Cologne – Frechen railway line

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Cologne – Frechen
Route number (DB) : 9604
Course book section (DB) : 251 d (1948)
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system : (Abzw Lind – Frechen) 800  =
Dual track : Abzw Lind – Frechen
(mixed operation with Cologne tram )
End of track on open track - start
Port of Niehl I
Station without passenger traffic
0.0 Bft Köln-Niehl Hafen
Light rail 16
Station without passenger traffic
2.3 Bft Cologne-Niehl
3.0 Industrial main track I + II (see below)
3.5 Industrial main track I (see below)
Tram 12 15
~ 4.0 Awanst KVB main workshop
BSicon .svgBSicon KRZu.svgBSicon ABZq + l.svg
5.5 Neuss – Cologne route
BSicon .svgBSicon ABZg + l.svgBSicon STRr.svg
6.7 Cologne-Butzweiler
Light rail 5
Tram 3 4
Station without passenger traffic
9.7 Cologne-Bickendorf Gbf
BSicon STR + l.svgBSicon ABZlr.svgBSicon STR + r.svg
BSicon ABZgl.svgBSicon STR + r.svgBSicon STR.svg
~ 10.0 Instead of Max Becker
BSicon KRZu.svgBSicon KRZu.svgBSicon ABZql.svg
10.5 Aachen – Cologne line
BSicon STR.svgBSicon ENDEe.svgBSicon .svg
BSicon STRl.svgBSicon xABZq + rxl.svgBSicon exKDSTeq.svg
Melaten station
11.4 Anst Coelner petrol refinery
11.9 Tram 1
12.8 Lind (Abzw) Stadtbahn 7
Stop, stop
13.9 Stüttgenhof
Stop, stop
15.3 Marsdorf
Station, station
16.1 House Vorst
17.9 Grundig (Anst)
18.6 Track connections
BSicon uSTR + l.svgBSicon mABZgr.svgBSicon .svg
Tram 7
BSicon uSTR.svgBSicon DST.svgBSicon .svg
18.6 Naughty Gbf
BSicon uHST.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
Cheeky Bf
BSicon uBHF.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
Cheeky Church
BSicon uHST.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
Cheeky town hall
BSicon uBHF.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
BSicon umKRZu.svgBSicon ABZgr.svgBSicon .svg
20.3 Cheeky quartz movements (Anst)
BSicon uKBHFe.svgBSicon eBHF.svgBSicon .svg
Frechen-Benzelrath Stadtbahn 7
former Bergheimer Kreisbahn to Mödrath
20.6 Ownership limit HGK / RWE Power
Route - straight ahead
to the north-south railway
Industrial main track I
End of track on open track - start
First Infineum
1.4 Instead of RMVA / Ford West
First Akzo Nobel / Anterist + Schneider
Connection curve to the trunk line
Industrial main track II (see below)
Trunk line (see above)
Station without passenger traffic
0.0 Cologne-Niehl
Route - straight ahead
Trunk line (see above)
Industrial main track II
BSicon .svgBSicon exENDEa.svg
5.7 Anst Ford -Ersatzteillager
BSicon .svgBSicon ENDExa.svg
today's end of the track
BSicon .svgBSicon ABZgl.svg
On the Merkenich thermal power station
BSicon ENDEa.svgBSicon STR.svg
2.5 Initially Wacker Chemie
BSicon STR.svgBSicon ABZg + l.svg
Instead of Ford East
BSicon STR.svgBSicon ABZg + l.svg
At first Huppertz
BSicon STR.svgBSicon ABZg + l.svg
At LMK Logistik
BSicon ABZg + r.svgBSicon STR.svg
Initially ABX Logistics
BSicon BS2l.svgBSicon BS2r.svg
Industrial main track I (see above)
Trunk line (see above)
Station without passenger traffic
0.0 Cologne-Niehl
Route - straight ahead
Trunk line (see above)


The Cologne – Frechen railway runs from the port in Cologne-Niehl to Frechen-Benzelrath, west of Cologne . The former trunk line of the Cologne-Frechen-Benzelrath Railway (KFBE) , also known as the Klüttenbahn , is now operated by the ports and freight traffic of Cologne .


