Waiblingen – Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental railway line
The Waiblingen – Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental railway , also known as the Murrtalbahn or Murrbahn , is a main line in Baden-Württemberg . It connects the Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt-Aalen railway with the Crailsheim – Heilbronn railway and is part of the shortest railway connection between Stuttgart and Nuremberg .
The route begins at Waiblingen station and runs between Backnang and Fornsbach through the upper Murr valley . It was built as part of the Murrbahn, which, in terms of its architectural history, also included the Backnang – Bietigheim branch running along the Murr-Unterlauf .
In the course of the route to follow Gaildorf the red , then until Schwäbisch Hall the cooker . There it is linked to the Crailsheim – Heilbronn railway in the Hessental district . The course book of the railway lists the connection from Stuttgart to Crailsheim as course book route 785 ("Murrbahn").
The first section of the Waiblingen – Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental line is integrated into the Stuttgart S-Bahn , and the S3 line runs to Backnang. The section to Backnang is double- tracked, the rest of the route to Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental is single-track.
With the Murrtalbahn, the Royal Württemberg State Railways , together with the Gäubahn Stuttgart – Freudenstadt built at the same time , created a diagonal connection through Württemberg . Senior building officer Carl Julius Abel was responsible for planning and building the route . It was intended to shorten the connection from Nuremberg via Crailsheim to Stuttgart compared to the existing routes via Aalen or Heilbronn.
The Waiblingen – Backnang section was opened on October 26, 1876, the Backnang – Murrhardt section on April 11, 1878, the Hessental – Gaildorf section on December 1, 1879, and the gap between Murrhardt and Gaildorf was closed on May 15, 1880 . The last section required the construction of two tunnels , which, in contrast to the rest of the route, were double-tracked.
For the branching of the Murrbahn, the existing station in Waiblingen had to be abandoned and rebuilt a little to the west in the form of a wedge station . The chosen route was disadvantageous for the city of Schwäbisch Hall, as the Stuttgart-Nuremberg connection leaves the city of Schwäbisch Hall on the left and these trains only stop at the suburban train station in Hessental . The Hessental – Crailsheim section had already been put into operation in 1867 as part of the Kocherbahn . The majority of trains run from Crailsheim via Hessental in the direction of Backnang and Stuttgart, the smaller part from Hessental in the direction of Heilbronn and thus through Schwäbisch Hall.
In order to create a large bypass route to the Stuttgart node for goods traffic, a branch line from Backnang via Marbach to Bietigheim was built in 1879 , the so-called "small Murrbahn".
The backbone of the train transport on the Waiblingen – Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental line was the famous Prussian " P 8 " from the First World War until 1975 .
On December 22nd, 1934 there was a serious railway accident between Murrhardt and Sulzbach near Schleißweiler due to a signal error: two trains collided with each other, ten people died.
In 1937 the “Fliegende Stuttgarter”, a type of train comparable to the Fliegende Hamburger , ran on the route, the only express train on a single-track route.
On April 21, 1945, parts of the viaduct over the Rems were blown up by the German Wehrmacht. The SS intended to blow up the Schanz tunnel between Fornsbach and Fichtenberg. The project, which was about to be carried out, was prevented by the courageous intervention of the Gaildorf mayor, who feared an economic decoupling of his region.
From 1962 to 1965, the Waiblingen – Backnang section was electrified and doubled as part of the Stuttgart suburban traffic . For this purpose, the viaduct over the Rems had to be expanded to two tracks. In Schwaikheim, a new double-track tunnel was built next to the old single-track tunnel. This was completely concreted instead of bricked; it was the first tunnel in Germany that was created using this technology. Initially, only the local trains benefited from the electrification, which mainly operated as push- pull trains with the 141 series . Long-distance trains and most of the express trains continued to run to Stuttgart with steam and later with diesel locomotives, as changing locomotives in Backnang was not worthwhile in terms of travel time.
