Hamburg's connection to the hinterland

  • Tracks with tradition

    The Hamburg Port Railway is a division of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). It has been connecting ship and rail for almost 160 years - and has since gained in importance for the port and the European hinterland in terms of sustainability. The Hamburg port railway was opened in August 1866, with the Berlin-Hamburger-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft operating the connection between Berliner Bahnhof and Sandtorkai. A lot has changed since then: Every day, around 210 goods trains with a total of over 5,600 wagons run on the tracks of the port railway. The port railway network comprises almost 300 km of tracks with around 771 points, 155 km of which are electrified.

    "In the almost 160 years that the Hamburg port railway can now look back on, it has developed from a simple siding at Sandtorkai into a complex system of marshalling yards that now occupies a leading position in Europe: Hamburg is Europe's largest railway port and we are proud of that," says Jens Meier, Chief Executive Officer at the HPA.

  • Over 170 rail transport companies on the port railway network

    Since the foundation of the HPA in 2005,the port railway has been an important division with currently 170 employees. In November 2012,the Port Railway welcomed "Freightliner",the 100th rail transport company in the Port of Hamburg;174 rail transport companies now use the efficient track infrastructure.

    In recent years,the port railway has recorded year-on-year growth rates and is thus still on course for a record. In 2022,47.3 million tonnes of goods were moved on the port railway's tracks, the third-best result after 2021 and 2019, maintaining Hamburg's position as the world's largest railway port.

    "We are not resting on our laurels, but are striving to continuously expand our position as a driver of innovation," says Harald Kreft,Head of the Port Railway Division. "It is also important to look beyond our own horizons, because the port railway is the link between the container ship handling terminals and the European rail network."

  • The port railway as an important part of the smart port

    The port railway is involved in the further development of smartPORT. The idea of the smart port can be seen,among other things,in the development of transPORT rail. The traffic management system for rail transport in the Port of Hamburg regulates the exchange of data between the parties involved and transparently maps all train journeys,track occupancy and loading processes of railways in the Port of Hamburg.

    Users of transPORT rail can carry out the necessary communication largely automatically by setting up a data interface. With transPORT rail,the port railway is positioning itself for the future and will enable more efficient rail traffic in the port in the long term,even with increasing numbers of trains.

    The construction of the New Kattwyk rail bridge has further optimised the flow of traffic in the Port of Hamburg. Originally,the existing Kattwyk Bridge was used for both rail and road traffic. With the construction of the new bridge,the HPA has unbundled the traffic and created an efficient connection across the Süderelbe. In 2020,the first train crossed its tracks.

Background information on the Hamburg port railway