This regional rail service Nauen – Oranienburg is part of a series of proposals for the triangle Hamburg – Berlin – Szczecin. In this case, the new infrastructure is minimal: improvements to the junction at Falkenhagen (Falkenhagener Kreuz). Nauen is on the Berlin – Hamburg main line, and the junction connects that line to the outer ring line (Berliner Aussenring, BAR). The new service would use the ring line towards Oranienburg.
The proposal is complimentary to the new rail link Nauen – Potsdam (previous post). Both are orbital services along the BAR, starting at Nauen. However, Potsdam is a medium-sized city, inside the ring line. The Potsdam route (in orange on the diagram) would serve four stations there, with good connections to the south-west quadrant of Berlin.
The Oranienburg service (in green) turns away from the BAR, and serves fewer people. Trains would probably not stop at the three S-Bahn stations near Oranienburg (see below), and connections to the north-west quadrant of Berlin are limited. With another new link from the Hannover main line, the small town of Nauen would become a regional rail junction, and the line to Oranienburg would still be a useful connection.
This is not the only possible route between Nauen and Oranienburg. There was a 38-km railway line between the two, via Kremmen, part of an western bypass of Berlin. Because the line was intended for freight, it served few villages, and that limits the benefits of re-opening. Nevertheless, it would be shorter than the route proposed here.
Infrastructure: Falkenhagener Kreuz and BAR
The proposed additional upgrading of the Berlin – Hamburg line included four tracks between Nauen and Spandau. That could be a parallel S-Bahn, but only a four-track main line is compatible with new regional services. The new service to Oranienburg would use the additional tracks, on the 9 km from Nauen to the junction at Falkenhagen. There is one intermediate station, Brieselang, which already has four tracks.
At Falkenhagen, a new single-track grade-separated link would connect the four-track main line to the BAR. The new link would be in tunnel, since there is already an overbridge (L202 road), but would follow the existing curve. From there, trains would use the BAR ring line, to the junction at Hohen Neuendorf.
Unlike the existing regional line RB20 (Oranienburg – Potsdam), the line would not divert to Hennigsdorf to connect with the S-Bahn. There is a disused interchange station on the BAR at Hennigsdorf Nord: it would allow interchange with either an extended S-Bahn, or a regional service. (See the earlier proposals for the Berlin – Neuruppin – Wittenberge line). This station would by mainly for interchange: the station site itself is isolated.
There is one more station on the BAR, at Hohen Neuendorf West. Immediately after the station is the junction with the northern main line to Rostock, the Nordbahn. The junction is already grade-separated, with an additional underpass under the S-Bahn tracks.
The new service would continue via the Nordbahn main line, to Oranienburg. At present there are no intermediate stations on this section, and it would be better to keep it that way. In that case, the orbital service would have no connection southwards to the S-Bahn lines S1 and S8, and that reduces its utility. Possibly, the line could serve new platforms, on the main line at Birkenwerder, There is enough room for them, and for through tracks. An alternative is to use dual-system trains, serving the S-Bahn stations at Birkenwerder, Borgsdorf, and Lehnitz, but that would require a new grade-separated junction at Hohen Neuendorf. Without either of these options, the alternative route from Nauen to the northern suburbs of Berlin, is via the regional station at Gesundbrunnen.
S-Bahn network: map by Maximilian Dörrbecker under CC 3.0 licence…
At Oranienburg (population 42 000), the new service would connect to high-speed trains on the proposed Berlin – Rostock high-speed line (HSL). That project assumes restoration of the old Nordbahn route though Berlin, which has been planned for decades. The line would also connect to regional services north from Berlin, and to the proposed regional rail line Oranienburg – Eberswalde.
This is a classic orbital rail service: Nauen and Oranienburg are on the outskirts of Berlin, 30-35 km from the city centre. The route is 41 km long, and with only three intermediate stations, journey time could be around 25-30 minutes. For dual-system trains using the S-Bahn into Oranienburg, journey time would be 5-6 minutes longer.