In 1976, the age of the steam locomotive ended on this line too, diesel locomotives of the series 211/212 were now used in local traffic, 215 in regional traffic, initially 220 - later 221 in long-distance traffic, later 218 in both long-distance and regional traffic - in front of long trains partly in double traction .
In 1982 the local transport service on the section between Backnang and Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental was thinned out so that almost only express trains ran. This also led to the abandonment of several train stations and stops. As a result, numerous side tracks for freight traffic were also dismantled. With the electrification of the line from Goldshöfe via Crailsheim to Ansbach in 1985, the Waiblingen – Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental line lost almost all long-distance traffic, which from then on mainly used the longer route via Aalen , i.e. the Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt – Nördlingen line and the Goldshöfe line –Crailsheim . The route has been without long-distance traffic since the mid-2000s.
In the autumn of 1981, the S-Bahn traffic on the S3 line began between Backnang and Stuttgart; This was accompanied by the introduction of regular traffic to Backnang and an improvement in the transport offer.
On May 13, 1991, the state government of Baden-Württemberg decided to accelerate the electrification of the sections between Marbach, Backnang and Crailsheim a grant of 50 million DM. In 1996, the Marbach – Backnang and Backnang – Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental and the Schwäbisch sections were added Hall-Hessental – Crailsheim on the Heilbronn – Crailsheim line has been electrified and Fornsbach station has been dismantled to the stop. Then at least one platform was modernized at all traffic stations except Fornsbach. After the expansion, more local trains ran on the route, as well as occasional long-distance trains again.
From April 24 to October 15, 2009, due to a line closure between Aalen and Schorndorf, the InterCity trains on route 61 Nuremberg – Stuttgart – Karlsruhe were diverted via Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental and Backnang (each with a stop).
From July 21 to September 9, 2012, the route between Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental and Crailsheim was completely closed. During the extensive track construction work, around 30 km of track and 20 switches and some culverts were renewed for around 14.5 million euros (according to another source and also according to information from DB 18 million euros).
Expansion and renovation
The route was part of the expansion route Nuremberg – Stuttgart planned in the 1985 Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan . Part of the project was the electrification between Backnang and Crailsheim. The project was not included in the following Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan in 1992 .
At the beginning of 2003 it was planned to finish the double-track expansion between Oppenweiler and Sulzbach and in Fornsbach station in 2006 or 2007 at the earliest. The costs of both measures were calculated at a total of 20 to 30 million euros. The travel time between Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental and Stuttgart should be reduced from around 70 to 60 minutes.
Deutsche Bahn announced in September 2004 that it would postpone the expansion indefinitely. According to the then state transport minister, the two-track expansion would only be necessary if an additional hourly regional express connection was set up between Schwäbisch Hall and Stuttgart. However, this is not possible due to a lack of funds. However, the minister promised to expand in Fornsbach and the signaling technology. Due to reduced regionalization funds for local transport, the state ordered 22 trains on the Murrbahn with a mileage of around 131,000 train kilometers (15.5 percent of the total train kilometers) in June 2007, but withdrew some of the cuts in December 2007.
In 2014, the Stuttgart Region Association examined the possibilities of extending the S-Bahn service to Murrhardt. However, this project was not pursued in favor of planned improvements to the regional express and regional rail services on this route.
In the course of the construction project "Re-establishment of the Fornsbach crossing station", the train crossing facility in Fornsbach, which was closed in 1996, was restored with the platform position slightly shifted (300 meters closer to the settlement, two outer platforms with an underpass including the installation of a crossing track and Ks signaling ). The aim was to relocate the regular train crossing from Murrhardt station to Fornsbach station just under five kilometers to the east in order to save around ten minutes of waiting time for the Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental-Backnang section and to enable an integral cycle timetable . The financing agreement was signed in 2008; The construction project, which cost around twelve million euros, began in August 2011 and was completed on December 9, 2012 with the commissioning of the new station when the timetable changed. Fornsbach station has been remote-controlled from Murrhardt ever since.
