Source: IHK Ostfriesland und Papenburg

Significant mobility boost for the region

The General Assembly of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce of East Frisia and Papenburg (IHK) appears to be pushing for speed by agreeing on a resolution regarding the Wunderline project. Through this resolution – passed by unanimous vote on last 15 March in the Martin-Luther-Haus in Leer – the regional business sector calls for a concrete implementation as well as financial substantiation of the declarations of intent as included in the coalition agreement of the Lower Saxony State Government. “The Wunderline may well be one of the most significant regional transportation projects of the last 50 years. But now we have to start getting things done”, IHK Chairman Bernhard Brons emphasised during the voting session.

The Wunderline project aims to develop a fast railway connection between Bremen and Groningen in order to substantially reduce travelling time. In concrete terms, this pertains to a railway stretch of over 170 kilometres long, including the regional railway stations of Bunde, Weener, Ihrhove and Leer.

By implementing the last step of the preferred alternative, travelling time between Groningen and Bremen shall ultimately be reduced to a little over two hours – without any train transit points whatsoever. This fast railway connection shall in every respect bring Northern Germany and the Northern Netherlands closer together. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be realised by 2024.

For years now, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce has been supporting the efforts of the Province of Groningen to improve the quality of the existing railway connection. “Such an improvement is not only beneficial for Bremen and Groningen, but also for all railway lines connected by the Leer railway junction”, Brons states.

Apart from the duplication of tracks near Augustfehn, this railway connection shall also offer a better connection for all commuters, who have to change trains in Leer in order to travel to Meppen (and vice versa). Up until now train passengers travelling from Oldenburg via Leer to Meppen have been facing transit times at the Leer railway junction of up to 50 minutes. Brons: “That’s just too long for the train to become a serious alternative.” Research by the project team shows a potential of up to 1,900 cross-border travellers a day, while also substantial positive effects on tourism, commerce and the labour market are to be expected. Especially our region shall strongly benefit from an optimised the mobility chain. “It’s a perfect opportunity to make public transportation an appealing alternative“, Brons explains.

Time is tight though. Before the end of 2018 all German political players have to formally give the go-ahead regarding the realisation of the Wunderline.

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