Rhine-Alpine News

 “Karlsruhe – Basel”: An Overview

Photo (DB AG/Jürgen Schmidt): New line between Haltingen and Weil am Rhein

South of Karlsruhe, Deutsche Bahn (DB) expands its main line to Basel from two to four tracks. The line is currently a severe bottleneck along the Rhine-Alpine corridor. It limits the benefits of the Gotthard and Lötschberg tunnels for long distance rail freight traffic.

In the past, this newsletter has occasionally reported about individual construction work along the Karlsruhe – Basel corridor. However, reports of some construction work here and an opening there do not tell much about the state of the work and the progress made. Time for an overview.



The line between Karlsruhe and Basel is about 180 km long. Deutsche Bahn divided the work into different segments. Some are already operating, on others the work has not yet started. Find the DB document below, and click on the illustration for better resolution.

To the non-German speaker, some explanation of terms may be helpful for reading the illustrations:

In Betrieb: In operation

PfV (Planfeststellungsverfahren): Planning approval procedure

NBS (Neubaustrecke): New line

ABS (Ausbaustrecke): Old line, to be improved


Time Frame

On the DB „Terminübersicht“ (construction date sheet) below, the respective actual construction period of each segment is marked in red. The preceding planning and planning approval periods may be noteworthy. Again, click on the illustration for better resolution.


A Rule of Thumbs

Looking at the line from the perspective of the corridor as a whole, a simple rule of thumbs may help to understand the state of the work between Karlsruhe and Basel:

– About one fourth of the line is already operating as a four-track line.

One fourth will be completed in a good five years.

One fourth will need a good ten years from now.

– The remaining fourth will be finished in about 15 years.

For the latter two fourths, after the respective completion of the additional new line, Deutsche Bahn will start to improve the existing old main line. This extends the time frame further into the future.

Find the official DB downloads here (external link, German language).

Photo (DB AG/Jürgen Schmidt): Preparing the new line between Haltingen and Weil am Rhein