The state of Baden-Württemberg registered the double-track expansion of the line between Backnang and Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental for the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 , at an estimated cost of 180 million euros for the 42 km long measure. The double-track expansion is included in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030. An investigation commissioned by the federal government to expand the Stuttgart – Nuremberg corridor came to the conclusion that the capacity utilization in the single-track section was very low and that a double-track expansion was therefore not necessary. The shortest travel time on the axis can be reached via the Murrbahn and with tilting technology trains, for which investments of 255 million euros are required. It is the only project of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 in which tilting technology is planned.
An increase in platform heights to the S-Bahn level of 96 cm is being considered, but according to information from Deutsche Bahn, this is often not possible due to oversized freight trains on this part of the European route network.
A Metropolexpress service is to be introduced between Stuttgart and Murrhardt, which will be extended to Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental during rush hour. The trains should run every half hour and relieve the S-Bahn.
On December 19, 2018, representatives from the state and regions agreed to initiate an in-depth study on the expansion of the Murrbahn from Stuttgart via Schwäbisch Hall to Crailsheim and the Remsbahn from Stuttgart via Aalen to Crailsheim. The aim is to clarify which expansion measures are required to accelerate rail passenger traffic on both routes as part of an overall concept. In the course of the investigation announced in 2019 , the infrastructure and service concept for the route will be considered.
From March 2022 to September 2023, the existing Fornsbach electronic signal box is to be expanded to include Fichtenberg station. Part of the route is to be integrated into the Stuttgart digital hub by 2030 and equipped with digital interlockings , ETCS and automated driving .
- Rems Viaduct near Neustadt
- Schwaikheim tunnel near Schwaikheim : For the double-track expansion and electrification of the Waiblingen – Backnang section for S-Bahn traffic, the single-track tunnel had to be replaced by a new one. It was created from 1963 to 1964, when the shotcrete construction method was used for the first time in the railway industry . The old tunnel still exists and is walled up.
- Viaduct over the Weißach in Backnang
- Schanz tunnel near Fichtenberg
- Kappelesberg tunnel near Gaildorf
On December 9, 2006 - with the exception of diversion traffic - the last long-distance train, the express train from Nuremberg to Stuttgart, ran through coaches from Dresden and Prague. As a result of the cuts in regionalization funds, some trains have been canceled, including the regional trains between Backnang and Murrhardt and, at the weekend, some regional express trains on the Stuttgart-Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental route. The cuts were partially reversed when the timetable changed in December 2007.
Only n-wagons were used for the IRE and RE . From October 2016, after many years with ET 425 , n-wagons were used again for the RB. Class 111 , 143 and 114 locomotives were used. It was not until spring 2017 that the n-type cars were largely replaced by more modern double-decker cars .
In December 2017, a new transport contract came into force on the Murrbahn. Since then, there have been half-hourly connections to Gaildorf West from Mon-Sat, hourly to Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental and every two hours to Nuremberg. The services to Gaildorf West do not operate on Sundays, which means that the entire route runs every hour. In the peak hours there are individual additional services between Gaildorf, Schwäbisch Hall and Crailsheim.
Deutsche Bahn rejects intercity traffic between Nuremberg and Stuttgart via the Murrbahn, which is required by local politicians, due to insufficient demand and route conflicts with the future half-hourly regional traffic. A regional express line between Nuremberg and Stuttgart is to be put out to tender.
Until December 2017, the following types of passenger traffic operated between Waiblingen and Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental :
|Train type||course||Clock frequency||comment|
|Backnang - Waiblingen - Bad Cannstatt - Central Station - Schwabstraße - Vaihingen - Rohr - Leinfelden - Echterdingen - Airport / Exhibition Center||30 minutes||During peak hours compressed to 15-minute intervals between Backnang and Vaihingen.
