THE German state of Lower Saxony has identified 54 lines as potentially viable for re-opening to passenger services.

Following a call for proposals from the state Ministry of Transport, regional and city authorities submitted 46 lines to the regional transport company (LNVG) for possible reactivation.

During a presentation made to a parliamentary committee, 29 were shortlisted as potentially viable. These will be added to a further 25 routes shortlisted in an earlier procedure, some of which are now in the process of re-opening. Another 17 proposed routes were discounted as not economically viable.

In 2021 states were invited to bid for additional federal funding to reopen passenger lines and undertake other regional rail investments with more than €10bn assigned between 2021 and 2031. Some states, including Lower Saxony, have been more proactive than others in seeking to re-open lines and increase the passenger network.

The parliamentary committee meeting on June 5 agreed that the focus should be on several projects that have passed the feasibility phase and where planning processes have been completed and infrastructure work is underway or being contracted, including:

  • Stade - Bremervörde, proposed for re-opening by 2026 using Alstom iLint hydrogen trains
  • Lüneburg - Soltau
  • Braunschweig - Harvesse, and
  • Helmstedt - Schöningen.

In addition the routes seen as the next level of priority are:

  • Buchholz - Jesteburg - Hamburg-Harburg,
  • Neuenhaus - Coevorden in the Netherlands, and
  • Salzgitter-Lebenstedt to Salzgitter-Lichtenberg.