Deutsche Bahn wants to build a long-distance railway tunnel and an underground station in Frankfurt am Main. A study commissioned by the federal government in 2019 confirmed the technical feasibility of the tunnel, and the railway is now starting concrete planning, the group said on Monday. The subsequent construction period is about ten years. The costs are estimated at 3.6 billion euros.
Most long-distance trains will then use the tunnel to travel to the main station 35 meters underground and stop at the new main station. As a through connection, the tunnel relieves the heavy traffic on the above-ground tracks, explained the railway. The passengers in the Frankfurt transport hub are thus more reliable and faster on the road. At the same time, significantly more trains could head for the main station. Local transport in the Rhine-Main region also benefits from the greater range. As a terminus, Frankfurt Central Station has so far often caused delays with nationwide effects. The project is intended to resolve the bottleneck.
DB Infrastructure Board Member Ronald Pofalla called the planned tunnel “another important element for the Germany cycle”, which should connect the metropolises every 30 minutes. Thanks to the new tunnel with two underground tracks and four platforms, the railway will increase the capacity at the Frankfurt hub from 1,250 to 1,500 trains per day. “That is an increase of 20 percent.” With this, the railways are strengthening the rails for the urgently needed mobility and climate change in the trade fair city of Frankfurt am Main and in Germany.
Hesse’s Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir (Greens) said the tunnel would be “a huge step forward for the Frankfurt rail hub.” It is urgently needed to improve mobility in the Frankfurt-Rhein-Main region. This also shortened travel times.
Deutsche Bahn is now planning exactly where the new mainline tunnel will run best, how and where it will specifically be connected to existing railway lines and where the future underground station will have its best location, as the group announced. The first information event for citizens will take place this Monday.
There have been several designs for an underground station in Frankfurt am Main. The “Frankfurt 21” project was discussed 25 years ago – as in Stuttgart, the terminus was to be replaced by an underground station. The project was closed in 2001 due to lack of funds. The current planning is based on the Zurich model, where a tunnel has also been created under the above-ground terminus station.
In a resolution, 19 associations, municipalities, organizations and companies had spoken out in favor of the project, including the transport associations RMV and NVV, the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND), the railway and transport union (EVG) and the passenger association Pro Bahn. The travel time of long-distance trains will be shortened and capacity for additional regional traffic will be created, the text says. Freight traffic will also benefit from the elimination of the Frankfurt bottleneck.
“With such an addition to the above-ground Frankfurt main station, the future requirements for high-performance rail traffic can be met,” the resolution says. The rail infrastructure is already overloaded, which is why an expansion of the Frankfurt hub is also essential for the growth of local transport. However, other planned expansion measures should neither be jeopardized nor delayed.