In the new forecasts for the planned ICE route from Frankfurt to Mannheim, the number of trains is accelerating. In addition, the Darmstadt node will be revised.
There are new forecasts for the number of trains for the planned double-track new line between Frankfurt and Mannheim. According to the forecast for the Germany cycle, in 2030 there will be many more passenger trains between Zeppelinheim and the northern connection to Darmstadt. In contrast to the Federal Ministry of Transport’s 2030 train count forecast, which has been available since 2018, Deutsche Bahn is now assuming that there will be almost 100 more passenger trains during the day for this section.
The Frankfurt-Mannheim participation forum met on Monday, in which representatives from municipalities, districts, authorities, ministries, associations and citizens’ initiatives sit. The railway provided information on the current status of the respective planning sections of the new ICE line by means of a presentation.
During the day, 268 passenger trains are forecast for the section up to the northern connection to Darmstadt
With astonishing numbers: According to the 2030 Deutschlandtakt forecast, there will no longer be a total of 175 long-distance and local trains between Neu-Isenburg-Zeppelinheim and Weiterstadt or the northern connection to Darmstadt between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but 268. The Deutschlandtakt states that Germany’s largest cities should be connected by long-distance trains every 30 minutes at the same time and regional traffic should be based on half-hourly clocks in the junction stations. That should double passenger numbers by 2030. In addition, the share of rail freight traffic is to increase to at least 25 percent.
In detail, the forecast figures for the section from Zeppelinheim to the northern link in Darmstadt are as follows: In long-distance transport, 206 trains are now forecast instead of the previous 143 trains during the day, and 18 instead of 17 trains at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Freight traffic figures do not change for the section between Zeppelinheim and Darmstadt
In local transport, the railways are now assuming 62 instead of 32 trains during the day, and at night the number of local trains is reduced from 7 to 6. However, the figures for freight transport remain the same: no freight trains during the day between Zeppelinheim and the northern connection to Darmstadt, at night the previous 45.
Despite the increased number of passenger trains, there are still two tracks in the corridor between Frankfurt and Mannheim. However, the design of the northern connection to Darmstadt should be checked again, explains a railway spokeswoman when asked by FR. Originally there was talk of 46 trains, with a new forecast there are now 77.
Planning for Darmstadt’s northern connection is to be revised
Therefore, it should now be checked whether it is possible to connect the planned tracks of the northern connection with the existing tracks of the northern and southern Stockschneise in Weiterstadt in the area of the crossing with state road 3113. The original plan envisages running the tracks of the northern connection directly into the existing Mainz-Darmstadt line.
Darmstadt’s Mayor Jochen Partsch (SPD) sees it positively. In this way, an overlap with the existing lines could be avoided and smooth entry from the main line into Darmstadt’s main station made possible. For the southern connection to Darmstadt, the city is committed to a tunnel that is only designed for passenger traffic and is to be built up to the A5 motorway. The decision was made in 2023.
Planned trough structure in Weiterstadt will not be revised
Weiterstadt’s Mayor Ralf Möller (SPD) had already hoped in mid-November that the increased number of trains in his city would require a tunnel instead of an open-topped trough structure as noise protection. Now it was said by the railways that the plans for the trough near Weiterstadt were not affected by a functional revision.
As is well known, DB withdrew its application for planning approval – including building permission – for the section between Neu-Isenburg-Zeppelinheim and Weiterstadt from the Federal Railway Authority in October. The application documents are currently being revised with the new train numbers. The sound reports are updated; they are the basis for additional noise protection that exceeds the legal level, which some municipalities in the region require. These demands would be worked out together with the region in 2023, according to Deutsche Bahn.
On the route of the Riedbahn, freight traffic is doubled by the new construction of the ICE route
Werner Krone from Darmstadt, a member of the Frankfurt-Mannheim participation forum, said that the new ICE line was “planned as a coup by the railways”. They “didn’t pay any attention at all” to the result of the regional planning procedure, which was completed in 2004. The route along the A5 has proven to be the best in terms of spatial planning, but the railway wants to realize a route along the A5 and A67, although these lead through water protection areas. “The A67 will be widened to six lanes and a railway line will also be built,” he said.
In addition, more than twice as many freight trains are to be used on the Riedbahn route in the future. However, the section between Groß-Gerau-Dornberg and Groß-Gerau-Hauptbahnhof is “operationally problematic”. So far, however, this has not been taken into account.