DB to Develop Additional High-Performance Rail Corridors in Germany

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has identified routes from Hamburg to Berlin and Emmerich to Oberhausen as key corridors to develop as part of its future high-speed network.

In 2025, DB will carry out major upgrades to these line to deliver a high-performance network that offers greater capacity and reliability for passenger and freight traffic.

DB High-Performance Corridors
DB Cargo freight train with a class 193 electric locomotive on the Emmerich – Oberhausen route between Mehrhoog and Diersfordt
DB CEO Richard Lutz said:

“The Hamburg-Berlin route connects the two largest German cities and, with 30,000 passengers a day on long-distance trains, is the front-runner among direct city connections in Germany. The trains already run here every half hour according to the Germany cycle. We also focus on freight transport. With Emmerich-Oberhausen we are rehabilitating the transport artery Rotterdam-Genoa.

“Both corridors are central building blocks in the future high-performance network. Our clear goal is to attract even more people and companies to the climate-friendly rail system through the combined renewal of the most important corridors.”

From June to December 2025, DB will carry out numerous upgrades on the tracks, points and overhead lines on the 280-kilometre route between Hamburg and Berlin. The line will be closed to train traffic during this time.

This work will pave the way for digital railway operation in the future due to improvements such as the modernisation of signal boxes.

DB will also upgrade the route’s stations with modern platform roofs, weather shelters and new wayfinding systems.

DB High-Performance Corridors
DB Netz project engineer in conversation with a planning approval manager (Hamburg Central Station)

Meanwhile, the 72-kilometre Emmerich–Oberhausen route cannot be completely closed for a long period of time due to its necessity for many international freight trains.

The renovation will therefore take place between November 2024 and June 2026 with short-term closures and single-track operation. During this time, DB will complete numerous upgrades, including the construction of a third track.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing said:

“I am very pleased that the coordination with the industry is progressing and that we can take the next steps on the way to a high-performance network. The general refurbishment will improve the conditions for freight traffic in particular on the heavily used section of the Rotterdam-Genoa line. Hamburg-Berlin, on the other hand, has already proven in the past what potential a well-functioning rail service has for climate protection on this route. Here, too, the goal is clear: to achieve as much improvement as possible for the overall system with a short, concentrated intervention.”

Prior to these upgrades, DB will start renovating the route between Frankfurt/Main and Mannheim. By 2030, the company then hopes to tackle at least two more corridors a year to contribute towards a future high-performance network.

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