After weighing the advantages and disadvantages, German Railways (DB) announced a preference for a new line between Gelnhausen and the Fulda–Würzburg high-speed line at the Dialogforum Hanau–Würzburg/Fulda on 15 June 2018 and will apply for this so-called “Variant IV” in a planning approval process in early 2019.
Thanks to the high proportion of tunnels of about 28 km out of the total line distance of 44 km, the line of Variant IV will have little impact on people and environment and will above all relieve the towns and villages in the Kinzigtal from the noise of goods traffic.
The longest tunnel on this line is planned to run over a distance of 9.5 km between Schlüchtern and Mittelkalbach. For passenger services, the journey time between Frankfurt am Main and Fulda will be shortened by eleven minutes. A link to the existing line is provided in Schlüchtern.