Alsenz Valley Railway
The Alsenz Valley Railway - also known as the Alsenz Railway - is a main line in Rhineland-Palatinate . It runs from Hochspeyer via Winnweiler and Alsenz to Bad Münster am Stein . The route follows the Alsenz river from Enkenbach to Bad Münster , which it crosses several times. It was built primarily to compete with the connection on the right bank of the Rhine via Frankfurt as the shortest transit and long-distance route from the North Sea ports in Belgium and the Netherlands and the coal regions on the Lower Rhine to southern Germany, Switzerland and Italy. However, it had already lost this function since the end of the First World War when Alsace fell back to France.
Already in the annual reports of the Palatinate Ludwigsbahn-Gesellschaft for the years 1859 and 1860, the latter advocated a railway line along the Alsenz. Arguments for such a railway line were that the Alsenz valley was a fertile region with a lot of industry and that the line had the potential to become an important transit route for the then Bavarian Palatinate in a north-south direction. From 1859 there was a continuous north-south main line from the Rhineland via Rheinhessen to Ludwigshafen in the form of the left Rhine route Cologne - Mainz and the railway line Mainz - Ludwigshafen . However, the route via Mainz was a detour, so there were plans to build a shorter railway line branching off from the Rhein-Nahe-Bahn from around Münster am Stein towards the south along the Alsenz in the catchment area of the Donnersberg via Rockenhausen and Winnweiler and from there Set up towards Neustadt.
A committee was formed in 1859 with the consent of the Bavarian state government. In 1860 a first project envisaged the route from Kaiserslautern via Otterberg and Winnweiler to Münster am Stein. Since this alone did not seem profitable due to the expected high costs, a design by engineers of the Ludwig Railway Company followed in 1863 for the shortest connection between Bingerbrück and Neustadt and an additional line from Winnweiler to Hochspeyer. The plans for this Alsenz route competed with those of the Committee of the Notables of the Glan and Lauter Valley, which campaigned for a main line from Kaiserslautern along the Lauter and lower Glantal to Nahe. At the same time, the Donnersberger Bahn came to the fore with the route from Kaiserslautern via Kirchheimbolanden to Alzey. In 1864/1865 this led to the combination of both routes with the Alsenz Railway from Hochspeyer to Münster am Stein and the Enkenbach to Langmeil line as a joint route.
However, these plans still lacked a safe connection to the Rhine-Nahe Railway in Münster am Stein. To this end, Bavaria and the Kingdom of Prussia signed a state treaty on October 28, 1865 , which provided for the Alsenz line in the Prussian Münster to be threaded into the near line. After a delay due to the events of the war in 1866 , the “building concession” was granted by the Bavarian government on November 23, 1867 and by the Prussian government on July 12, 1868. The construction costs were estimated at 7700 guilders, an interest guarantee of four percent was promised.
Construction, opening and subsequent period (1868–1875)
The project planning for the final route was completed in July 1868 and approval for the acquisition of the necessary land was granted in September 1868. The company of the Palatinate Northern Railways, founded in 1866 and also responsible for the Landstuhl – Kusel railway line , which was opened two years later, was intended to operate the line . Four sections (Hochspeyer, Winnweiler, Alsenz and Ebernburg) under the direction of the engineers Foltz, Kärner, Opfermann and Serini were responsible for the construction, which began in 1868. The real estate necessary for the construction of the railway was easily acquired. There was still a need for clarification regarding the location of the Alsenz train station and the merging of the railway line with the Nahe railway. Although the superstructure was initially only single-track, the substructure was already designed for two tracks. Only on the Enkenbach - Hochspeyer line was the substructure only a single track. There were geological problems during construction, for example the watershed between the Hochspeyerbach and the Alsenz had to be overcome and the 436-meter-long Altenhof tunnel made of sandstone had to be broken through. The 363 meter long tunnel at Imsweiler had to be driven through clay slate and extremely hard melaphyr , the 283 meter long tunnel at Alsenz through very watery clay slate. The briefing of ownership of the short Prussian section before Münster followed in February 1870.
