The railway has been waiting for this day for years. After endless discussions, the states of Berlin and Brandenburg have finally reached an agreement on two important infrastructure projects. The trunk line between Potsdam and Berlin is to be reactivated for regional trains and not for the S-Bahn.
In the north of the city, long-distance tracks between Tegel and Hennigsdorf will not be rebuilt; only the S-Bahn will continue to run here. Berlin’s Transport Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) and Brandenburg’s Transport Minister Guido Beermann (CDU) announced these two decisions at a joint press conference on Monday afternoon.
In the case of the Stammbahn, it was Berlin that had blocked the decision for a long time: Berlin wanted an S-Bahn, Brandenburg and Deutsche Bahn AG wanted a regional and long-distance railway line. Now the new Senator Jarasch has given in because she has recognized the advantages of a regional railway. This has “national importance,” said Jarasch. She acknowledged that there had been “many, many years of indecision.”
Prussia’s first railway line has been interrupted since 1945 between Berlin-Zehlendorf and Griebnitzsee. Now it is to be double-tracked and electrified. New regional train stations are planned in Dreilinden/Europarc, Zehlendorf, Steglitz and Schöneberg. Some of the trains are to be routed through Berlin’s north-south tunnel to the main train station. Since its capacity is limited, some of the trains at Schöneberg station have to be routed onto the Südring in the direction of Ostkreuz.
The route between Schöneberg and Treptow must be electrified and double-tracked. On the Südring there should be additional stops at Südkreuz and possibly in Neukölln or Hermannstraße. According to Beermann, completion is not expected until the end of the 2030s.
It should be a little faster in the north of Berlin, the so-called Prignitz Express. First, the Velten – Neuruppin section is to be expanded by 2026, in order to then enable two trains per hour in each direction on the RE6 and RB55 lines between Hennigsdorf and Neuruppin. After the reunification, the route was only expanded to a single-track economy version, more than one regional train per hour is not possible.
The reconstruction of tracks for regional traffic within Berlin will be avoided, that is the second fundamental decision that was announced on Monday. In the future, only S-Bahn trains will run between Hennigsdorf and the Berlin districts of Heiligensee, Tegel and Reinickendorf. An expansion for regional trains would have cost at least one billion euros, said Jarasch.
The road tunnel in Tegel alone as a replacement for the Gorkistrasse level crossing would have cost 150 million. From around 2030, the S25 should run every 10 minutes. For this, a second track must be built for the S-Bahn, this route is also only single track so far.
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In addition, according to the transport association between Schönholz and Tegel, a new stop “Borsigwalde” is planned. Even later, the S-Bahn is to be continued to Velten, the city has long been demanding a better connection to Berlin.
In the end there will be five trains between Velten, Hennigsdorf and Berlin, two as the “Prignitz-Express” via the outer ring and Spandau to downtown Berlin and three as the S25 directly via Tegel.
Jarasch and Beermann did not name the costs, the VBB spoke of “high three-digit million sums”. The solution in the north is “significantly cheaper” than the expansion as a regional railway, which is estimated at one billion. Given the scale of the Stammbahn reactivation, the project could cost over a billion. A total of around 8.5 billion euros are estimated for the i2030 infrastructure projects. ´
The Deutsche Bahn had always spoken out in favor of regional trains on the main line, as this was the only way to significantly increase the service between Potsdam and Berlin. According to the VBB, the number of commuters between Berlin and Potsdam occupies the top position in the region. The current connection between the two cities via Wannsee and the Stadtbahn is overloaded, more trains are not possible.