DB launches renewal programme on the Hamburg-Berlin line

DB press release

Around 220 million euros for a strong railway between Germany's two largest cities - Renewal of more than 74 kilometres of track and 100 points - From 16 August, 10 p.m. to 14 December 2024, diversions and journey time extensions on long-distance services, some replacement services with buses on regional services - Adjusted train services available in all information media

(Berlin/Hamburg 26 June 2024) From 16 August to 14 December 2024, Deutsche Bahn (DB) will be carrying out extensive maintenance and renewal work on the Hamburg-Berlin line: Among other things, more than 74 kilometres of track and 100 points between Wittenberge and Ludwigslust as well as between Hamburg and Büchen and around Hagenow Land will be renewed. DB is thus making the infrastructure more efficient and robust as part of its Group strategy Strong Rail - for more punctuality and quality on one of the busiest railway lines in Germany. With 230 trains and up to 30,000 passengers per day, the route between the two largest metropolises is the most important direct city connection. DB is spending around 220 million euros on the comprehensive maintenance and renewal programme this year alone.

Diversions, changed journey times and replacement services (IC bus) on long-distance services

Long-distance trains between Hamburg and Berlin will be diverted via Stendal and Uelzen until the end of the construction phase. The stops in Ludwigslust, Wittenberge and Büchen will be cancelled. Travellers should allow 45 minutes more travelling time. As only one track is available on the diversion route via the Altmark, the 30-minute frequency will be adjusted to one departure per hour. For travellers to/from Ludwigslust and Wittenberge, direct replacement buses (IC buses) will run between Hamburg and Ludwigslust or Wittenberge. DB is thus relying on a concept that has already proved its worth in the past during work on the Hamburg-Berlin line.

From 17 August to 29 September, there will be restrictions on ICE services on the Hamburg-Schwerin route. ICE trains will be cancelled between Hamburg and Schwerin. DB is operating a direct connection with replacement buses (IC buses) on this route. The replacement service will be supplemented by one through IC train per day (via Lübeck/Bad Kleinen; IC 2268/ IC 2263). Passengers can thus travel from Hamburg via Lübeck to Rostock and back without changing trains.

Restrictions and partial replacement buses on regional services

Local trains between Wittenberge and Berlin will run largely without restrictions during the work. On the ODEG regional express line RE8 (Wismar-Wittenberge-Flughafen BER), buses will be used as a substitute from 16 August to 6 October between Karstädt and Wittenberge and from 7 October to 14 December between Ludwigslust and Wittenberge. On the ODEG regional train line RB14 (Hagenow Stadt-Ludwigslust-Parchim), replacement buses will run between Hagenow Stadt and Ludwigslust from 17 August to 6 October and from 1 November to 7 November. From 27 November to 12 December, replacement buses will run between Ludwigslust and Neustadt-Glewe. The regional train line RB17 (Wismar-Ludwigslust) will run until 6 October - extended from/to Karstädt.

Passengers travelling on DB Regio's regional express line RE1 (Hamburg-Schwerin-Rostock) will have to adjust to longer journey times. This affects the sections between Hamburg Hbf and Hagenow Land as well as between Büchen and Hagenow Land. Replacement buses will run between Hamburg Wandsbek and Büchen/Hagenow Land from 16 August to 1 September, and replacement buses will run between Bergedorf/Büchen and Hagenow Land from 2 to 29 September.

The transport of bicycles on the replacement buses is only possible to a limited extent due to space restrictions. Pushchairs and wheelchairs have priority over bicycles. Journey times are sometimes significantly longer. For example, travellers between Büchen and Schwerin or Wittenberge and Wismar should expect around an hour longer journey time in each case.

Travellers in Hamburg should use the S-Bahn. From 30 September, the regional express line RE1 will run again largely without restrictions.

The northern bypass of the construction site is possible with the RE4 (Bad Kleinen-Lübeck) and RE8 (Lübeck-Hamburg) lines. Some RE4 trains also run with more seats. However, the space available on the RE4 remains limited. Travellers should consider a long-distance bypass, for example via Berlin and Hanover, when planning their journey. In addition, express buses run every two hours between Hamburg Wandsbek and Schwerin without intermediate stops.

Current timetables now online

DB regrets the necessary restrictions. Travellers should allow more time and find out about their connections in advance. The maps of the stations, including the signposting of the replacement stops, are available at bahnhof.de to find.

The current rail connections and all replacement services can be found at bahn.deand in other travel apps such as "Bus & Bahn" from Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) or "MV FÄHRT GUT" from Verkehrsgesellschaft Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (VMV). Timetables and posters at all affected stations will provide information on the changed train times and replacement bus services in good time before the start of construction work.

General refurbishment from summer 2025

The comprehensive general refurbishment of the Hamburg-Berlin line will take place between August 2025 and the end of April 2026. During this time, DB will be bundling all the necessary work on tracks, points and overhead lines, creating more flexibility in operations through additional overtaking options for trains and upgrading several stations. The transport concepts for the nine-month refurbishment period are already being developed and coordinated with the federal states and local authorities.

Note for editorial offices: Further information on the renewal programme and the general refurbishment of the Hamburg-Berlin line can be found at www.deutschebahn.com/hamburg-berlin

Deutsche Bahn is also informing citizens about the regional impact of the construction measures at three digital information events. These events will take place on 11 July, 15 July and 16 July. Participation opportunities and further information on the website www.deutschebahn.com/hamburg-berlin.