The Wunderline will connect Groningen and Bremen, and will be 173 kilometres long. The Netherlands’ stretch measures 49 kilometres, while the distance covered in Germany is 124 kilometres long.
Up until late 2015, the total journey time was 2 hours and 43 minutes. The train connection between Weener and Leer was discontinued in December 2015 after a ship collided with the Friesenbrücke. Train travellers must now undertake part of the trip on an (express) coach.
The Wunderline will considerably shorten the trip between Groningen and Bremen. The track is already in place. Over the years to come, we shall ensure that trains can take this route faster. There are two phases.
Phase 1: faster travel
Up until the end of 2024, we shall be working on increasing speeds between Hoogezand-Sappemeer and Zuidbroek, and between Bad Nieuweschans and Ihrhove. We shall also be doubling the track between Scheemda and Winschoten. The tracks and platforms will be adapted at a number of Dutch and German stations. By the end of 2024, this will already have reduced the travel time to 2 hours and 26 minutes. As the Friesenbrücke will also have been repaired by the end of 2024, travellers will no longer need to switch modes in Weener.
Phase 2: shorter travel time
In the period between 2024 and 2030, we shall be increasing the train speed between Waterhuizen and Kropswolde. Between Zuidbroek and Scheemda, the ground will be improved to facilitate the increased speed. We shall double the track on the stretch between the Friesenbrücke and Ihrhove, while also adapting a number of stations. This will reduce the travel time even further, to a mere 2 hours and 11 minutes.
Express train Groningen - Winschoten
In the period up until the end of 2020, our efforts have been mainly concentrated on the track around Hoogezand. There is therefore now an express train between Groningen and Winschoten, since December 2020. More info? Check out the ProRail website.
Track doubling Scheemda - Winschoten
An extra track is under construction between Scheemda and Winschoten over a length of 4.3 kilometres. This track doubling will provide a reliable service and shorter travel times in the future. It will also ensure an effective train connection between Winschoten and Groningen and the region. The extra track is also essential for good interconnection of the Dutch and German railway networks. More info? Check out the Provincie Groningen website.
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Increased speed between Hoogezand - Zuidbroek
In October 2021, ProRail is working on the track between Hoogezand and Zuidbroek. A number of technical installations are being adapted, to increase the speed of trains along this stretch. The work is expected to be completed in November 2023.
Any questions? Please contact ProRail.
Railtrack work Bad Nieuweschans - border
Preparation work is currently taking place to improve the rail track between Bad Nieuweschans and the border. An exploratory soil survey was conducted for this purpose, which has since been completed. The plans to improve the rail track will be worked out in more detail in the period to come.
Any questions? Please contact ProRail.
On the German side of the border, Deutsche Bahn will be working to upgrade Ihrhove station and to replace signals and switches. In the period from 2024 to 2030, the station of Leer will be equipped with extra switches and an extra platform. A partial double track will also be constructed between Leer and Oldenburg. More information? Check out the Deutsche bahn website.
In 2015, a freight ship rammed the Friesenbrücke railway bridge, and the bridge has been defective ever since. In July 2021, the Federal Railways authority issued a permit for reconstruction of the bridge. Deutsche Bahn is currently preparing this construction project, and work will commence on construction of the new swing bridge in the summer of 2022. The new Friesenbrücke will be Europe’s largest rail swing bridge. The bridge will be completed by late 2024, from which point on the Wunderline will be opened. More info? Check out the Deutsche Bahn website