Authorities in Berlin have announced plans to build a 30 km-long railway tunnel through the Ore Mountains along the German-Czech border.
The proposed rail tunnel would significantly shorten the length of a train journey between Prague, the Czech capital, and the eastern German city of Dresden.
State-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn said several options were examined, but in the end it was concluded that a single tunnel would be the best solution for economic, environmental and technical reasons. The tunnel would link the towns of Heidenau (Germany) and Usti nad Labem (Czech Republic). The new project is considered a priority for European infrastructure. Current railway lines along the Elbe river valley are approaching full capacity and are affected by occasional flooding. But it could be two decades before the first trains pass through the tunnel.
Work on the new railway tunnel through the Ore Mountains could start in 2032
Deutsche Bahn plans to start construction work on the tunnel around 2032, and the site is expected to take around 12 years.
The new route will cut the time of a train journey between Prague and Dresden from around two and a half hours at present to about an hour. The new line will also shorten train journey times for passengers travelling from Berlin or Hamburg to Vienna, Bratislava or Budapest. The tunnel is part of a wider pan-European corridor that starts in the German North Sea and Baltic Sea ports and ends in the ports of Istanbul and Athens.
Currently, the longest rail tunnel in Germany is 10.8 kilometres long. The Landrucken tunnel is located in the state of Hesse. Another tunnel, called Fehmarnbelt, is currently being built between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark. When completed, this tunnel will be about 18 kilometres long and will significantly shorten the duration of a train journey between Germany and Copenhagen (Denmark).