Mittelland high-speed line Enschede – Hannover, part 2

This is the second part of a proposal for a high-speed line (HSL, Schnellfahrstrecke, Neubaustrecke) from Enschede to Hannover, part of an Amsterdam – Berlin line. The line follows the Mittellandkanal at the edge of the North German Plain, and takes its name from the canal.

Read the introduction first. The alignment is over 200 km long, and is not described in great detail.

The line would start at a fully reconstructed station in Enschede, the de facto capital of Twente. From there, trains would use a four-tracked line toward Gronau and Münster. Between Gronau and Ochtrup, the HSL to Münster would diverge onto its own alignment. The Mittelland-HSL would follow the of the proposed new link from Ochtrup to Rheine. That line is also intended for regional trains. It would be disruptive to build a 4-track line (with a 300 km/h alignment) through Ochtrup, so the HSL would probably run north of the town. It could run alongside the regional line, for about 10 km.

As it passes the airbase / barracks (Theodor-Blank-Kaserne), the regional line would turn south-east, to join the Ems valley line into Rheine station. The HSL would continue north-east, turning east as it crosses the Ems river, north of Rheine. The closer to Rheine, the shorter the route, However the line must avoid historic buildings at Bentlage, and nature reserves along the river. It could pass south of junction 7 on the A30, cutting through Güterverkehrszentrum Nord-West and crossing the Dortmund-Ems Kanal at Altenrheiner, with a tunnel under the river. A longer but simpler alignment would run north of the Theodor-Blank-Kaserne, north of junction 7, cutting through Industriegebiet Holsterfeld.

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High-speed line Enschede - Hannover by-passing Rheine

In both cases, the HSL would pass south of Dreierwalde, and then run east to the Mittelland Kanal near Obersteinbeck. The eastbound link line from Rheine would join the HSL there. This link could also be used by local trains, onto the Tecklenburger Nordbahn (currently freight-only). The HSL might follow the alignment of the Tecklenburger Nordbahn to Recke, or it might join the canal between Obersteinbeck and Recke.

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High-speed line Enschede - Hannover, from Rheine to Recke

The line would now follow the canal eastwards, although not directly on the canal bank, which was not designed to carry a rail line. Along the canal, there are industrial sites with quaysides, and occasionally housing. The HSL would run about 20-50 m from the canal, and in places diverge from it.

At Bramsche, the line would run south of the Mittellandkanal. The canal alignment is curved, wit housing and industry alongside it. The HSL would cross the canal again, to pass the Kalkrieser Berg on the north bank (avoiding the archaeological zone).

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High-speed line Enschede - Hannover south of Bramsche

Kalkriese is the most northern point on this HSL. The rest of the alignment is determined by the section near Minden. One possibility is that the line simply runs east from Kalkriese to Hannover (shown in yellow below). The versions described here assume a route through Minden, or just north of it.

The line could turn away from the Mittellandkanal at Kalkriese, pass north of Bohmte, and rejoin it on the straight section Wimmer – Alswede. This variant could have a connection from the Bremen line for Osnabrück – Hannover trains, but its utility is reduced by the longer route through Bohmte.

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High-speed line Enschede - Hannover, alignments near Bohmte

The HSL could also follow the Mittellandkanal along the foot of the hills (Wiehengebirge), and pass south of Bohmte. That would allow a more effective connection from Osnabrück: via the existing line through Ostercappeln, or via a new tunnel under the ridge. The HSL would run about 2 km north of the canal at Bad Essen, avoiding a curved section with canal-side housing. It would rejoin the Mittellandkanal at Wimmer, the beginning of the straight section to Alswede.

From Alswede to Isenstedt, the line would follow the canal again. At Isenstedt, 20 km from Minden, the possible alignments diverge. These alignments (passing Minden) are covered in the third part of the description.

Mittelland high-speed line Enschede – Hannover, part 2

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