Transport in Bavaria: Faster, cheaper and more sustainable – Bavaria

Things are progressing deep in the mountains, and if no further commercial or legal problems arise, the Brenner base tunnel between Innsbruck and Franzensfeste could be completed by 2032. However, new access tracks from the north to the European mega-project are not expected until 2040 at the earliest. Only a few weeks ago, Deutsche Bahn planners decided on the final details of the route that would run from Munich around Rosenheim and further through the Inn Valley towards Tyrol. But the Federal Nature Conservation Association and around 20 individual citizens’ initiatives (BI) have always considered this new route to be unnecessary. On Tuesday in Rosenheim they explained how they imagine the Brenner northern inflow instead.

Everything is faster, cheaper and more sustainable, compared to the planning of the railway. Lothar Thaler assures this as chairman of the Brennerdialog Rosenheimer Land citizens’ initiative, which the local BIs have joined together. In one respect, the critics even agree with the DB: If the Brenner Base Tunnel really goes into operation in 2032, the two existing tracks through the Inn Valley will be sufficient on the German side for the time being. In the longer term, however, the federal government and the railways believe that a completely new route is necessary, which was recently estimated at around ten billion euros due to the high proportion of tunnels – roughly as much as the entire base tunnel. From the BI’s point of view, a short bypass tube through the Rosenheim city area for freight traffic and the expansion of two other railway lines would be sufficient.

This time, however, the BI will not be as specific as it was in 2019, when it had transport planner Martin Vieregg prepare an alternative study to the railway’s plans. Vieregg had, among other things, proposed extensive renovations to the Rosenheim train station. But neither the railway nor the city wants to know anything about this, as it is currently having large areas of land at the train station redeveloped. However, she stands by Vieregg’s assumption that an Inn Valley route upgraded with the latest signaling technology can accommodate enough trains in the long term and still retain capacity for more regional trains.

Freight traffic in the east-west direction between Munich and Salzburg should therefore not travel via Rosenheim, but primarily via the Munich-Mühldorf-Freilassing railway line further north. The long-planned expansion of this line is now underway, even if the railway has canceled its schedule of making it completely double-track and electrifying it by 2030 due to some political difficulties.

From the BI’s point of view, with less east-west traffic there would be more room for growing Brenner traffic in the Rosenheim junction and also on the tracks further towards Munich – although the BI does not consider an actual increase to be certain. At the moment, their video camera near Brannenburg is filming comparatively few trains per day – far fewer than could already run on the route without any problems.

Should there be more traffic again because trade picks up speed or because political regulations force some of the excessive truck traffic onto the rails at some point, a five-kilometer-long freight train tunnel under Rosenheim could create additional capacity. And if that is no longer enough at some point, the BI suggests adding passing tracks in sections of the previously single-track railway line from Rosenheim via Mühldorf and to Landshut in order to bring more freight traffic to the north – an idea that the railway itself is also using has played for a long time, but is expressly not part of their current planning assignment.

You defend yourself against a “monster project”

However, the critics do not feel taken seriously by the railway – not even in those “dialogue forums” in which suggestions from the region have been collected for years. But federal and state politicians are also “scaryingly ignorant,” says BI chairman Thaler, pointing out that a high-performance route for 230 km/h is being planned and is justified by the much slower freight traffic. In any case, no one in the BI believes in the last-mentioned ten million euros for the new route – nor does it believe that such or much larger sums will then be offset by even greater economic benefits, which is the legal requirement for such a project can also be built.

“We are in favor of goods getting on the rails,” emphasizes Thaler, but in contrast to the DB’s planning, its own, phased concept not only protects the landscape, the environment and the property of residents in the Rosenheim area, but also the federal budget and thus the taxpayer’s wallet. You shouldn’t “build a monster project into the landscape and then hope that it will be used,” adds the chairman of the Federal Nature Conservation Association in Rosenheim, Rainer Auer.

The BI now wants to feed its ideas, which are expressly not intended to be planning, into the further process as an alternative to the DB plans. Next year, these plans and the core demands of the affected communities, which often deviate from them, will be evaluated by the Federal Railway Authority and then presented to the Bundestag via the Ministry of Transport. He will probably have to decide in 2025 whether he wants to stick to the major project.

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