Die Neubaustrecke erklärt – Deutsche Bahn stellt die NBS Wendlingen–Ulm vor
Welcome to a trip on the new
Wendlingen–Ulm line. We're standing on platform 1 of Ulm's main train station, our departure signal is green, and the journey is about to start. Today our vehicle is a very special train, a Desiro from Siemens, equipped with ETCS measurement technology. During this journey, the crew checks the function and operational quality of the digital signaling technology used on the new line. Ahead of us is a 60-kilometer journey over a modern high-speed line. First of all: We drive through ten tunnels and almost half of the route underground, but we can also look forward to beautiful views of the Alb plateau and the Filstal valley.
Our journey leads over and under 35 bridges and through the new train station M
erklingen Schwäbische Alb. Departure. We leave the platform behind us. Before we drive onto the new line, we cross the north end of Ulm Central Station. The North Head is a track apron, as every train traveler knows. The tracks lie in a ballast bed that keeps the sleepers in position and dampens vibrations. Next to the tracks there are light signals that tell the driver whether and at what speed sections of the track may be driven on. Both should be mentioned here, because the new line is also breaking new ground technologically.
A trough leads us down into a completely newly built siding in the direction of Stuttgart. The Filstal
bahn, which has been connecting Stuttgart and Ulm for 170 years, crosses above us. We are now in the middle of the bottom of the valley and so much is happening here that we have to pause for a moment. The actual journey of our Desiro crew was uninterrupted, but to get a proper impression of the new line, we have to stop here and there and take the time to look around. To our left is another trough through which the regional trains travel towards Friedrichshafen.
There is a ramp on the right, but no tracks. This is the rescue access, which connects to a rescue area higher up and allows rescue vehicles to enter the track area directly. Above us are two bridges, one over the other. The Brenz
bahn is on the half-timbered bridge, and the Ulm tram runs one level higher. The trough and the bridges were erected in the middle of the track apron during ongoing operations. Thanks to this logistical feat, the trains can now run on all these routes without getting in each other's way. We continue and dive under the Michelsberg.
This is the Albabstieg Tunnel, which leads 100 meters up to the Swabian Alb. It is called Albabstieg because all tunnel names were chosen from a Stuttgart point of view. If you take the route from Stuttgart, your train rolls through the neighboring subway on the left to Ulm Haupt
bahnhof. In the future, ICEs will accelerate to 250 kilometers per hour in this tunnel. During our test drive, however, we will only drive at an average of 90 kilometers per hour,