Opening of Katzenberg Tunnel

The new Katzenbergtunnel, which was on officially inaugurated on 4 December 2012, is located in the most southwest part of Germany in Baden Württemberg and considered a showcase project. On the important Rhine line connecting Basel with Karlsruhe trains no longer have to roll winding through vineyards as the longest two-tube rail tunnel in Germany has opened.

In future many trains on one of the major north-south routes Germany’s will reach their destination much faster. The Katzenbergtunnel located between Bad Bellingen and Efringen-Kirchen was opened after nine years of construction. The tunnel is with its 9,385 meters per tube the longest two tubes railway tunnel existing in Germany. The costs (totalling 610 million euros) remained in the predefined budget and also the time schedule (total 7 years) was met.

With the timetable change on 9 December 2012 the first regular trains will roll through the tunnel. Every day from that day on more than 200 freight and passenger trains will pass through the Katzenbergtunnel. Until now, the trains run through villages and vineyards which is time costly and also dangerous. Instead of currently more than 250 trains a day only 50 trains a day will still run above ground.

The tunnel is the largest single building of the new Karlsruhe-Basel route. The 185 kilometre long route will be expanded from currently two to four tracks in the future, but the majority of it is still planning phase.

The tunnel is technologically complex. In the ceiling and walls of the tunnel slots are integrated. They are intended to prevent high speed trains to push a pressure wave in front of them and thus avoid the usual bang. In addition, the tracks were not built on a gravel road but on a concrete pavement reinforced with steel. In case of emergency rescue road vehicles can enter the railway tunnel and reach the crash site easily – this is the first railway tunnel in Germany that has this feature. Normal buses can also use the tunnel, so that in emergency case no one has to walk to reach the safe exit.

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