Deutsche Bahn (DB) recently unveiled a new project proposal for a better connection between Germany and the Czech Republic. It entails the construction of Germany’s longest railway tunnel, which will stretch through the Ore Mountains for 30 kilometres between Heidenau (GER) and Ústí nad Labem (CZ).

The new planned infrastructure is expected to offer an alternative to the Elbe Valley route and will create a more seamless connection between Dresden and Prague. The Elbe Valley route is often subject to disruptions, sometimes caused by the weather, sometimes by DB, as it happened in August and October this year. The new line “will offer a flood-safe alternative”, DB pointed out. Other than the construction of the new tunnel, the initiative entails the expansion of the Dresden-Heidenau section, DB said. “Around 46 kilometers of new tracks, around 90 new switches, modern control and safety technology and new parking options for trains must be built”, the company specified.

What happens next?

As DB explained, the choice was between a partial or a full tunnel. After two and a half years of discussion, it was decided that “the full tunnel variant is the best solution for the environment as well as in terms of traffic, technology and economy”. Concerning the next steps, a Public Debate involving citizens will commence in January next year. By mid-2024, the preferred variant should be finally determined. After that, the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) will start its consultation. Various German media, including Süeddeusche Zeitung, stated that construction of the tunnel should start in 2032 and is estimated to take about 12 years.