DB Networks along with Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and German federal transport minister, Mr Andreas Scheuer, have presented the final route for the new Brenner Northern access route, which will be built from near the town of Rosenheim to Schaftenau just south of the Austrian border at Kufstein.

The new 54km line is part of the wider project to create a four-track route from Munich to Verona, including the new Brenner Base Tunnel, which is under construction. The route for the German section has been under discussion for more than six years and has proved to be controversial, in particular due to concerns about noise from freight traffic. Over 100 potential route variants were considered.

The preferred variant, which was published this week, will have tunnels for 60% of its length, largely to overcome residents’ objections as the topography in the wide valley of the river Inn is largely flat and already accommodates the existing two-track railway plus the A93 motorway.

The Brenner North Access Route. Photo: DB Networks

The line will begin at Ostermünchen, west of Rosenheim on the existing line from Munich and then pass around the eastern side of the town largely on the surface before a series of tunnels takes it south to Kufstein. A short section will parallel the existing line enabling trains to switch from one to the other south of Brannenburg in a planned underground junction at Niederaudorf. The proposed cross-border Laiming Tunnel and the Steinkirchen Tunnel will both be around 13km long which will make them the longest tunnels in Germany.

Detailed planning leading to planning permission will now begin. Construction is unlikely to begin until the late 2020s and the full new line may be open by 2040.

For detailed data on rail projects from Germany and around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro.