According to DB Networks, two options are being considered for the project. The first is the so-called "Mottgers Spange," which involves four-tracking the section of the existing Hanau – Fulda line as far as Gelnhausen, where a new high-speed line would run east to join the Wurzbürg – Hannover high-speed line near Zeitlofs. The second option involves four-tracking both the Hanau – Aschaffenburg – Nantenbach and Hanau – Fulda lines, which would require the construction of a new alignment on several sections.

According to DB Networks, both options require roughly the same level of investment, but the Mottgers Spange is favoured because it would significantly reduce journey times for long-distance services from Frankfurt to both Fulda and Würzburg while relieving the existing lines.

A study carried out in 2003 suggested the €3.1bn project would have a cost-benefit ratio of 2.0, although federal transport minister Mr Peter Ramsauer told parliament in November 2010 that construction would not begin before 2025. However, the federal government has since allocated funds to continue the planning process.

The new line is a key project for us, enabling us to create additional capacity for projected traffic growth on this busy corridor," says Mr Oliver Kraft, CEO of DB Networks. "Therefore we are pleased that we can now, in agreement with the federal government, take the plans for this project forward."