This Berlin – Rostock 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 line runs via Neustrelitz: the proposed alignment is intended to reroute the line through Neubrandenburg, strengthening its function as a regional centre. The Rostock – Neubrandenburg section can also serve as part of a high-speed route to Szczecin.
The upgrading to a high-speed route starts with restoration of the abandoned section of the Nordbahn in Berlin itself, from Bornholmer Strasse to Hohen Neuendorf. Although reopening has been planned since reunification, nothing has been done: only the parallel S-Bahn tracks are in use. Other trains use the outer rail ring (Berliner Aussenring, BAR). The 10 km from Hohen Neuendorf to Oranienburg would be upgraded, with at least one extra track to increase capacity.
With the restored Nordbahn alignment, Oranienburg would be 31 km from Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The curved alignment through Oranienburg limits speeds, but preferably all trains would stop there anyway, since it is a major interchange for the northern edge of Berlin. (More later on new and restored lines into Oranienburg).
North of Oranienburg, the alignment consists of straight sections linked by curves, These curves are the main obstacle to upgrading for high speed: the line passes mainly through forest, with no significant relief. Several sections must be re-aligned, moving the line east or west by 100-500 m.
Markus Gröbe proposed a new direct line between Neustrelitz and Neubrandenburg, as part of a HSL toward Rostock and Stralsund. The proposal here assumes that high-speed trains to Rostock do not stop in Neustrelitz, and a bypass is more logical. That can be combined with a more direct bypass of Burg Stargard.
Click to enlarge: Neustrelitz bypass…
The Neustrelitz bypass would turn from the existing line, about 5-6 km south of Neustrelitz station. It would briefly run parallel to the B96, and then climb to higher ground, rejoining the line near Thurow. The bypass would be purely for high speed trains, so the gradients are not a problem.
The HSL would then run next to the existing line, and diverge again onto a second bypass, near Rollenhagen. The HSL would cross the Wanzkaer See on two bridges, and continue north-east. It would pass through agricultural land west of Burg Stargard, and rejoin the existing line at the edge of Neubrandenburg, near Fünfeichen. It would drop about 20 m over a low escarpment there. The alignment in Neubrandenburg might need improvement, but the sharpest curve is near the station, where trains slow anyway.
All trains would stop at Neubrandenburg (population 65 000). It would be 130 km from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, via the new line. Neubrandenburg station would be an interchange with other new and upgraded lines: more on those later.
From Neubrandenburg, a single-track line runs via Malchin to Güstrow (Bützow–Szczecin line, 1864). From its crossing with the Lloydbahn at Lalendorf, it is electrified. This route is not suitable for upgrading as Ausbaustrecke Neubrandenburg – Rostock. The preferable option is a HSL alongside this line, with new alignments west of Neubrandenburg and west of Malchin.
The first new section would leave the existing line at the edge of Neubrandenburg, climbing about 25 m to higher ground. It would extend about 16-18 km to Grischow, where it would rejoin the existing alignment. The HSL would closely follow the existing line to Malchin.
East of Malchin a completely new 40-km alignment would run north-west, north of the Teterower See. Most of this section is relatively level, but the line must first cross the ridge between Malchin and Teterow the Mecklenburgische Schweiz.
The lake depression and the ridge, near Malchin, by Ch. Pagenkopf under CC 3.0 licence.
The existing line crosses the ridge without difficulty. Although it is too curved for high speeds, the HSL can follow it approximately, diverging west of Remplin. At Kronskamp, north of Laage station, the new alignment would rejoin the main line (Lloydbahn).
From there, the HSL could again run next to the main line – or that line could be 4-tracked and upgraded, over the 20 km to Rostock Hauptbahnhof. This station is near the southern edge of city, which extends north along the estuary to the Baltic shore. At Rostock (population 200 000), the line would connect with S-Bahn and regional services, and with a new east-west high-speed route.
The HSL from Neubrandenburg would be about 100-105 km long, giving a total high-speed route from Berlin to Rostock of about 230-235 km. That is longer than the existing route via the Lloydbahn – about 215 km, if it used the restored Nordbahn line in Berlin itself. However, the HSL is not solely intended for Berlin – Rostock traffic, and its tracks would be used by other high-speed routes through Neubrandenburg.