the bridge opening times, since smaller boats can pass under it – although it could not match the 42m clearance of the new road bridge. Rügendamm Station would close, and east of Dänholm, the rail line on the causeway would be doubled.
The line speed on the island is relatively low. The regional trains take 51 minutes for the journey to Stralsund, with 9 intermediate stations. The Intercity trains from Binz stop only at Bergen, but still take 47-48 minutes. There are many curves which could be improved: except at Samtens, they are in open country. With moderate improvements, a journey time of under 45 minutes should be possible for the regional trains, and 35-40 for fast trains.
The east side of Rügen has three rail terminals, but no line along the coast. They could be linked by a new alignment between Sassnitz and Prora, which would also give the ferry terminal a regular passenger service.
The new line would diverge from the Binz branch, where it reaches the coast, and turn north via Neu-Mukran. It would cross the ferry port on viaduct, close to the passenger terminal and the ferry ramps. That requires a station on viaduct, but this is the easiest place to cross the port. (Further inland is a broad strip with freight yards and some industry).
To reach Sassnitz, the new line can turn inland and follow the road. At the business park at the edge of Sassnitz, it would turn 90 degrees, to join the existing line 1600 m outside the terminal station. This alignment allows a climb to the higher ground near the station – Sassnitz is built at the edge of the cliffs.
Alternatively, the line could run along the coast, and enter a tunnel behind the cliffs south of Sassnitz. The tunnel could continue to the former harbor station (shown in orange), or climb to the existing line into the main station (yellow). In both cases, the single-track tunnel would be about 2000 m long, and the new alignment about 6 km.
The new alignment would allow a shuttle service Binz – Prora – ferry port – Sassnitz. That is a 15-km route, with 3 intermediate stops. The branch to Binz would be doubled from the junction at Lietzow, also facilitating more inter-regional (Intercity) trains.
Extension south from Binz
The south-east corner of Rügen is served only by the narrow-gauge Rügensche Kleinbahn. It has its own station in Binz, which is not connected to the mainline station. The line continues over the Granitz ridge south of Binz, winding around Jagdschloss Granitz, and descends toward Sellin, ending at Göhren.
The alignment of the Rügensche Kleinbahn, south of Binz, could be converted to a metre-gauge tram line, and extended to the mainline station there. To shorten the route, a new tunnel (1700 m) would replace the line over the ridge at Granitz. The rest of the line, most of it alongside roads on level ground, is suitable for tram conversion.
Tram tunnel under the Granitz ridge…
Alternatively, a longer rail tunnel could carry an extension of the Binz branch. The 10-km extension would be for regional trains only: the long-distance services would still terminate at Binz station. The extension would require an underground platform at that station, connecting to a singel-track tunnel under Binz and the Granitz ridge. South of the ridge, the line would use the alignment of the Rügensche Kleinbahn through Sellin to Baabe, with some adjustments. The tunnel would be about 4 km long.
Both of these options mean the end of the Rügensche Kleinbahn, south of Binz. However, the Binz – Lauterbach section could still operate, as a museum line.
Service frequencies on all new and improved lines would be higher than at present – at least every 30 minutes. The existing service pattern would be generally retained. A regional service would link Stralsund to Sassnitz, possibly starting at Barth. Fast inter-regional services would run through Rostock to Stralsund, Bergen and Binz, and there would be a connecting regional service Bergen – Binz. The coastal shuttle service (Sassnitz to Binz or Baabe), could operate independently of the other services, every 30 minutes, and more often in summer.
This regional line from Greifswald to Świnoujście, on the island of Usedom is part of a series of proposals for the triangle Hamburg – Berlin – Szczecin. Read first the introduction, on new rail infrastructure north of Berlin.
The island of Usedom was developed since the 19th century for Baltic coastal tourism. It has its own railway, starting at Züssow, a rural junction on the Berlin – Stralsund line. From this rural junction station, the Usedomer Bäderbahn runs to Wolgast. The line crosses a single-track bridge onto the island, and then turns south-east along the Baltic coast, terminating at Świnoujście.