In order not to neglect the interests of the city of Kaiserslautern, a connecting curve to Hochspeyer was created south of Fischbach to enable appropriate train routes. Hochspeyer received a new branch station especially for this purpose . The Hochspeyer - Winnweiler section was opened on October 29, 1870. The completion of the Winnweiler - Münster am Stein section was delayed due to the tunnels and the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War . On May 16, 1871, the entire route was completed. At first it was used exclusively for the return of German troops and their weapons from the war. The opening for civil traffic took place on July 15th. The Alsenz line subsequently developed into the main line of the Northern Railway Company. In combination with the Ludwigsbahn section Neustadt (Weinstr) - Hochspeyer and the Palatinate Maximiliansbahn , the Alsenz Valley Railway was henceforth part of another Palatinate main line as the shortest north-south connection on the left bank of the Rhine. In this way, trains from Cologne to Basel could be run on these routes while avoiding the previous route along the Rhine.
Despite the connection of the line in the direction of Hochspeyer / Kaiserslautern, the Kaiserslautern – Enkenbach railway was put into operation as early as 1875 , which is a shorter connection to the west than the route via Hochspeyer . For this reason, many trains to Kaiserslautern used this new route from Enkenbach. After the Donnersbergbahn Alzey - Marnheim and the Zellertalbahn Langmeil - Monsheim two neighboring main routes to Hesse were built between 1873 and 1874 , traffic between Enkenbach and Langmeil increased significantly. From then on, trains ran there to the Rhine-Main area, for example to Frankfurt (Main) or Mainz. For this reason, this section of the route was open to two tracks from October 15, 1877. Since the traffic on the rest of the Alsenz stretch also increased in the following period, it was completely expanded to double tracks by 1901. In the following years, the stations and stops received platform closures.
On January 1, 1909, the route, together with the other companies belonging to the Palatinate Railways, became the property of the Bavarian State Railways . At that time, the operations and construction inspection in Kaiserslautern I managed the section from Hochspeyer to shortly before Enkenbach, while Kaiserslautern II was responsible for the remaining section. After the First World War broke out in 1914 , 20 military trains drove daily from Worms to Saarbrücken via the Langmeil - Enkenbach section from August 9th to 16th .
In 1920 the line became the property of the Deutsche Reichsbahn . In 1922, the Palatinate section of the line was incorporated into the newly founded Reichsbahndirektion Ludwigshafen . On June 1, 1936, the border was moved in favor of the Reichsbahndirektion Mainz , which was now also responsible for Ebernburg station . On April 1, 1937, the Ludwigshafen management was dissolved; From then on, the management in Mainz was responsible. The Betriebsamt (RBA) Neustadt (Weinstr) was responsible for the Hochspeyer - Langmeil section, while the Bad Kreuznach office was responsible for the remaining section. During the Second World War , the route was mainly used for troop transport.
German Federal Railroad (1945–1993)
After the Second World War, the railway line was initially subject to the Association of the South-West German Railways (SWDE), which became part of the newly founded Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) in 1949 . It had been part of the Mainz Federal Railway Directorate since 1945. At the same time, the Hochspeyer - Enkenbach section was dismantled on a single track.
In the following years, Neuhemsbach, Dielkirchen, Bayerfeld-Cölln, Mannweiler and Ebernburg, several stops on the way were abandoned due to insufficient use. When the Mannheim - Saarbrücken railway was electrified in the first half of the 1960s, this was also planned for the Alsenz line. For this reason, the Einsiedlerhof marshalling yard received a substation. However, electrification of the Alsenz Valley Railway has not yet been tackled.
