BERLIN, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A new line of the German high-speed ICE train is being planned between the Ruhr area and Berlin with top speeds of 300 km an hour, the German Federal Ministry of Transport announced on Monday.
The new train line would run every half an hour between the German cities of Hannover and Bielefeld, "which is a dream for the entire region," Enak Ferlemann, parliamentary state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure told the German press agency (dpa).
"Our core goal is Berlin-Cologne in four hours," Ferlemann added. The ICE currently takes around 4 hours and 40 minutes to travel between Cologne and Berlin, with trains running every hour.
Ferlemann said he hoped that the plans for the new route between Hanover and Bielefeld would progress far enough this year that a dialogue forum with citizens and municipalities could be held next year to discuss options.
The German government's expansion plan for the stretch between Hannover and Bielefeld classified the expansion as "urgently needed". The plan estimated that the expansion could cost almost 1.9 billion euros (2.16 billion U.S. dollars) but only included an increase in train speeds to 230 km/h.
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer recently launched a "future alliance" for the German railways with the aim of doubling the number of passengers using the German train network by 2030 and getting more freight on the railways and off the roads.