Germany’s national rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) has revealed plans for the country’s longest railway tunnel through the Ore Mountains as part of a new route to the Czech Republic. 

The 30km tunnel will run between Germany’s Heidenau and the Czech city Usti nad Labem as part of an alternative route to the current rail service through the Elbe Valley. 

Martin Dulig, minister for economic affairs, labour and transport in Saxony, said: “The cross-border connection between Dresden and Prague is of great importance for the whole of Europe. 

“It helps to eliminate existing capacity restrictions in freight transport, strengthen trade and transport routes in Europe and enable future-oriented travel.” 

According to plans reported on by the German press, the new 46km route will include two parallel tunnel tubes through the eastern Ore Mountains, reducing the time to travel between the cities of Dresden and Prague by over half the current time to just an hour. 

A map showing the proposed route. Credit: Deutsche Bahn

However, despite Dulig stating that the project was of high priority for both German and Czech partners, construction of the tunnel is not expected to start until 2032 and will take around 12 years, meaning it could be another two decades before passengers reap the benefit of the new line. 

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By GlobalData

DB said that it would now begin opening consultations with the communities around the planned route to provide further information about the plans and finalise a preferred option for the project by the middle of 2024 before submitting the relevant documents to the federal government. 

The 30km tunnel would far exceed the length of the country’s current longest rail tunnel, the 10.8km Landrückentunnel in Hesse, and also go beyond the Fehmarnbelt tunnel which is currently under construction and will run around 18km.