In 1970, the Hochstein tunnel at kilometer 19 - also known as the iron melt tunnel - was slit open. In the course of the gradual dissolution of the Mainz head office, the route changed to the responsibility of the Saarbrücken head office with effect from August 1, 1971. After all connecting lines such as the Eistalbahn, the Zellertalbahn and the Donnersbergbahn had been closed for passenger traffic, the Alsenztalbahn was the only railway line that was fully in operation from 1983 to 1994 in the Donnersbergkreis formed in 1969. The narrow-gauge railway to Obermoschel had already been shut down in the 1930s.
In the 1980s, the line's signal box technology was renewed. The shape signals were replaced by light signals and further rationalization measures were implemented. Only the railway barriers at Schweisweiler were still operated by hand. With the introduction of the Interregio , efforts on site to let it run on the route were in vain.
Deutsche Bahn (since 1994)
In the course of the rail reform, the Alsenz Valley Railway became the property of Deutsche Bahn (DB) . In 1999, a new stop was set up in Münchweiler an der Alsenz between Langmeil and the abandoned Neuhemsbach station. The Langmeil station, which had previously been used by the Münchweiler population, lost its importance, which is why it was closed at the end of 2006. Since 1999 the section Hochstätten - Bad Münster has been part of the Rhein-Nahe-Nahverkehrsverbund (RNN) . From 2000, the Hochspeyer - Alsenz section belonged to the West Palatinate Transport Association (WVV) before it was merged into the Rhein-Neckar Transport Association (VRN) in 2006.
As part of the 2015 Rhineland-Palatinate cycle , the new regional express lines Koblenz - Bingen - Bad Kreuznach - Kaiserslautern (from December 2016) and Mainz - Bad Kreuznach - Kaiserslautern (from December 2014) will be set up, both of which run over the Alsenz Valley Railway and from Netinera railway company is operated.
The Altenbamberg stop will be rebuilt by 2018, with the completion the last gatekeeper post in the Palatinate, where the barrier is cranked down by hand, will be dismantled.
In the meantime, an operational peculiarity on the route is that there is no digital distance radio (e.g. GSM-R ) for the entire length , but analogue radio is still used. Trains that want to get in contact with a dispatcher on the route must be arranged in advance via the Bad Kreuznach dispatcher. No expansion is planned for the next two years in 2016 either. Due to the poor reliability of the analog radio, especially between Rockenhausen and Enkenbach, many necessary calls are made using company cell phones.
The line leaves Hochspeyer station in an easterly direction and then turns north. The single-track line in this area passes the Altenhof tunnel, the watershed between Hochspeyerbach and Alsenz, and crosses under the federal motorway 6 . From Enkenbach it follows the eponymous river and federal highway 48 . Due to the difficult topographical conditions, the route is characterized by numerous crossings of the river and three tunnels. The line to Monsheim branches off in Langmeil . Until then, the route runs along the north-western edge of the Palatinate Forest and then enters the North Palatinate Uplands .
In the further course of the route, the train mainly passes fields and orchards. Ranging from Altenbamberg is Altenbaumburg to see. After the abandoned train station Ebernburg the track bridges the Near and then reached together with the Nahe Valley Railway to Bad Münster am Stein station . From Hochspeyer to the abandoned Neuhemsbach train station , it runs in the Kaiserslautern district , from Münchweiler an der Alsenz to the Alsenz community in the Donnersbergkreis , and the rest of the route in the Bad Kreuznach district .
Time of the Palatinate Railways
In the first few years, local trains ran on the Kaiserslautern - Münster route. The timetable from 1871 had a total of five pairs of trains. The travel time from Hochspeyer train station to Münster took between 59 and 66 minutes. In long-distance passenger rail traffic, there was an express train on the Alsenz line from Cologne to Basel as early as the summer of 1871 . In the period that followed, supra-regional traffic expanded to the Netherlands , and from there express trains ran to Switzerland as early as 1872. In 1875 a pair of express trains on the Basel - Cologne route ran over the Alsenz route. Some of these trains also stopped in Enkenbach to provide a connection from Kaiserslautern to this main line.
