The Danish preparatory construction work now begins on the railway connecting Europe


In this month, the Danish railway infrastructure manager, Banedanmark, started the preparatory construction work on one of its biggest projects to date. The Ringsted-Fehmarn project will upgrade 115 km of railway that runs over the islands of Zealand and Lolland-Falster to the future fixed tunnel link across the Fehmarn Belt.

The construction work is ambitious. The line is currently partially single track and the trains can maintain a speed of 120 km/h on Lolland-Falster and 160 km/h on Zealand. When the Fehmarn Belt fixed link is expected to open in late 2021, there will be two tracks all the way and the trains will be able to run up to 200 km/h. The entire line will be electrified and there will be 1000 metre long overtaking tracks in three places that allow for the slower freight trains to pull over to the side, so the faster passenger trains can pass. Finally, Banedanmark will launch a new national ERTMS signalling system along the line.

This upgraded line will provide significant improvements for both the Danish and international train traffic.

"The Ringsted-Fehmarn line will allow for more trains, better and timelier train traffic and significantly shorter travel times. The Ringsted-Fehmarn line will not only strengthen the Danish regional infrastructure, but it will also link Scandinavia much better with Central Europe. At the same time, the international freight traffic will be improved when the journey between Sweden/Eastern Denmark and Germany is 160 kilometres shorter through the tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt," says the Danish Minister for Transport, Magnus Heunicke.

Great advantages for passengers

When the track and the tunnel are opened, the travelling time by train between Hamburg and Copenhagen be reduced to about 2½ hours compared with the 4½ hours it takes today. There will be an increase in direct passenger traffic between Germany and Denmark. The Danish and German Ministries of Transport have together estimated that there will be 20 passenger trains each way per day in 2025. In comparison, there are currently six passenger trains at most each way in one day.

More freight on the line
The Ringsted-Fehmarn line, together with the tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt, will also be an attractive option for freight transport between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Today, freight is transported by lorries to and from the ferries at the Port of Rødby on western Lolland or by rail through Jutland and across Funen. When freight trains can run through the tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt, the journey will be 160 km shorter. The Danish and German ministries have estimated that there will be 78 freight trains a day after the opening of the Fehmarn Belt fixed link.

The trans-European railway corridor between Stockholm and Naples, which the Ringsted-Fehmarn line is a part of will get a big boost from all the benefits, including the environmental ones that it incorporates.

"This is a major milestone for Banedanmark and for the Ringsted-Fehmarn line project, that we now officially begin with the preparatory construction work on one of Banedanmark's largest infrastructure projects for many years. The actual Construction Act for the project is expected to be passed in 2015, but because of an Electrification Act that has already been passed, we have the opportunity to start now," says Jens Ole Kaslund, Project Director of the Ringsted-Fehmarn line.

The total cost of the Ringsted-Fehmarn line is roughly estimated to be EUR 1.2 billion and the project has received a subsidy of more than EUR 30 million from EU's TEN-T Programme.

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For further information please contact Banedanmark's press office on +45 8234 1313

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