DB: Dresden - Prague in one hour through new tunnel

DB: Dresden - Prague in one hour through new tunnel
North-south line © Deutsche Bahn AG / Wolfgang Klee

Germany's longest railway tunnel is to be built in the eastern Ore Mountains and will significantly shorten the journey time between Dresden and Prague.

After examining various options for the new line, the construction of a single, approximately 30-kilometre-long tunnel between Heidenau on the German side and Usti nad Labem on the Czech side is now favoured, Deutsche Bahn announced. The full tunnel option is the best solution from an environmental, technical and economic point of view.

The plans call for two parallel tunnels to be driven through the eastern Ore Mountains. Each tunnel will be single track and will be used by both passenger and freight trains. On the German side, the construction of the new tunnel also includes the upgrading of the line between Dresden and Heidenau. About 46 kilometres of new track, modern control and safety technology and new train storage facilities will be built.

However, rail passengers will have to wait at least another two decades before the first train rolls through the tunnel. According to current forecasts, Deutsche Bahn is aiming to start construction around 2032, with a construction period of around 12 years.

The Dresden-Prague route is part of a European rail corridor from the German North Sea and Baltic Sea ports through south-east Europe to Istanbul and Athens. 

For this reason, the new construction project is considered to be of international significance. The existing route through the Elbe valley is reaching the limits of its capacity. The new line will provide a flood-proof alternative and reduce journey times. Passengers will be able to travel from Dresden to the Czech capital in about an hour. At present, the journey usually takes just under two and a half hours.

The project connects nations and creates the conditions for more passenger and freight transport by rail," said Martin Walden, Deutsche Bahn's Group Representative for Saxony. Saxony's Minister of Transport, Martin Dulig, stressed that the construction of the line was an absolute priority.

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