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Dec 28, '21


The Breitspurbahn (German pronunciation: [ˈbʁaɪtʃpuːɐ̯baːn], translation: broad-gauge railway) was a planned 3,000 mm (9 ft 10+1⁄8 in) broad-gauge railway, proposed by Adolf Hitler during the Nazi regime in Germany, supposed to run with double-deck coaches between major cities of Grossdeutschland, Hitler's expanded Germany, and neighbouring states.


Proposed route map 1943 (postwar drawing with borders of 1937).

Since reparations due after World War I had to be paid, the German railway company Deutsche Reichsbahn lacked money for appropriate expansion and sufficient maintenance of their track network and rolling stock.[2]

Commercial and civilian traffic increased due to economic stimulation after the rise of the NSDAP and Hitler's seizure of power. Deutsche Reichsbahn was now faced with a serious capacity problem. As a result, in part driven by its military objectives, the government began to prepare plans to modernize the railway network and increase transport capacity. Hitler believed that the standard Stephenson gauge was obsolete and was too narrow for the full development of railways. Also, as Hitler envisioned the future German empire as essentially a land-based Empire, the new German railways were imagined as a land-based equivalent of the ocean liners and freighters connecting the maritime British Empire.

Hitler embraced a suggestion from Fritz Todt to build a new high-capacity Reichsspurbahn (Imperial Gauge Railway) with notably increased gauge. Objections from railway experts – who foresaw difficulties in introducing a new, incompatible gauge (and proposed quadruple track standard gauge lines instead), and who could not imagine any use for the vast transport capacity of such a railway – were ignored, and Hitler ordered the Breitspurbahn to be built with initial lines between Hamburg, Berlin, Nuremberg, Munich and Linz.

The project engaged commercial partners Krauss-Maffei, Henschel, Borsig, Brown, Boveri & Cie and Krupp, but did not develop beyond line planning and initial survey. Throughout World War II, 100 officials and 80 engineers continued to work on the project.



Dec 28, '21
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