Trouble Spot: 
Y-Line Hanover-Hamburg/Bremen

Y-Line

The plan of the Deutsche Bundesbahn AG is to connect the existing railway tracks via a new railway track between Bremen and Hamburg. This new railway track has the form of a Y (thus its name).

The Y-line consists of three sections which would connect the existing railway network between Hamburg, Bremen and Hanover. These three sections are as follows:

  • Lauenbrück–Isernhagen, 81 km, top speed 300 km/h
  • Visselhövede–Langwedel, 27 km, top speed 160 km/h
  • Isernhagen–Lehrte, 17 km, top speed 160 km/h

The renovation of the railway line between Hamburg/Bremen and Hanover was discussed as long ago as 1962. In 1992 the Deutsche Bundesbahn AG presented the first routing of this track. Due to the expansion of the ports in Bremen and Hamburg there was a need to strengthen the railway connections to the hinterland. The Y line hasn’t been part of the TEN-T Priority projects but it is part of the new commission’s proposal.
In a cost-benefit analysis of the Deutsche Bundesbahn AG the proposed plan was one of the best solutions, but in our opinion, and in the citizens’ eyes, it has failed.
The suggested project won’t fit the needs of the original purpose. Since the new tracks will be built as high speed tracks, mostly only suitable for passenger transport, it won’t be able to be used to carry goods to or from the ports of Bremen and Hamburg. Goods can only be carried during the night and upgrades to use the track for daytime will cost enormous sums (passing lanes/ additional control and safety systems). An upgrade of the already existing lines would be much more appropriate than building a new line from scratch. The money saved and also the economical utility of this upgrade would be a better solution. It seems as though the only reason to build this railway track would be to reduce the travel time of passengers by a couple of minutes. This mentality must be stopped!
Another reason is the exploding building costs: The first mentioned costs of this projects were 2,6 bn DM(= 1,3 bn euro) in 1992. At the moment the costs are referred to as 1,6 bn euro. Since no cost adjustments have been made in the last few years, this sum is a long way from being realistic. According to a study of the “University of Applied Sciences Berlin” in the year 2008 the estimated costs are about 4 bn euro!

As well as the economic reasons against this project, there are also ecological reasons against it. Instead of using the existing lines, new ones are going to be built. These new tracks will go through a Natura 2000 region and will also cut right through several communities, thus separating the communities in two. Construction of the new tracks will also cause the noise level to increase. The measures against noise reductions are only guaranteed if the existing tracks are upgraded; new railway tracks will generate a new source of noise and thus will not be covered by the existing rules.