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Tourist resort: Timmendorfer Strand is still accessible by train

Photo: Sven-Erik Arndt / Arterra / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

The Hanseatic City of Lübeck and the municipality of Timmendorfer Strand want to continue fighting for the preservation of the so-called Bäderbahn. The closure of the line between Lübeck and Neustadt in the district of Ostholstein, planned by Deutsche Bahn and the state of Schleswig-Holstein, would significantly delay the planning of the rail connection to the Baltic Sea tunnel to Denmark, said Timmendorf's mayor Sven Partheil-Böhnke on Tuesday. This was the result of a study by Hamburg-based administrative law expert Ulrich Ramsauer.

The two municipalities had commissioned the lawyer Ramsauer to review the decision, which the state of Schleswig-Holstein and Deutsche Bahn had announced in the autumn. After that, the Bäderbahn is to be decommissioned at the latest with the opening of the new Lübeck-Fehmarn line. The groundbreaking ceremony on the island of Fehmarn is scheduled for this Thursday, with commissioning scheduled for 2029.

From the railway's point of view, it would not be worthwhile to operate the old and the new route in parallel. In contrast to the municipalities, she argues that only the rapid end of the bathing railway can guarantee the timely start of operations for the international connection. Since last year, no trains have been running between Neustadt and the island of Fehmarn, once a main line of the railway on the so-called bird flight line between Hamburg and Copenhagen with rail ferries.

An interested party for the route is ready

As a result of the plan, the tourist resorts of Timmendorfer Strand, Scharbeutz, Haffkrug and Sierksdorf will lose their direct rail connections. The trains still stop within walking distance of the village. After the opening of the new connection, the trains would stop in Ratekau, eight kilometres from Timmendorfer Strand, near the A1 motorway. "We would then have to transport around 1.2 million guests to the community by bus," said Partheil-Böhnke. That would be counterproductive for climate protection, he said. According to official statistics, the municipality had around 2022.1 million guests in 3.

The Pro Bahn passenger association is also critical of the planned shutdown. A relocation of the station would cut up the strong commuter flows between Lübeck and Timmendorfer Strand, said a spokesman for Pro Bahn. In addition, a closure of the line is not so easy, after all, there is a serious interested party in the form of the North German Railway Niebüll (NEG) for a takeover of the line. The Federal Railway Authority would at least have to examine their offer, otherwise the rail competitor could sue.

Lübeck and the state of Schleswig-Holstein are planning a regional S-Bahn around the Hanseatic city, which will also run along the Bay of Lübeck to Neustadt. "One can also imagine as a temporary solution to initially operate the line only on weekends," said the Pro Bahn spokesman. "This could then lead to continuous operation."