Usedom: map by Alexrk2 under CC3.0 licence…
The proposal is to link an existing freight line east of Greifswald, to the Usedom island railway at Wolgast. That would connect the island to the regional centre of Greifswald (population 54 000), bypassing the junction at Züssow.
The proposed high-speed rail line Neubrandenburg – Stralsund would create a new route from Berlin, joining the Berlin – Stralsund line at Greifswald. In that case, fast trains would no longer pass through Züssow – but even without that line, a Greifswald – Usedom line is a logical project.
HSL Neubrandenburg – Stralsund…
On Usedom, the island railway ends at Świnoujście Centrum. Despite its name, this station is on the outskirts of Świnoujście, a small port at the mouth of the Oder. The town (population 40 000) was formerly German (Swinemünde). Although the Oder forms the post-war boundary between Germany and Poland, the western side of Swinemünde was also transferred to Poland, to keep the river mouth in Polish territory. Until 2008, the Usedom line ended at the border. When Poland joined the Schengen zone, it was extended 1500 m closer to the town centre.
The original railway geography was different. The fastest route from Berlin to Usedom was via Ducherow, south of Züssow. Trains turned east there, running directly to Swinemünde. They then turned north along the coast, terminating opposite Wolgast. There was originally no bridge there, passengers used a ferry.
Railway lines onto Usdeom: map by Maximilian Dörrbecker under CC3.0 licence…
The lines into Świnoujście were cut by the post-war border, and the alignment inside the town was built over. The line from Ducherow and its bridge at Karnin were abandoned. Restoration of a through line Ducherow – Świnoujście – Züssow is not logical, because that route turns back on itself. A through line Greifswald – Świnoujście is far more logical, and requires minimal new infrastructure.
Alignment Greifswald – Świnoujście
The new line would run through a thinly-populated rural region (Amt Lubmin, population density 54 / km2). The freight line east of Greifswald was built in the 1960′s, to serve the Greifswald nuclear power station at Lubmin, one of two nuclear power plants in the GDR. The station was closed in 1990, but the site is still in use for decommissioning, and storage of nuclear waste.
The freight line turns off the main line at Schönwalde, 5 km from Greifswald station. 8 km from the junction, there would be a new station at the village of Kemnitz (population 1100). Just after this station, a new alignment would diverge, turning east.
The new line (15 km) would run at the foot of higher ground, with a maximum elevation of only 25 m. It would have two intermediate halts, at Neu Boltenhagen and at Katzow. These are small villages, and each station would serve only 650 people. (Recreational use in summer is the primary justification for the new line).
The new line would rejoin the existing line Züssow – Wolgast, about 2 km from Wolgast station. The Usedom line has already been substantially upgraded, and since this is an isolated line, the route would not necessarily be electrified. Additional passing places are probably required, for more intensive services. At Wolgast, the only town on the route, the line crosses the Peene channel on a new road/rail bridge.
Road-rail bridge at Wolgast: by RaBoe/Wikipedia under CC3.0 licence…
On the island there is a junction with the 13-km branch to Peenemünde, at Zinnowitz, 40 km from Greifswald via the new line. With a new curve at Trassenheide, that branch could carry a separate service Züssow – Wolgast – Peenemünde.
From Zinnowitz, is it 33 km to Świnoujście. The total length of the Greifswald – Świnoujście route would be 72-73 km. That includes a reversal into Heringsdorf station, so a short section is double-counted. With a new avoiding curve at Ahlbeck, bypassing Heringsdorf station, the line would be 70-71 km long. However, Heringsdorf is the largest of the coastal resort villages, so it may be more logical to serve it.
The present journey time is over two hours by direct trains, longer with a change at Züssow. The new line would shorten the route by about 10%, and with a line speed speed of 150 km/h, trains to Wolgast would run faster. Journey time can certainly be reduced. However, on the island itself there are stops every 2-3 km – comparable to an S-Bahn line. Electrification of the line would allow faster service there – but it is not a precondition for the proposed cutoff line.
