The restoration of through passenger services on an upgraded Güstrow – Karow – Wittenberge line 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 line crosses the Mecklenburg lake region, a major tourist and recreational region north of Berlin, with several nature reserves. The small town of Karow was once a minor railway junction, and could serve as a rail access point for the region.
The abandoned statin at Karow, image by Niteshift under CC3.0 licence…
The route is 117 km long, and consists of three sections:
- the disused Güstrow – Meyenburg line,
- the Meyenburg – Pritzwalk section, with a local service (PE74, operated by Prignitzer Eisenbahn), and
- the Pritzwalk – Wittenberge line, part of a longer line from Neustrelitz.
In the GDR period, a local train service ran south from Güstrow to Neustadt (Dosse), on the main line Hamburg – Berlin. Through services were abandoned after reunification. There are local plans to reactivate the line for freight.
Video: the Güstrow – Karow – Neustadt service before closure…
The disused alignment is protected in the new regional plan, Regionalen Raumentwicklungsprogrammes Westmecklenburg. The proposal here is to switch the southern terminal to Wittenberge, also on the main Hamburg – Berlin line. That would maximize regional and inter-regional interchange. Passengers to Berlin would change at Pritzwalk, onto the Prignitz-Express route (into Berlin via the Kremmener Bahn). The proposed pattern of service is shown below:
The Güstrow – Karow – Wittenberge line is in blue, the Prignitz-Express route in orange. (The line to Neustadt would carry a through service from Schwerin, via a reopened Parchim – Putlitz line, shown in brown). All the lines would be electrified, and double-tracked where necessary, for a 30-minute service frequency.
At Karow, the line would cross the existing Ludwigslust – Waren rail line (light green), and a reopened line from Wismar (dark green). The restored junction would provide rail access to the lake region, with local lines in 5 directions from Karow.