Dhe Deutsche Bahn is pushing ahead with the project for a long-distance railway tunnel including an underground station in Frankfurt. As Gerd-Dietrich Bolte, the manager responsible for the infrastructure projects in Hesse at Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB Netz, reported on Monday, the planning work for the project was put out to tender last week, and unlike usual, all three were put out to speed Stages of planning at once: the rough preliminary planning, the detailed draft and approval planning and also the later preparation of the tender for the construction work. The planning work is expected to be awarded in late 2023 or early 2024, with another eight to ten years for the planning itself.
In addition, Deutsche Bahn started dialogue with politicians and associations on Monday. Members of the Bundestag, representatives of the state, local authorities, Frankfurt local councils and several other organizations such as the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz were invited to find out more about the construction project on the 31st floor of the Silver Tower in Frankfurt, which was rented by Deutsche Bahn. At the same time, it was discussed which form the dialogue should take and how the citizens should be involved. With this process, the planners want to avoid such sharp arguments as in “Stuttgart 21”.
Four additional platforms
At the same time, they leave no doubt that the long-distance railway tunnel under Frankfurt will become a reality. The arguments for this are too convincing: the tunnel should not only reduce the travel time of trains to and from Hanau and on to Hamburg, Berlin and Hanover, among others, by around eight minutes, but also and above all increase the capacities of the Frankfurt track network by a fifth . With the future underground station, the main train station will have four additional platforms. Bolte emphasized that due to Frankfurt’s central location, the planned Germany cycle would not be possible at all without the long-distance tunnel. It envisages that in future the ICE will run through Germany more frequently than before and at departure times that are easy to remember.
Bolte countered the argument that expanding Frankfurt’s southern railway station instead of the long-distance railway tunnel would suffice with the argument that four additional tracks there would require the demolition of around 50 houses in Sachsenhausen. In addition, the Südbahnhof is not at all the place for a heavy arrival of cars, and it is also not very well connected to the S-Bahn network.
The feasibility study published a year ago decided that the long-distance railway tunnel will begin west of the Camberger Bridge. It will then run south of the main train station. According to the current state of planning, the four-track underground station will lie partly under the southern of the five station halls and partly under the adjacent Mannheimer Straße. This ensures that rail traffic will not be significantly affected during the construction work, and that the S-Bahn, which runs on the north side of the main station, will not be affected at all.
Two exits to the east
The underground station will be 450 meters long, it was reported Monday, while the platforms themselves will be 420 meters long. Among other things, they will be accessible from the current side platform, as well as from a new pedestrian tunnel across the tracks, which is being dug between the western end of the station hall and the harbor tunnel. It will also create a new connection between the Gutleutviertel and Güterplatz.
The location of the underground station on the south side is also necessary because the tracks to the east will then run in a very sharp bend towards the Main so that they do not have to pass under the high-rise buildings at the Gallusanlage.
It is now also certain that there will be two exits in the east, one north and one south of the Main. Trains can reach Hanau in two ways. According to reports, there are considerations to design the tunnel with four tracks in order to avoid a complicated underground branching structure at the level of the ECB. But that will be decided during the detailed planning. Regardless of the plans for the long-distance railway tunnel, the railways want to continue to modernize the southern and central stations in advance, as it was said on Monday.