The Cologne-Frechen-Benzelrath Railway was founded in 1893 by the municipality of Frechen . The main purpose was to transport Frechen's industrial products - mainly lignite briquettes, quartz sand and clay pipes - to the state train station in Cologne-Ehrenfeld . In order to save time-consuming reloading, a large part of the route, unlike many other small and branch lines, was designed as a three-rail track in standard and meter gauge . Passenger traffic became narrow-gauge, freight traffic on standard gauge.

The route was built by the construction company Hermann Hager. Operations began in 1894. The management took over the local railway construction and operating company Hiedemann & Co, which merged in 1898 in the Continentalen railway construction and operating company . In 1896, the Bergheimer Kreisbahn began operating as an extension of the railway line to Benzelrath, via Mödrath to Kerpen . However, there were no through-going passenger trains, in Benzelrath you had to change trains.

Takeover in Cologne ownership

Freight traffic developed so strongly that an expansion of the track system became necessary after just a few years. The municipality of Frechen lacked the financial means to do this. On January 1, 1904, the railway was sold for 1,018,335 marks to the city of Cologne, which began to expand. The city also took over the management of the Cologne-Frechen-Benzelrath Railway .

The freight train route was partly expanded to double tracks and a bypass route was built for the center of Frechen. In 1914, passenger traffic was switched from steam-powered narrow-gauge trains to electrical operation, which, like the Cologne tram, ran on standard gauge. This new passenger train route was partially re-routed in the Cologne city area.

Expansion of the freight network

After the First World War, the KFBE freight train route within Cologne was extended. In 1925 the route network reached the newly built Rhine port in Cologne-Niehl . This made it possible to load briquettes onto ships. In the years that followed, the marshalling and transfer stations in Cologne-Braunsfeld, Cologne-Bickendorf and Cologne-Niehl were expanded again and again, and more and more industrial companies in Cologne received their own siding . A connection to the main workshop of the Cologne tram in Cologne-Weidenpesch was also built.

With the settlement of the Ford works north of Niehl, the line was extended as an industrial trunk line until then. The neighboring plant of the fiber manufacturer Glanzstoff was also connected to the rail network.

In passenger traffic, however, nothing changed for a long time. In contrast to the suburban railways on the right bank of the Rhine, traffic was relatively low. In addition, the route was operated in sections as a railway and not as a tram. This required specially trained drivers and some additional equipment on the car.

After the Second World War

After the reconstruction, the 1950s were characterized by two developments: on the one hand, the briquette traffic decreased sharply, while on the other hand further industrial companies were settled in the north of Niehl. Thus, the traffic focus shifted more and more to the section Bickendorf – Niehl. Freight transport services declined noticeably, and at the beginning of the 1960s, freight transport became deficit.

The city of Cologne, as the owner of the railway, countered this by increasingly utilizing synergy effects and other rationalization measures. As early as 1955, the Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (KVB) took over KFBE as a subdivision. From 1953 new railcars for passenger traffic came, which were largely identical to the railcars of the other Cologne suburban railway lines. In freight transport, the steam locomotives were replaced by diesel locomotives. Care was taken to ensure that they were identical in construction to the locomotives procured at the same time for the Cologne-Bonn Railways (KBE), whose main owner was also the city of Cologne. The separation of port railways and KFBE has also been lifted for the port of Niehl.

From 1968 onwards, passenger transport on Sundays and public holidays was for some time operated by buses. In 1969, the previous line F (for Frechen) was integrated into the tram system as the last of the Cologne suburban railway lines. Since then it has been operated with trams or light rail vehicles. However, the KFBE provided the driving staff for the SL 20 until the beginning of the 1980s, which clearly stood out from the KVB tram drivers with its own blue railroad workers' uniform with a peaked cap (the female driving staff still had a cap in their hair).

The end of the KFBE

In the freight transport sector, the city of Cologne urged an increasing cooperation with the KBE and the city ports. The KBE and KFBE locomotives have been serviced in the KBE depot in Brühl-Vochem since 1982 . Since the route networks of KBE and KFBE are not connected - a connection route planned in 1952 failed due to the high costs - either the DB Netz AG route network between Brühl, Cologne West and Cologne-Ehrenfeld with a connection to Cologne train station is used regularly for upcoming transfers -Bickendorf, or in exceptional cases by special permit, the north-south rail of RWE Power used. In 1992, the freight transport departments of KBE, KFBE and the Cologne Rhine ports merged to form Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln AG (HGK), a subsidiary of Stadtwerke Köln. Passenger traffic was completely handed over to the KVB .