For large trade fair events, compressed to 15-minute intervals
|Stuttgart - Waiblingen - Backnang - Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental - Crailsheim - Ansbach - Nuremberg||120 minutes||Sometimes only to Crailsheim|
|/||Stuttgart - Waiblingen - Backnang - Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental||120 minutes||On weekends and public holidays as RB between Backnang and Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental|
|Stuttgart - Waiblingen - Backnang - Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental - Crailsheim||A pair of trains||weekdays (except Saturdays)|
In addition to passing freight trains from various railway companies, sidings in Sulzbach (at least weekly delivery of two or more wagons with cut wood) and Fichtenberg (Monday to Friday on working days delivery of several wagons with logs and several times a week collection of several wagons with scrap) are served. These service trips take place Monday to Friday on weekday afternoons from the Kornwestheim marshalling yard with a 294 .
From July 1, 2014, a train loaded with 40 containers full of excavated earth from the Stuttgart 21 rail project reached the Wilhelmsglück alternative junction every day shortly after 7 a.m. (return journey around 9:30 p.m.). Two reach stackers stationed there loaded the containers onto trucks for transport to the nearby quarry. To make reloading easier, the track that had previously reached the head ramp was shortened and the area that was freed up was paved, and some construction containers were set up.
Reallocation of regional transport
The network Gäu-Murr was the end of December 2014 announced . It includes traffic from Stuttgart via Herrenberg, Eutingen, Freudenstadt / Horb to Rottweil and from Stuttgart via Murrhardt, Schwäbisch Hall and Crailsheim to Nuremberg. Six bids were received.
The range of transport on the Murrbahn is to be expanded significantly and connections between Stuttgart and Murrhardt are to be offered every half hour from Monday to Saturday all day until the early evening. In the rush hour, this half-hourly service is to be extended to Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental. The travel time from Schwäbisch Hall to Stuttgart Central Station is to be shortened by up to 15 minutes. The state contribution per train-kilometer has fallen from 11.69 to 8.22 euros per train-kilometer compared to the “Great Transport Contract” of 2003.
On August 10, 2015, the award of the network 3b, to which the Murrbahn-Verkehr belongs, to the DB Regio AG was announced. The network covers 2.1 million train kilometers per year. This includes the metropolitan express lines from Horb via Stuttgart to Schwäbisch Hall and Crailsheim. The contract was awarded on August 21, 2015. The contract runs until 2025.
The double-deck coaches and n-coaches used until then were replaced by four-part Talent 2 multiple units , each with 215 seats. The vehicles run in the white, yellow and black bwegt country design and have 30 bicycle parking spaces, sockets and wireless internet access and cell phone amplifiers . DB Regio also uses the Baden-Württemberg vehicle financing model offered by the Baden-Württemberg State Railway Authority, in which the vehicles are purchased, leased to the state and leased back. The contract was awarded to Bombardier on September 8, 2015 .
On September 4, 2017, the network 3a (Stuttgart-Nuremberg) was awarded to the railway company Go-Ahead . Go-Ahead started train traffic on the route on December 15, 2019 with 12 pairs of trains on the RE 90 line every two hours between Stuttgart and Crailsheim or Nuremberg. It is planned to use trains financed in the BW model in the bwegt state design of the Stadler Flirt XL type , but since these trains were delivered too late, operation started with the help of subcontractors with trains with old n-cars. At the beginning of March, Go-Ahead announced that the use of the new vehicles would continue to be delayed and that old vehicles would continue to be used until the end of April 2020.
The following passenger trains have been running on the Murrbahn since December 15, 2019:
|Train type||course||operator||Clock frequency||comment|
|Backnang - Waiblingen - Bad Cannstatt - Central Station - Schwabstraße - Vaihingen - Rohr - Leinfelden - Echterdingen - Airport / Exhibition Center||DB Regio||30 minutes||During peak hours compressed to 15-minute intervals between Backnang and Vaihingen.
For large trade fair events, compressed to 15-minute intervals
|Stuttgart - Waiblingen - Backnang - Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental - Crailsheim - Ansbach - Nuremberg||Go ahead||120 minutes|
|Stuttgart - Waiblingen - Backnang - Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental||DB Regio||120 minutes|
|Stuttgart - Waiblingen - Backnang - Gaildorf-West||DB Regio||60 minutes|
By superimposing the various networks, there is a 30-minute cycle between Stuttgart and Gaildorf-West.
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