Germany's state secretary for transport Mr Enak Ferlemann, Saxony’s minister-president, Michael Kretschmer, and German Rail (DB) management board member for infrastructure, Mr Ronald Pofalla, joined celebrations to mark the completion of a project to modernise the 55km Knappenrode – Niesky – Horka line on December 3.
The project has increased capacity on the route, a key artery for freight traffic between Germany and Poland, from 50 to 170 trains a day. It will also enable the introduction of a two-hourly Hoyerswerda – Görlitz regional service with the start of the 2019 timetable on December 9, with a journey time of less than an hour.
The project involved track doubling, electrification, the installation of GSM-R and ETCS, modernisation of five stations, installation of five electronic interlockings and the closure or upgrading of 33 level crossings.
The average line speed has been raised to 120km/h and trains can now reach a maximum of 160km/h on the Särichen – Knappenrode section.
The €500m project was co-financed by the European Union with a €95m contribution from Connecting Europe Facility. The state of Saxony also provided €20m to support line speed increases and the replacement of level crossings.