German Unity Transport Project 8

 Nuremberg – Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig – Berlin

The upgraded Nuremberg-Ebensfeld line

This is an important line in terms of railway history. Germany's first steam-driven railway opened in 1835, linking Nuremberg and Fürth. Almost ten years later, in 1844, the first train of the Ludwigsbahn (Bavarian Ludwig Railway) travelled from Nuremberg to Bamberg on the route from south to north.

An ICE 3 and the Adler, which marked the start of German railway history in 1835 on the route between Nuremberg and Fürth
An ICE 3 and the Adler, which marked the start of German railway history in 1835 on the route between Nuremberg and Fürth (Photo: DB AG)

The section of line from Nuremberg to Ebensfeld was an important part of the line linking the kingdoms of Bavaria and Saxony. The Kingdom of Bavaria financed and implemented the construction of the long-distance line from Lindau via Augsburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg and Lichtenfels to Hof. The sächsische Staatseisenbahn (Royal Saxon State Railways) continued the line via Plauen and Altenburg to Leipzig. The Bayrischer Bahnhof (Bavarian station) in Leipzig is a reminder of this historic link today.

Our ancestors did an outstanding job. The original track bed of the Nuremberg-Bamberg section of line still meets the requirements for a line in the European high-speed network. The section from Nuremberg-Doos to Kleingrundlach was rerouted in about 1870 and is the only section to deviate from the original track bed. This is because a new line was built from Nuremberg-Doos to Würzburg, which resulted in the relocation of Fürth station from Poppenreuth to its current location. The Bamberg line also went via the current central station in Fürth and then continued via Fürther Hard. The railways started a revolution in transport in the 19th century. They improved mobility for both people and goods and facilitated the transition to the industrial age. The railways came to set the pace of modernisation. Now, around 200 years later, a high-performance railway infrastructure is a key factor in a strong, dynamic economy both at the regional and national level. It is not just Germany that benefits from the upgrading of the Nuremberg-Ebensfeld section of the high-speed line between Nuremberg, Erfurt, Leipzig/Halle and Berlin. In terms of European integration, investments in railway infrastructure are, more than ever, a key element in setting the course for the future.

For the purpose of obtaining planning permission, the entire line was subdivided into 13 planning approval sections. The planning approval procedures were initiated by the Federal Railway Authority (EBA) between 1994 and 1996. The procedures were suspended from July 1999. To ensure the construction of the S-Bahn (rapid transit) line, the Free State of Bavaria concluded the planning agreement for the S-Bahn project in December 2001. In 2002 the German government again gave the green light for the upgrading of the Nuremberg-Ebensfeld line so that the work could be carried out at the same time as the work on the S-Bahn. Deutsche Bahn initiated the planning amendment procedures necessitated by changes to the situation (both legal and technical aspects) from March 2002. Some of the planning approval decisions have been taken, and the remaining decisions will be taken successively by the Federal Railway Authority (EBA).

The general public was included in the planning process to a large extent right from the outset. In over 100 cities, towns and communities, over 1,000 consultations took place with technical and local authorities, associations, federations and members of parliament. In addition, public meetings, information trips, exhibitions and so on have been and continue to be organised in order to keep the public informed about how the planning process is progressing.

S-Bahn (rapid transit)

Nuremberg and Fürth can look back on a railway history that is unparalleled anywhere else in Germany. The two cities were first linked by rail in the early part of the 19th century: On December 7th, 1835 the königlich privilegierte Ludwigs-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (Royal Privileged Ludwig Railway Company) organised an impressive opening ceremony for the new railway line between Plärrer in Nuremberg and Freiheit in Fürth, which was about 6 kilometres long. In addition to the horse-drawn trains that ran every hour, a steam-driven locomotive, the Adler, pulled the train twice a day. As the first railway line with steam-driven trains for passenger and freight transport, the Nuremberg-Fürth line represents a milestone in German railway history. At the Bärenschanze underground station in Fürther Straße, there is still a memorial to the Bayerische Ludwigsbahn (Bavarian Ludwig Railway), which ushered in the railway age in Germany. The economic success of the Ludwigsbahn, more than anything, that encouraged the other German railway committees to go ahead with their own plans.

The route taken by the Nuremberg-Fürth line that we know today went into operation about 10 years later, on September 1st, 1844, as part of the northern section of the Ludwigbahn's north-south line. The original single-track line was upgraded to a double-track line in four stages between 1862 and 1892.On May 10th, 1939 the electrification of the line was completed.

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