AS part of plans to rebuild the entire 191km Karslruhe - Basle line to four tracks, DB Networks has presented a plan for a new 90km freight only double-track line from north of Offenburg to Buggingen, south of Freiburg, largely paralleling the A5 Autobahn.

The line will include a 6.75km tunnel under Offenburg avoiding the main station and is designed as part of major capacity enhancements between the North Sea Ports and the north of Italy via the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland.

The Karlsruhe - Basle route is one of the busiest double-track mixed traffic railways in Europe and was used by up to 216 freight, 77 long-distance passenger and 103 regional and local trains every day in 2019 according to DB. Some parts of the route have already been rebuilt to four track, although the central Offenburg - Mülheim (Baden) section has not been significantly modernised.

DB Networks intends to largely build the new 160km/h Offenburg - Freiberg freight route before then rebuilding the existing line for use by 200km/h passenger trains. The new route will be used by diverted long-distance passenger trains during the 2030s while the original line is rebuilt for higher speeds.

Map of the planned lines in Kenzingen - Riegel area. The red line next to the A5 is the new north-south line. Image: DB

DB Networks has published detailed plans for the Kenzingen - Riegel section of the new line, which is open to public consultation until October. Under current plans the southern section from Kenzingen to Buggingen will open around 2031 and the northern section from Offenburg by 2035. The temporary line at Kenzingen will enable the new route, which would otherwise not be connected to the rail network at the northern end, to be used immediately.

The temporary line will remain in use until around 2041 while rebuilding of the Kenzingen - Mülheim line will take place from 2032 to 2038, and the Kenzingen - Offenburg section between 2036 and 2041. For general information on the Karlsruhe - Basle project, click here.