In 1880 another long-distance train with through coaches from Neustadt was added. Towards the end of the 19th century, long-distance trains ran to Amsterdam , Hoek van Holland , Vlissingen and Zevenaar . At the same time, the Orient Express also ran on the route. At the beginning of the 20th century, ten pairs of passenger trains used local traffic.
Time of the Bavarian State Railways and the Deutsche Reichsbahn
After the completion of the Biebermühlbahn in 1913, two pairs of trains ran between Enkenbach and Langmeil, one of which was led via the Donnersbergbahn to Mainz and one via the Zellertalbahn to Darmstadt ; in a southerly direction they came to Pirmasens . The local trains in the Alsenz valley ran in the summer of 1914 on the Bad Münster - Neustadt route and made heads at Hochspeyer station.
The long-distance trains of the Alsenz Valley Railway on the Cologne - Bingerbrück - Neustadt - Landau - Wissembourg - Strasbourg route were discontinued in the 1920s. The reason was that Alsace-Lorraine fell back to France after the First World War, which meant that north-south traffic on the left bank of the Rhine lost its importance. In 1944, not all trains ran from the Alsenz valley to Hochspeyer, some instead from Enkenbach via the connecting line to Kaiserslautern. Occasionally there were trains on the Hochspeyer - Langmeil route. Six pairs of trains drove between Hochspeyer and Bad Münster during this time.
Post-war period and German Federal Railroad
In 1946 three pairs of passenger trains ran on the route. In the post-war period there was also an express train connection between Pirmasens and Cologne. From the end of the 1950s, express train traffic along the Mannheim - Saarbrücken railway , which was aimed at Paris , was moved east of Kaiserslautern to the Alsenz Valley Railway. As early as 1953, the Federal Railroad canceled the night-time express train from Cologne to Constance. Express trains operated on the Krefeld - Basel route until the 1960s . Until the early 1970s there were connections from Bingerbrück to Karlsruhe with through coaches to Basel, Saarbrücken and Krefeld. Towards the end of the decade, the long-distance train service gradually reduced, and from then on it was preferably routed via Mannheim and Darmstadt, as this main line, unlike the Alsenz Valley Railway, is electrified and runs through the densely populated Rhine-Neckar region .
Until 1985, D express trains also ran on the Bad Münster - Enkenbach section on the Paris Est - Metz - Saarbrücken - Kaiserslautern - Bad Kreuznach - Mainz - Frankfurt am Main section. Until the mid-1970s it consisted of INOX cars , then from Corail wagons of the SNCF . At this point in time, the local trains mainly drove to Hochspeyer, only a connection on the Kaiserslautern - Bingerbrück route used the Kaiserslautern - Enkenbach line before passenger traffic there ended temporarily in 1987. From 1988 to 1990 through cars drove from Pirmasens via Kaiserslautern and Bingerbrück to Dortmund . Since these trains were discontinued, the Alsenz Valley Railway has lost its importance in long-distance traffic.
Time of the Deutsche Bahn
In local rail passenger transport , Deutsche Bahn operates the route as timetable route 672 every hour. Until the timetable change in December 2008, the trains were tied through the Biebermühlbahn to Pirmasens Hauptbahnhof , since then the regional trains have only run between Kaiserslautern and Bingen (Rhine).
On Sundays and public holidays from May to October, the Rheintalexpress to Karlsruhe and the Weinstraßen-Express to Wissembourg , which stop in Enkenbach, Rockenhausen, Bad Münster and Bad Kreuznach, operate on the Bingen - Enkenbach section . The Langmeil - Hochspeyer section is also used by the Zellertalbahn trains that run on Sundays and public holidays this season .
In the excursion season from May 1 to October 25, 2015, new railcars operate in the southern Palatinate on all Sundays and public holidays, also due to the change in operator by the Vlexx company . When the timetable changed in December 2014, the route was upgraded with RegionalExpress trains (RE). Since then, there has been a direct connection Mainz - Bad Kreuznach - Kaiserslautern as part of the 2015 Rhineland-Palatinate cycle and one every two hours on the Koblenz - Bad Kreuznach - Kaiserslautern route with a connection in Hochspeyer to the Neustadt - Landau - Karlsruhe regional express line via the Alsenz Railway.
Freight traffic played a rather subordinate role in the Alsenz valley. In 1871 a pair of freight trains ran on the Kaiserslautern - Münster route. There was also a pair of “supplementary freight trains” that only served the Hochspeyer, Enkenbach, Winnweiler, Rockenhausen, Alsenz and Ebernburg stations between Kaiserslautern and Münster. Towards the beginning of the 20th century, freight trains on the Kaiserslautern - Bingerbrück, Kaiserslautern - Worms, Kaiserslautern - Alzey and Kaiserslautern - Bad Münster routes ran. The quarries in the Hochstätten and Neu-Bamberg area were important . In addition, several military trains of the Kaiserslautern Military Community drove after the Second World War . Freight traffic on the Alsenz Valley Railway decreased continuously over the following decades. Handover trains dominated operations as early as the 1980s . Most recently there were two block trains , the “Opel train” between the Opel plants in Kaiserslautern and Rüsselsheim and lime trains from Stromberg via Neustadt to BASF . Since June 2010 there has been no more freight traffic on the Alsenz Valley Railway.
The Bingerbrück , Ludwigshafen and Kaiserslautern railway depots were responsible for the use of vehicles . International express train traffic was handled by the Palatinate P 1.III in the 1880s . A decade later, the P 2.I performed this service. The P 3.I was added towards the end of the 1890s . Towards the beginning of the 20th century, the Palatinate P 4 was responsible for long-distance traffic. The G 2.I , G 2.II , G 4.I , G 4.II , G 4.III and G 5 series were used for freight traffic, and the T 4.I and T 4.II for local traffic .
In long-distance traffic to France, class VT 08 railcars were used from 1961 to 1969 . Steam trains ran on the route until the mid-1970s, most recently the 051 and 23 series, among others . ETA 150 series railcars from Worms also ran . In the 1980s diesel locomotives of the series 211, 212 and 218 drove from Kaiserslautern on the route. Towards the end of the decade, these were replaced by class 628 diesel multiple units.
In 2000, the previous class 628 diesel multiple units were replaced by modern class 643 Talent multiple units. Since the timetable change in December 2008, Desiro class 642 multiple units have also been in service . Before that, the local trains were mostly equipped with Silberling wagons. These trains were hauled by class 218 diesel locomotives, and in winter they were even used in double traction before the French trains . The Rheintal Express and the Weinstrasse Express consisted of class 218-hauled push-pull trains or several class 628 diesel multiple units.
Since the end of 2015, some DB trains have been running with class 622 and 623 railcars . Since the end of 2016, vlexx has been using class 622 railcars as the regional express Koblenz - Kaiserslautern on the Alsenzbahn.
The Hochspeyer train station is on the eastern edge of the town . It was created at the same time as the branching Alsenz Valley Railway opened in 1870 and 1871. It was the eighth railway junction within the Palatinate. Its station building, which is no longer important for rail operations, corresponds to the architectural style of the other stations along the Alsenz and those between Landau and Zweibrücken. It partially lost its status as a railway junction when the Kaiserslautern - Enkenbach railway line opened in 1875 .
In spite of its name, the Hochspeyer Nord (SHY N) operating point is already on the outskirts of the Fischbach community and is a pure depot for the connecting curve in the direction of Neustadt, which used to be important for transit traffic. Officially, it is part of the Hochspeyer station.
This station was on the western edge of Neuhemsbach and was originally called Neuhemsbach-Sembach. Some of its facilities were already located in the district of the neighboring municipality of Sembach . Due to a lack of profitability, it was initially abandoned for passenger transport, then it was in operation as a freight and depot for several decades. Over the decades, the hamlet of Neuhemsbach station was built in its immediate vicinity .
