On 9 December the new high speed Deutsche Bahn line from Erfurt to Leipzig/Halle, 123 km long, was inaugurated with the simultaneous running of two special trains and parallel ceremonies in Halle (Saale), Erfurt and Leipzig. Notable attendees of the inauguration ceremony in Leipzig were the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Alexander Dobrindt, the political authorities of Saxe, Saxe-Anhalt and Thuringe, and the members of the DB AG Management Board.
The Chairman of DB, Dr Rüdiger Grube, welcomed the inauguration of this new line as a new milestone on the path to achieving, in two years, the high speed link between Berlin and Munich as part of the “German unity” (VDE) No. 8 transport project. Once the last section of the new line is opened, the journey time by train between Berlin and Munich will be reduced to less than four hours.
From 13 December, ICE trains will gain 40 minutes between Erfurt and Halle, and 30 minutes between Erfurt and Leipzig.
The Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle high speed line is part of the “German unity” No. 8 transport project. At a cost of around EUR 10 billion, 500 kilometres of railway track are being converted between Berlin, Halle/Leipzig, Erfurt and Nuremberg. The new Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle line is the most innovative line in the DB network. The construction designs for the civil engineering structures (bridges) were awarded the bridge construction prize.
And for the first time, the harmonised European train control system (ETCS) is being used, allowing trackside signalling to become a thing of the past.
It should be noted that prior to the inauguration date, UIC, represented by Mr Marc Antoni, Director of the Rail System Department, took part in test runs on the line before it was put into service. These proved an opportunity for fruitful professional discussions with the engineers and drivers of Deutsche Bahn regarding the operating conditions of the line, which is equipped with ERTMS level 2 with no signals or backup.