This Neubrandenburg – Greifswald – Stralsund 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.
A line to Stralsund is a logical extension of the HSL to Neubrandenburg, part of a proposed HSL route to Rostock. It would shift the main route to Greifswald and Stralsund – rerouting it through Neubrandenburg, to maximise connections.
At present there is one route serving both Greifswald and Stralsund, the line via Prenzlau. This is the Stralsund branch of the former Berlin-Stettiner Eisenbahn. The whole line is double-track and electrified. The alternative route to Stralsund is the original route of the Berliner Nordbahn, to Neubrandenburg via Oranienburg, and then the single-track section via Demmin.
A direct line Neubrandenburg – Greifswald, partly along the A20 Autobahn, was proposed earlier by Markus Gröbe. In that version, however, Berlin – Rostock trains would not be rerouted through Neubrandenburg. The alignment proposed here is almost identical: any new line to Greifswald would probably follow the A20.
Fast trains to Greifswald would use the existing line out of Neubrandenburg, doubled and upgraded. The new alignment would diverge about 9 km north of Neubrandenburg, and turn toward the A20. From near junction 30, the new line would run alongside the Autobahn, for about 22-25 km.
Near Jarmen, the alignment of the Autobahn is curved, so the HSL could diverge even before junction 28. From there it would turn toward the existing main line Prenzlau – Greifswald, joining it about 4-5 km from the station. The shortest possible alignment would run in straight line, passing east of Jarmen, to the edge of the built-up area of Greifswald. The new line would be about 63-65 km long, from station to station, with about 13-15 km of that on upgraded existing line.
North of Greifswald, the existing line is almost straight, the terrain is almost level, and the line can be easily upgraded. Very high speeds are unnecessary, since it is only 31 km to Stralsund.
Greifswald (population 54 000), and Stralsund (population 58 000) are the regional centres (Oberzentrum) for about 350 000 people, in the north-east corner of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. (The central function is split between the two, normally it would be one larger city at that level). Via the new route, Greifswald would be about 195 km from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and Stralsund 225 km. Journey time Berlin – Stralsund should be under 90 minutes.
At Stralsund, the high-speed corridor would connect with the line to the island of Rügen. Under the DDR, that line was upgraded as access to a new ferry port (Sassnitz-Mukran), for traffic to the Soviet Union. The port is still a ferry terminal for Baltic services, but passenger traffic to Rügen is primarily for tourism. For that reason, some trains from Berlin could reverse onto the Rügen line, as at present. Geographically, however, Sassnitz is a logical terminal for an east-west high-speed corridor through Rostock and Stralsund: more on that later.