The stop is not far from the center of Münchweiler an der Alsenz . It was put into operation in 1999.
The station is located in the south of the district of Alsenbrück-Langmeil belonging to Winnweiler . During the first years it was called Langmeil-Münchweiler. With the opening of the Zellertalbahn branching off there and the neighboring Donnersbergbahn , it became an important railway junction. At the end of 2006 it was closed due to a lack of profitability for passenger transport and since then has exclusively served as a depot. Even trains on the Zellertalbahn, which was reactivated on Sundays and public holidays in 2001, no longer stop at this once important branch station.
The station is located on the northeastern edge of Winnweiler . The station complex is spanned by Kreisstraße 4. It has a push-button interlocking without automatic turnout from Siemens with the designation Wf. It used to be called Wnf.
The former train station and today's breakpoint is located on the south-eastern outskirts of Imsweiler .
The station used to be a stop for express trains. In the meantime, the three-track station has been made barrier-free. A pushbutton interlocking without automatic turnout from Siemens with the designation Rf 'is housed in the reception building. In the area, its former importance can be seen, among other things, from the water tower, which has since become inoperable. The annex has since been removed.
Due to lack of profitability, this station was abandoned. Until the 1980s it had three tracks and a form signal.
In the absence of profitability, this breakpoint was abandoned.
This breakpoint was also abandoned due to a lack of profitability.
The station is on the north-eastern edge of the Alsenz community, right at the exit of the Alsenz tunnel. Between 1903 and 1935 it was the starting point of the narrow-gauge Alsenz - Obermoschel local railway . At that time, the station had a transfer system for standard gauge wagons on trolleys or transporters and a head ramp for loading narrow-gauge vehicles onto standard-gauge transporters. There was a private connection for the Spuhler brothers and a loading platform for the North Palatinate consumer association.
The former train station and today's breakpoint is located on the western outskirts of Hochstätten . Until 1938 it was called Hochstätten . On May 15, 1938, it was renamed Hochstätten (Pfalz) .
Today's breakpoint and former train station is in the center of Altenbamberg . During the time of the Bavarian State Railways it was run as a type 3 station with passenger, luggage and limited freight traffic.
The station was on the southeast edge of Ebernburg. Since it was the last train station within the Palatinate and its northernmost station along the route, it was once of great operational importance. It was closed when Ebernburg and Bad Münster merged to form the new municipality of Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg .
Bad Munster am Stein
With the opening of the Kreuznach - Oberstein section, the station was initially an underway station. With the continuous opening of the Alsenz Valley Railway in 1871, it became a separation station. Although it was in neighboring Prussia when the line was opened, it was the operational end point of the Alsenz Valley Railway and its kilometers. In 1904 the Glantalbahn , built for strategic reasons, was added. This made it the hub of three double-track lines. Because of its importance as a strategic railway junction, it was bombed during World War II.
The reception building is a listed Art Nouveau building, some with half-timbering. It was completed around 1910 as part of the strategic railway construction. With regard to its architecture, the fact that Bad Münster is a health resort was taken into account. The Glantalbahn section Odernheim - Bad Münster was shut down as early as 1961, only the rail connection to the Niederhausen power plant branching off in this area was still served until 1992. As early as the late 1980s, the station was closed as a freight tariff point.
There are plans to electrify the line and, together with the Palatinate Maximiliansbahn, expand it as a relief line for freight trains along the Rhine Valley between Bingen and Karlsruhe. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate has registered the measure for the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 . As part of a west corridor, the route is to become part of one of two new north-south axes.
- In 1942, a major accident occurred on the line during World War II : in the morning, a military train and a freight train collided near Enkenbach. The accident claimed two lives and injured numerous people. An even greater disaster was prevented by the fact that the first two wagons of the military train were only sparsely occupied.
- The route was closed on June 9, 2016. Trees were uprooted due to a landslide and blocked the railway line. Rail traffic between Winnweiler and Rockenhausen was affected for about a week.
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