Deutsche Bahn and Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) have presented the final route for the new Brenner Northern rail access which will be constructed in the Kufstein – Rosenheim area to the to the northern approach of the Brenner Base Tunnel (BBT) which is currently under construction.
This decision was preceded by a comprehensive consideration of the planning area. Use of space, protected areas, geology, and the water balance were examined. Based on these topics, the planning teams worked out several corridors and subsequently different route variants. On the basis of the evaluation criteria developed together with the region, a decision has now been made in favor of a planning variant.
Following analisys, the ‘Violet’ variant was selected as the favourite route for the Northern access, starting in Schaftenau, in Langkampfen municipality to Ostermünchen near Rosenheim. The Austrian section of the route will be lowered into the valley immediately to the East of the planned link point Schaftenau running as a tunnel towards the state border. Around 60 per cent of the 54-km route runs underground. The cross-border Laiming tunnel and the Steinkirchen tunnel in Germany are each around 13 km long. Another 5.5-kilometer-long tunnel will cross under the municipality of Stephanskirchen, east of Rosenheim. The connection points with the existing railway line are also planned north of Niederaudorf and near Ostermünchen. Around 47.5 km and thus most of the ‘violet’ route is located on the territory of Germany. The Austrian section is around 6.5 km long.
The project is expected to be completed by 2038.
“The cross-border character makes the project something very special for ÖBB. The joint search for the best overall route planning has revealed a sensible solution. The cross-border cooperation also worked very well. The result of our planning underlines the European character of the project: together we are looking for solutions to make traffic climate-friendly,” Reinhold Hödl, the Head of Project Implementation, at ÖBB-Infrastruktur said.
The route selection is the first step of the planning process for the access. Germany is performing the preliminary planning while Austria is planning to start the environmental impact assessment. During this phase, the engineers investigate further optimisations and deal with planning details. In the next phases, the two companies will continue the dialogue with the people in the region of the planning area.
During the entire route development process, Deutsche Bahn and ÖBB have paid particular attention to coordination with representatives of the region.
The first dialogue forums were set up in 2015 and the working groups continuously and intensively discussed the planning activities to develop the Brenner Northern rail access.
The route is part of the four-tracking project from Munich to Verona, which includes the Brenner Base Tunnel. This year, Italy’s railway infrastructure manager awarded the contract for the construction of the BBT South access line.