Starting from the future exchange hub at Howald, the line first crosses the A3 motorway to the south of Gasperich interchange and continues its route as far as the west of Bettembourg. The line moves away from the motorway to the north of Berchem service station, bypassing it to the west. It then goes under trunk road RN31 before crossing the existing Luxembourg-Bettembourg line in the Alzette valley via a flyover. After crossing the Alzette, the new and existing lines run alongside each other right up to the north entrance of Bettembourg train station.
The project includes the construction of a series of hydraulic structures and crossing structures, two of which are noteworthy. The first (OA14) is located where the line crosses the A3 motorway south of Howald and the second (OA05&06), a flyover, is located where it crosses the existing railway line north of Bettembourg. This junction of the two railway lines also requires the transfer of the existing line, around thirty metres towards its former route.
The project takes into account the development constraints of various related projects, including the future exchange hub at Howald, the expansion of the A3 motorway to 2 x 3 lanes, the expansion of Berchem service station, the redevelopment of the interchange (N31) at Livange, the removal of the level crossing (PN4a) on rue Lentz in Bettembourg, the future multimodal platform in Bettembourg and the new signal box at Bettembourg train station.
The cost of the project is €292,013,570 excl. VAT (index 730.85 at 1 April 2013).
The total site area of the land to be acquired is around 52 hectares.
The design speed of the new line is 160km/h.
Other than the railway platform with its trackside equipment, overhead lines and signals, the project includes (non-exhaustive list):
- 1 underpass for motor vehicles
- 1 flyover
- 1 railway bridge
- 4 road bridges
- 6 hydraulic structures
- 13 water-collection basins
- 1 passage for wildlife
The planned new railway line between Luxembourg and Bettembourg is part of the transposition of the MoDu (sustainable mobility) strategy and the IVL (Integrated transport and spatial development concept for Luxembourg), which implement an integrated mobility concept and aim to address the mobility and climate change challenges until 2020-2030.
The creation of effective mobility chains which optimise passenger transfers, making it possible to combine different modes of transport and encourage the use of public transport, is an important element of this strategy, which aims to raise the share of public transport to 25%. The concept is based on three links:
- the Luxembourgish rail network, making up the backbone of the system,
- trams, buses, cars and bikes, forming the distribution and transport channels,
- the exchange hubs, consisting of the transshipment platforms.
The aim is thus to create true complementarity between public transport, individual transport and soft mobility. The main rail infrastructure measure concerns the south routes and of course the doubling of the railway line between Luxembourg and Bettembourg.
As the existing railway line between Luxembourg and Bettembourg is nearing saturation point, the planned new railway line will significantly increase the capacity of the railway network between Luxembourg and Bettembourg, thus
- providing a more efficient connection between the south of the country and the developing neighbourhoods of the capital, in particular Howald,
- improving both the range of cross-border connections with Lorraine and international connections (TGV) and
- facilitating freight traffic and thus the transport of merchandise exchanged between Germany and the Benelux countries with France, Switzerland and Italy.
The detailed preliminary design phase is complete. The financing law was passed on 16 October 2014 based on the detailed preliminary design. The clearing works were carried out in January/February 2015, in the winter of 2015/2016 and in the winter of 2016/2017.
In 2016, archaeological digs were performed all along the route.
The construction works began at the end of 2015.
The following building sites are currently under way:
- The OA16 underpass providing access to the railway triangle in Bettembourg.
The structure was built next to the railway tracks. During the last weekend of October 2016, the railway lines were closed, and after major excavation works, the structure was moved to its permanent position. Work is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
- The OA11 road bridge passing under the future railway line.
The two abutments have been built. The bridge deck was concreted at the end of 2016. Work is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
- The access road to the OA11 road bridge.
Work is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
- The retaining wall close to Berchem motorway service station.
Work is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
- The construction of the flyover and the related hydraulic works as well as the moving of the existing line to the entrance of Bettembourg station started in September 2016. Thousands of ballasted columns were created in the Alzette valley to improve the ground under the constructions. The water and gas supply networks were moved.
- The construction of the OA12 road bridge running above the future railway line and the A3 motorway started in January 2017.
The first one-off environmental compensation measures were carried out, including the installation of nest boxes for chiroptera (bats) and hazel dormice as well as the transfer of amphibian populations.
When the railway line is blocked off in autumn 2017 and spring 2018, the existing line will be moved to the entrance of Bettembourg train station. In September 2017, the metal framework of the OA12 structure will be placed over the A3 motorway for one weekend while the motorway is closed off. Studies for the wildlife passage will begin.
The first contracts for the railway sections will be put to tender over the next few months. The new line is expected to be brought into service by the end of 2022.
The second phase of the project shall be addressed in a separate financing law. It consists of the renovation of Bettembourg train station with the construction of a second underpass to access the platforms and the upgrading of the platforms and tracks as well as repairs to the glass canopies. Bettembourg train station will then be equipped to enable access for persons with reduced mobility, in particular with the installation of a lift on each platform as well as tactile paths for the blind and visually impaired.
Co-financing of studies and work