Commercial services are due to begin in December 2015 on the €2.74bn line, reducing Erfurt – Dresden journey times by 40 minutes to 1h 50 min, and Erfurt – Berlin by 45 minutes to 1h 45 min.

The line has three tunnels totalling 15.4km and six viaducts totalling 14.4km, including the €150m Saale-Ester viaduct which at 8.1km is the longest bridge in Germany.

Around 2750 catenary masts have been erected since last year and traction power is supplied by three substations with a capacity of 15MW.

The line is designed for 300km/h operation with the exception of the existing Gröbers – Leipzig section, where the maximum speed is 160km/h.