Saturday, 9 November, marks the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Within less than a year East and West Germany were reunified. In the wake of this development, Germany implemented its Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit (VDE) – German Unity Transport Projects – large-scale transport projects between East and West.
Investment in rail in East Germany had been woefully neglected. In addition, railway tracks were removed by the Soviet Union in the East as reparations for World War II. All electrification works were reversed. In 1933, the Fliegender Hamburger train between Berlin and Hamburg took 138 minutes. By 1989, a typical fast train covered the distance in 243 minutes.