This regional rail line Schwerin – Hagenow – Lüneburg is part of a series of proposals for the triangle Hamburg – Berlin – Szczecin. Read first the introduction, on new rail infrastructure north of Berlin.
The proposals is to join two existing lines: the main Berlin – Hamburg line, and the regional line Lübeck – Lüneburg. This requires a relatively short new link, from Boizenburg to Lauenburg.
The new link would allow a new regional service, between Schwerin (population 95 000) and Lüneburg (population 73 000). At present, travel between them requires a change at the village of Büchen. Direct services between regional centres are more logical, and rail infrastructure should be adapted to make that possible. (The current railway geography has historical origins: Lauenburg was part of Denmark until 1876, and was a border town with the GDR, during the division of Germany.)
New Schwerin – Lüneburg route
Schwerin – Lüneburg trains would first use the 29 km line to Hagenow. This double-track line would generally have sufficient capacity for extra services. In central Schwerin it is confined between buildings, and needs four tracks, but that is not considered further here.
At Hagenow, the line joins the main Berlin – Hamburg line. The Schwerin – Lüneburg trains would use this line for 33 km, as far as Boizenburg. The proposed service therefore assumes extra capacity on this section, preferably by construction of a new Berlin – Hamburg high-speed line (HSL), along the A24 Autobahn. It would start somewhere between Ludwigslust and Hagenow. (The A24 was the preferred alignment of the cancelled Transrapid maglev line).
A Schwerin – Lüneburg service would be an additional benefit from the HSL, although that alone would not be sufficient to justify such a project.
New alignment Boizenburg – Lauenburg
At Boizenburg, Schwerin – Lüneburg trains would leave the main Hamburg line. They would use a new line to Lauenburg – either through Boizenburg, or around it on the north side. A new line through the town could use the abandoned branch to the former Boizenburg Stadt station. That wool allow a new station close to the historic centre – the present station is about 2 km away.
Click to enlarge…
However, Boizenburg lies at the foot of an escapement along the Elbe, and the old branch line was built at riverbank level. A new line here must drop into tunnel, under the built-up area north of the centre, and then climb about 30 m from the lower ground near the river. It would then follow the road to Lauenburg, which is at the edge of the escarpment, and not level either.
The simpler option is a line around Boizenburg. The existing station can be used, there is enough room for a grade-separated junction with the main line, and the ground rises less sharply. The line would first follow the B5 Boizenburg bypass , and then continue almost due west, to join the rail line at Lauenburg. Although this inland option is further from the Elbe escarpment, it would not be much longer – about 14 km station to station.
Click to enlarge…
Unlike Boizenburg, Lauenburg (population 11 000) is built on the Elbe escarpment itself. The station is in the floodplain, outside the town, and across the Elbe – Lübeck Canal. The new alignment would join the existing line, just north of its crossing with the B5.
Lauenburg – Lüneburg
Lauenburg station is on the Lübeck – Lüneburg rail line. 200 m from the station, the line crosses the Elbe on a combined road and rail bridge. The bridge was built for two rail tracks: the road was added during reconstruction in 1951.
Elbe bridge at Lauenburg, image by Torsten Bätge under CC 3.0 licence…
The Elbe bridge would be reconverted to a rail bridge, with a new road bridge beside it, and the whole 17-km line to Lüneburg would be double-tracked and electrified. There is only one intermediate station on this section, at Echem, but the station at Adendorf could be reopened. At Lüneburg, the line would have interchange with the main Hamburg – Hannover line.
The new route would be 93-94 km long. The Schwerin – Hagenow section is almost straight, and the Berlin – Hamburg line has already been upgraded as Ausbaustrecke, for 230 km/h. The line from the Elbe to Lüneburg is also almost straight. With this potential for high speeds, and with 10 intermediate stations outside Schwerin, journey time could be 70-75 minutes. A fast service, stopping only at Hagenow, Boizenburg, and Lauenburg, would take less than an hour. In both cases, trains could start at Wismar, providing a through regional and inter-regional service.