Agreement between deutsche bahn and berlin: the siemens railway rolls on

Things are moving forward for the historic line between Jungfernheide and Gartenfeld stations: funding for preliminary planning is in place.

For almost exactly 40 years, nothing has been rolling on the Siemensbahn Photo: dpa

The renovation and reopening of the Siemensbahn, which was shut down in 1980, is making progress. As Berlin’s Secretary of State for Transport Ingmar Streese confirmed on Thursday, the state and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have signed a financing agreement for the first planning phases.

The agreement is for 30 million euros until 2025, and the money is to be used until the so-called approval planning – the basis for the planning approval procedure. Berlin will assume responsibility for this financing, and federal funding can only be applied for once a zoning decision has been issued.

The resurgence of the line is primarily thanks to the Siemens Group’s plans to invest more than half a billion euros in the Siemensstadt site in Spandau by 2030: A campus for research, production and living is to be built there. Starting in 2029, trains are to run on the 4.5-kilometer-long track, which branches off from Jungfernheide station on the Ringbahn to the northwest. For the time being, the historic steel viaduct, which forms a section of the route, is being cleared of old ballast and dilapidated sleepers. There is already a positive signal: "Initial results of the investigation give hope that the viaduct can be preserved," says Streese.

Costs still unclear

What the whole thing will cost in the end, the state secretary did not want to say at this stage. Not only do completely new tracks and signaling systems have to be installed, but some of the stations also have to be rebuilt, and a bridge over the Spree River is currently missing as an important link. Next spring, a feasibility study will be available that will examine an extension beyond the original Gartenfeld terminus. This would also provide much better access to neighborhoods such as the Wasserstadt Oberhavel in Spandau than is the case today. Streese cautiously stated that the time horizon for this section – if it were to come to pass – would be "in the mid-1930s.

The project is part of the joint infrastructure project i2030 of Berlin and Brandenburg, Deutsche Bahn and VBB. It involves a massive expansion of rail connections between Berlin and its environs, as a service improvement for the 380,000 commuters expected by 2030. In the S-Bahn network alone, a package of 35 projects is planned, such as second tracks on lines that have been operated only as single tracks since World War II, for example between Buch and Bernau or Frohnau and Oranienburg. Without a second track, it is often only possible to organize 20-minute intervals.

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