The new line between Ebensfeld – Erfurt (VDE 8.1, line length 107 km, commissioned in 2017) and the new line between Erfurt – Leipzig/Halle (VDE 8.2, line length 123 km, commissioned in 2015) represented the closure of the gap in the complex VDE 8 Berlin – Munich transport project, and is also the key section of No. 1 of the Trans-European high-speed rail network (TEN-R) between Berlin and Palermo. The route includes a total of 37 bridges and 27 tunnels, particularly in the Thuringian Forest area.
VDE 8 is designed as an HGV line enabling a maximum speed of 300 km/h.
As part of the technical signalling equipment, electronic SIMIS D signal boxes (made by Siemens AG) were used in conjunction with the European Train Control System ETCS Level 2.
The use of ETCS Level 2 without fixed signals was undertaken for the first time as a pilot project in Germany.
Two new electronic signal box sub-master stations in Erfurt and Unterleiterbach and 5 RBC (Radio Block Centres) were built for the key ETCS components. The line is controlled by the operations control centres in Leipzig (Erfurt sub-master station) and Munich (Unterleiterbach sub-master station).
Given that many components and subsystem were used for the first time, a trial and test phase lasting 12 months was stipulated for each VDE 8.1 and VDE 8.2 section.