Todays situation

Modernized Benzelrath tram stop
Tram line 2 at the final stop Benzelrath (1986)
Tram line 2 in the Frechen pedestrian zone (1986)

A lot has been invested in passenger transport in recent years: the stops have been fundamentally modernized, and a large Park & ​​Ride car park has been built in Cologne-Marsdorf. Starting behind the Frechen Kirche stop in the direction of Benzelrath, the route is now a single track through the middle of the pedestrian zone, allowing restaurants and shops to gain outside space. An extension from Benzelrath to the west has also been under discussion for some time, and the route has already been reserved for city planning purposes.

In freight transport, many tracks that have become superfluous, such as B. the loading tracks in Frechen station have been dismantled. The transport of quartz sand , raw materials for the automotive industry and its products (especially cars) and garbage as well as lignite products such as briquettes and lignite dust (including for the Merkenich thermal power station ) have still remained.


Signal box at Frechen station

Frechen train station:

Frechen station consists of a total of 12 tracks. Tracks 1 and 2 lead past the freight station to the “Frechen Bahnhof” stop of the Cologne transport company at the Clarenbachweg level crossing.

Tracks 4 to 9 form a track harp , which merges into the line to Benzelrath in the west and into the line to Cologne used jointly with the Cologne light rail system in the east . Tracks 10 to 12 are butt tracks, which can only be reached via a small drainage mountain and manual switches . In the rest of the station, operations have been switched to electrically localized points since autumn 2008 .

The section through the city forest
Uerdinger rail bus in the city forest

Frechen - Lind:

At the intersection of Dürener Straße / Militärring, the city and railway routes separate at the Lind junction. The mixed operation of freight and passenger traffic on one track also ends here . The tram continues on Dürener Strasse and Aachener Strasse towards the city center.

Lind - Bickendorf:

From the Lind junction, the freight trains run on a single track through the Cologne city forest . The route is difficult to see, almost all level crossings are unrestricted, so a maximum speed of 20 km / h applies in the city forest.

Shortly before you reach Aachener Strasse, you will find what is currently the oldest gatekeeper's house in North Rhine-Westphalia. The tram tracks of the KVB are crossed at Aachener Straße, the maximum speed to Bickendorf station is 40 km / h.

Freight station Cologne-Bickendorf:

The Cologne-Bickendorf freight station is the central transfer station to the Deutsche Bahn AG rail network. In the south it is connected to the Cologne-Ehrenfeld freight station on the Cologne – Aachen high-speed line, and to the north with the Cologne-Nippes freight station on the Cologne – Kleve railway line .

The station itself is a one-sided marshalling yard , which consists of a five-track drive-in group in the northern part, an out-of-service waste mountain , and an eleven-track treatment group in the southern part. In addition, there are various current and former siding , as well as a locomotive shed for the Cologne ports and freight traffic until 2006 .

Freight train near the Gbf Köln-Niehl

Freight station Cologne-Niehl:

The Cologne-Niehl freight yard serves as a transfer station to the Cologne-Niehl Hafen freight yard, the two industrial main tracks and the siding of the scrap dealer Broicher. It consists of a through track, an eight-track harp and three butt tracks.


  • Ports and Freight Transport Cologne AG (Ed.): 100 Years Cologne – Frechen – Benzelrath Railway. Ports and Freight Transport Köln AG, Cologne 1993.
  • Gerd Wolff: German small and private railways. Volume 4: North Rhine-Westphalia southern part . EK-Verlag, Freiburg 1997, ISBN 3-88255-660-9 , pp. 172-187.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. DB Netze - Infrastructure Register
  2. Railway Atlas Germany . 9th edition. Schweers + Wall, Aachen 2014, ISBN 978-3-89494-145-1 .
  3. "In Braunsfeld new houses are to be built - over tracks" , Kölner Stadtanzeiger , December 14, 2017
  4. Offer documents from the construction company for the planned Grube Carl settlement ( Memento of the original dated August 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /