Large-scale projects along the Rhine and Ruhr: a new network for western Germany

August 11, 2022 – 2:42 pm

Deutsche Bahn is investing EUR 2 billion in rail in North Rhine-Westphalia alone. Lines are being upgraded, stations are being modernized and hubs are being made fit for the future from Westphalia to Rhineland and from the Ruhr region to the Dutch border.


Sarah Geißler

Head of
Marketing & Communications
DB Engineering & Consulting
EUREF-Campus 14
Torgauer Strasse 12-15
10829 Berlin

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More tracks for European freight transport

The Emmerich-Oberhausen rail line (upgraded line 46/2), known as the Betuwe Line, is the central link between the Dutch North Sea ports and the Ruhr region. As part of the Rhine-Alpine Core Network Corridor, which connects Rotterdam and Genoa, it is an important lifeline for freight transport in Europe. The line will be completely modernized and rebuilt, with work taking place in  several construction phases. The scale is impressive. The roughly 73 kilometer long route is being upgraded to three tracks, with a fourth track on some sections. Railroad crossings are being removed and replaced with new bridges, and 12 out of the 15 stations and stops are being upgraded. Part of a bridge weighing 10,000 metric tons was moved in Summer 2021, and this was just one of the project’s measures. The control-command and signaling system was updated to a state-of-the-art electronic rail signaling system. The system for converting current at the Dutch and German border was updated to alternating current only. Shortening block lengths will allow more trains to travel closer together, which will make freight as well as passenger transport more efficient. Eventually, European Train Control System (ETCS) will be installed on the line. DB Engineering & Consulting is assisting with all areas of construction on behalf of DB Netz, including with project and sectoral design, construction supervision, construction operations planning and environmental planning.

Bridge insertion on the Emmerich-Oberhausen railroad line, Germany

A modern main station for Duisburg

Duisburg’s main train station has been undergoing repairs in stages for several years. The passenger building and passenger tunnels have already been updated. As technical manager and member of an engineering consortium, DB Engineering & Consulting is now handling all construction supervision services and environmental and geo-services for the rest of the station modernization. A new track hall with six platforms and a new overhead line system are being built for EUR 260 million. A wave-shaped glass roof will give the station a visual upgrade against the cityscape. New wayfinding systems with tactile guidance and a modern lighting and public address system will improve the station experience for visitors. Construction is scheduled to begin at the end of 2022.

A climate-friendly ICE depot for Dortmund

A carbon-neutral ICE depot is being built on the site of a former freight yard at the Port of Dortmund. Scheduled to be completed by 2027, the depot will accommodate 17 ICE trains a day in the 450-meter-long hall, which will have four maintenance tracks. The depot will provide the entire range of light maintenance, which includes supply and disposal, corrective maintenance, and cleaning inside and out. DB Engineering & Consulting is designing and providing support for the entire construction project – from the maintenance depot itself to bicycle parking for employees. It is providing services relating to building construction, mechanical engineering and technical building equipment, energy and heat supply, and control-command and signaling. Deutsche Bahn is investing EUR 400 million in the new building, which will create around 500 jobs.

Two new electronic interlockings for Cologne

With more than 1,300 train movements a day, Cologne’s main station is one of the most important hubs for rail transport in Germany and the rest of Europe. It already frequently operates at 100% capacity, and the demands placed on it will only continue to grow. That’s why two new interlockings are being built in Cologne between now and 2025: one at Cologne Main Station and one on the left bank of the Rhine. The interlocking at the main station will initially go into operation for S-Bahn traffic. It will be upgraded to a subcenter by 2024, while a second subcenter will be built for long distance rail transport.

The second interlocking, on the left bank of the Rhine, will replace the existing signaling systems at Köln-West, Köln-Süd and Hürth-Kalscheuren stations. In addition, new telecommunications equipment, switch heaters and overhead lines are being built. The new interlockings will make the line more robust. In the future, increased service frequency will mean more trains and better punctuality. The signaling technology will also be more powerful and less susceptible to disruptions, which will ensure greater flexibility in day-to-day operations. DB Engineering & Consulting is sharing construction supervision services (including construction supervision, construction operations planning and geotechnical consulting) equally with Vössing Ingenieurgesellschaft. It is also handling sectoral design for the control and command technology for the electronic interlocking at Cologne Main Station.

Better mobility with the Rhine-Ruhr-Express

Several million people use regional and local transport in Germany’s most populous state. Capacity on the core route connecting Dortmund, Düsseldorf and Cologne frequently reaches its limits. Long distance, regional and freight transport share the same tracks, which often results in delays. The Rhine-Ruhr-Express (RRX) will greatly improve mobility options for passengers and commuters in the major metropolitan region. In the future, seven RRX lines will connect Cologne and Dortmund every 15 minutes, which will also create more links to other parts of the state, such as Münsterland and East Westphalia-Lippe. The RRX will require a complete redesign of the infrastructure along a 120 km length. The four to six-track upgrade and a number of new switch connections will provide the necessary flexibility in operations. And that will mean a lot of construction at stations along the route, active and passive noise-control measures, replaced railroad overpasses and updating of all railroad equipment along the route, such as the construction of the new electronic interlocking in Düsseldorf. DB E&C is responsible for extensive overall design management and environmental services, is providing construction supervision support and is handling the first construction phases, for example on site in Leverkusen and Langenfeld.

These are just a few examples of the many construction projects that make up DB Engineering & Consulting’s contribution to Strong Rail in Western Germany.

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