Travelling fast and comfortably by train between the cities of Groningen and Bremen: that is what it’s all about with the Wunderline project. In order to realise this ambition, the province of Groningen, IHK Ostfriesland und Papenburg, AG-Ems, Groningen Seaports and Landkreis Leer have all combined forces to improve the quality of the existing railway connection. Shorter travelling time and more comfort will definitely attract more travellers. Not only the passengers themselves, but also the touristic, social, cultural and economic sectors of both Germany as well as the Netherlands shall benefit from these improvements.
In order to create this sustainable and innovative connection, the parties involved, together with partners from the Netherlands as well as Germany, have been conducting several studies. Their aim: the realisation in 2024 of the most optimal railway connection between the cities of Groningen and Bremen.
Large scale growth
The Wunderline strives to become the No. 1 connection between the cities of Groningen and Bremen. This not only means growth in terms of comfort and speed, it means much more!
The Wunderline offers more:
- Connection, between the northern parts of the Netherlands and Northern Germany.
- Growth and development in the northern parts of our countries – economically as well as societal.
- Exchange of scientific and creative ideas between the northern parts of the Netherlands and Northern Germany.
The Ems-Friesenbrücke Railway Bridge
The allision into the Ems-Friesenbrücke Railway Bridge at the end of last year poses a huge additional challenge to our Wunderline project. We shall now have to also devote this following year (2016) to seek solutions for the problems which have arisen due to the current unavailability of this bridge. In the short term an alternative is being sought in order to keep travel time as low as possible for now. In the long term it shall be imperative to develop – together with all local stakeholders involved – a new bridge for this region.
Waypoint: how far have we come?
Over the past years the province of Groningen has brought local officials, politicians, civil servants and others directly involved, together in an attempt to create a platform for this project on both sides of our borders. Apart from this, more research is necessary, for which now funds have indeed become available.
Our journey up until now:
|2011:||– Launch of the Wunderline on a governmental level.|
|2012:||– Timetabling improvements and discount card pilots (Niedersachsenticket).|
|2013:||– €102 million reserved for studies and projects, provided by the Ministry of Infrastructure
and Environment (€17 million) and the province of Groningen (€85 million).
|2014:||– Dutch and German members of the European Parliament unreservedly endorse the Wunderline project.|
|2015:||– Application and grant of CEF-T subsidy (€8.3 million).
– Further improvement of the timetables between the cities of Groningen and Leer.
– Implementation of the Niedersachsen-Ticket plus Groningen.
Next stop: what to do next?
During the next phase – the period 2015- spring 2019 – the focus shall be on research. This will – among others things – involve examining which measures are necessary to realise more comfort, better accessibility and less travelling time as well as how to facilitate freight transport. The allision into the Friesenbrücke has impact on the project and will next to the planned research a important topic for all stakeholders.
The above-mentioned research should answers questions such as:
- What is the best balance between an optimal timetable on the one and comfort on the other side, and what are the costs involved?
- How many travellers are expected to eventually use this railway connection?
- What are the environmental and economic effects?
- What are the expectations in terms of cross-border freight transport?
The realisation of the Wunderline is contingent on a broad social consensus. Our goal is to create a Wunderline which is supported by all parties involved.
Our final destination: when shall the Wunderline be completed?
The first step of the development of a high-end railway line for passenger transport between the cities of Groningen and Bremen is planned to be realised in 2024. By 2030, passengers should be able to travel comfortably in about two hours between these two cities.