The system decision for the Potsdamer Stammbahn was made last week. The route will be rebuilt as a regional and long-distance route. However, the Senate Transport Administration is currently critical of whether the first trains can roll on the southern section of the route beforehand, as planned.
Such a preliminary operation would be technically possible on the section from Wannsee station via Zehlendorf to Steglitz. A non-electrified freight track still runs there, on which a diesel or battery train could run.
“I think that’s a good sign,” said Alexander Kaczmarek, Deutsche Bahn’s representative for Berlin, on Wednesday in the mobility committee of the House of Representatives. The Stammbahn project, which will probably only exist on paper for many years to come, could become visible earlier.
The Senate Transport Administration was less euphoric. The project is part of the planning, said Sören Wustrow, who is responsible for the subject in the traffic administration. However, a specific investigation has not yet been initiated because Berlin and Brandenburg only officially made the system decision in favor of regional and long-distance transport last week.
However, there are serious concerns about the project from the Senate administration. “In terms of traffic, the assessment of the specialist level is not so positive,” said Wustrow. It is questionable whether the company will come.
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In a hearing, the Mobility Committee addressed the projects within the framework of the major infrastructure project i2030 for the expansion of suburban and regional transport in Berlin and Brandenburg. In addition to the planned expansion of the Spandau Falkensee route, the loaded Kaczmarek saw the greatest potential for passengers when switching from cars to trains in the reconstruction of the main railway.
It is good that the federal states have finally decided on a regional train connection on the Potsdamer Stammbahn route, he said. But valuable years were lost due to the impasse. As a reminder: The investigations started in 2017 after the start of the major project in 2017. Kaczmarek explained that he could not yet say when construction could start on the main line. A realistic assessment is only possible at the end of the year after initial planning. Completion is expected in the mid to late 2030s.
Kaczmarek also spoke out in favor of the electrification of the southern inner ring. This is “one of the last major reserves” for rail traffic in the capital. Not all regional and long-distance trains would then have to be routed to the center via the north-south route, but could also go to Ostkreuz.
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In addition, new stops at Südkreuz and Hermannstraße or Neukölln could be created in the course of the reconstruction of the main line. Transport Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) and Brandenburg’s Infrastructure Minister Guido Beermann (CDU) had announced the same thing last week. Now the project just needs to be officially launched – and funded.
There could be a big step forward in this matter on Friday. Then the heads of the state governments of Berlin and Brandenburg will meet in Potsdam with Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and Deutsche Bahn, among other things to talk about the expansion of the Berlin railway junction and its financing.