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August 30, 2011

First train arrives at new Berlin airport

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THE first test train arrived at the new station beneath Berlin Brandenburg Airport, itself still under construction, on August 27. The new station and connections to the existing rail network are on schedule for completion by the end of October. However, trains will not start running to the airport until it opens on June 3 2012, when it will replace the existing airport at Tegel.
The Euros 636m rail link has involved building a 1.9km tunnel and underground station, laying 51km of track and 65 turnouts. S-Bahn trains will serve the station from the west, while regional trains will be able to access the station from the east as well. The objective is for rail services to carry up to 50% of airline passengers.

However, plans to reopen a section of the Dresden main line for a direct express service to Berlin's main station have become mired in disputes between German Rail (DB), and local residents and the Berlin Senate which are calling for expensive measures including a tunnel to reduce noise. Until the dispute can be resolved and funding organised, the airport express will operate via a longer route which will increase the journey time from 20 to 30 minutes and only permit a 30-minute interval service.

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