Federal Minister Dr Volker Wissing:
We can give the go-ahead – the Federal Ministry of Finance has approved the funding for the Weddeler Schleife upgrade. To finally create planning certainty for all stakeholders, my Ministry and I personally have been working hard to achieve this. Overall, one thing is absolutely clear: the line is economically viable. The past few months have once again shown us convincingly how important the upgrade is, and the line will also play an important role as a diversion line during the upcoming corridor rehabilitation measures. Above all, we need the line for the nationwide integrated regular interval timetable, the Deutschlandtakt. All in all, this is a really good signal for all rail passengers and freight customers in the North.
Reasons for the upgrade?
The current single-track line between Wolfsburg and Braunschweig is a bottleneck in the Northern German rail network which has a negative impact in particular on local transport and the implementation of the Deutschlandtakt (30-minute intervals required by the transport demand are not possible) and freight transport (restrictions in particular at local electric mobility production facilities) as well as the operational quality of all types of traffic. Moreover, there is no efficient bypass available for the East-West direction in the event of disruptions at the Hanover node.
Reasons for the examination?
Double tracking the Weddeler Schleife only makes sense in macroeconomic terms when combining the benefits for long-distance passenger and freight transport on the one hand and local transport on the other hand. However, since responsibility for local transport lies with the federal states, such combined benefits are not fully reflected by the current funding envelopes and their evaluation methods. This is the reason why formal issues regarding the legal basis and documentation of the Federal Government’s interest had to be clarified first. Since the double tracking of the Weddeler Schleife with its capacity-enhancing effect on this mixed-traffic railway line is assumed for the full implementation of the service concepts in long-distance, freight and local transport of the Deutschlandtakt target timetable, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, taking all evaluation methods into account, came to the conclusion that the project is economically efficient.
What is the result?
Today, the Federal Ministry of Finance released the funding earmarked in the budget for ‘Building subsidies for investment in federal railway infrastructure to remove bottlenecks in local transport’ (Chapter 1202 item 891 02) totalling €8.254 million for 2022 as well as commitment appropriations totalling €14.74 million for the next year. Furthermore, unimplemented appropriations from the previous years of up to €48,946 million can be used as needed.
The double tracking of the Weddeler Schleife comprises overall costs of €144.7 million. Since local transport will also benefit from the measure, the federal state of Lower Saxony will contribute €9.789 million, the Braunschweig regional association €10.648 million and DB Netz AG €0.1 million from its own resources. Moreover, Federal Government funding under the Local Authority Transport Infrastructure Financing Act (GVFG) totalling €52.223 million will be made available.