ICE 4 on the Mannheim-Stuttgart high-speed line

Permanent way improvements for the Mannheim-Stuttgart high-speed line

Since its commissioning 28 years ago, the Mannheim-Stuttgart high-speed line has played a key role in rail transport in Germany. It paved the way for a new era of rail transport as one of the country’s first high-speed rail lines. However, time and the strain from 68,000 long distance trains per year and late night freight trains had taken their toll, making improvements necessary. Deutsche Bahntherefore decided to conduct a comprehensive renewal of the Mannheim-Stuttgart line in 2020.

The ambitious construction project lasted 205 days and, from April to October 2020, required a full line closure of the line section. During this period, the tracks, switches and engineering were thoroughly updated. The magnitude of the construction work is impressive: Around 190 kilometers of track and 54 switches were renewed over a route length of 99 kilometers, while 300,000 rail ties and 440,000 tons of ballast were installed. The improvements also included the modernization of the control-command and signaling systems and the construction of noise barriers to improve conditions for local residents and minimize unpleasantries. At the same time, extensive maintenance work was carried out, such as deep drainage and inspection of the overhead line equipment.

Due to the logistical challenge of transporting the numerous building materials by road, the two main lines had to be closed for the duration of the construction work. This posed a major challenge in respect of the transport of large machinery, materials and other substances to and from the construction site.

Besides being an important national rail link, the Mannheim-Stuttgart high-speed line is also part of the trans-European transport network and the north-south high-speed line. The comprehensive improvements not only ensure the safety and efficiency of rail transport, but also ensure this important artery’s viability for the future.

Project information

  • Permanent way renewal on rail line 4080
  • Renewal of 187.4 km of track, including 11.9 km of renewal of the rails only (SE2)
  • Renewal of 54 switches 
  • Upgrade, modernization, repair and revitalization of existing route 
    • Permanent way: concrete slab track, ballast 
    • Number of tracks: 2 
    • Length of line: 98.80 km 
    • Design speed: 280 km/h 
    • Type of transport: passenger transport 
Crane for switch assembly in the Rollenberg tunnel
ICE 4 class 412 as ICE 575 on the Mannheim - Stuttgart high-speed line
Construction work at Mannheim-Stuttgart line
Laying of turnout parts of turnout 41 of the Forst overhead line with road-rail excavator

Scope of services

  • Design
    • Performing object design for transport facilities, permanent way and underground cable installations  
    • Engineering of tunnel and deep drainage, cable duct upgrades, noise barriers and side drain cleaning and reprofiling  
    • Integrating the high level construction process and construction logistics in overall planning 
    • Planning health and safety coordination 
  • Environmental and Geoservices
    • Ensuring environmental protection and wildlife conservation, consulting with conservation authorities  
    • Drawing up and updating the environmental profile 
    • Ordering permanent way material and disposal, handling of scrap metal disposal and acceptance of materials suitable for reprocessing 
  • Construction Management and Supervision
    • Construction Scheduling / Construction logistics 
    • Conducting construction implementation meetings and coordination of processes pursuant to operations and construction regulations  
    • Conducting line inspections, digital recordings of the track system using a specially adapted surveying train 
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