The Bergheimer Kreisbahn was a railway company in the Bergheim (Erft) district . It was founded to open up the district for traffic.
The first rail connections in the Bergheim (Erft) district, which essentially corresponds to the northern part of today's Rhein-Erft district , were the Cologne - Horrem - Düren - Aachen (opened in 1841, today KBS 480) and Düren - Elsdorf - Bedburg - Grevenbroich lines - Neuss (opened in 1868/69).
Both routes passed the district town of Bergheim for 6 and 4.5 kilometers without a connection. The plan to extend the Aachen - Jülich line via Bergheim to Cologne failed. Therefore, in 1894, the district decided to open up the district with a meter-gauge circular path. Four routes were opened within three years:
- Elsdorf – Bergheim – Horrem – Mödrath
- Bedburg – Bergheim – Niederaußem – Rheidt (–Rommerskirchen)
- Bedburg – Ameln
- Benzelrath – Mödrath – Kerpen – Blatzheim – Oberbolheim
In Bedburg and Horrem there was a connection to the lines of the state railway, in Benzelrath to the line of the Cologne-Frechen-Benzelrath Railway (KFBE) to Cologne and in Mödrath to the Mödrath-Liblar-Brühler Railway (MLBE). Both routes were also designed with a gauge of 1000 mm. The MLBE in turn had a connection in Liblar to the state railway and the meter-gauge Euskirchener Kreisbahnen . In Brühl there was also a connection to the state railway and to the then meter-gauge foothills railway of the Cologne-Bonn Railways (KBE). Thus, in the Jülich-Zülpicher Börde region, there was a continuous meter gauge network from Zülpich in the south to Bedburg in the north and from Cologne in the east to Elsdorf in the west. The operation of the sugar factories and lignite mines as the main customers of freight traffic was thus ensured, as was passenger traffic in the most important routes.
In the following years, a number of route extensions were made: The route to Blatzheim was extended to Oberbolheim , and another was built from Bedburg to Ameln , where there was a connection to the state railway line Jülich - Hochneukirch - Mönchengladbach and where there was another sugar factory. The line from Bergheim to Rheidt was also extended to Rommerskirchen on the Cologne – Grevenbroich – Mönchengladbach state railway.
Since an increasing part of the goods was transported on with the state railway, the route network including the Mödrath – Liblar – Brühl route was switched to standard gauge (1435 mm) in 1903/1904 .
The end of the circular path
A few years before the First World War , the idea of building a relief line for freight traffic from the Ruhr area to France was born. This route had a purely military use and is therefore also called the " Strategic Railway Embankment ".
The route was planned from Neuss via Rommerskirchen– Horrem –Liblar – Rheinbach into the Ahr valley and then via Daun to the Moselle. A substantial part of this railway line was therefore the Rommerskirchen – Mödrath line of the Bergheimer Kreisbahn and the subsequent section of the MLBE from Mödrath to Liblar. Therefore, both railway companies were nationalized on January 1, 1913 against payment of compensation. However, the end of the war and the subsequent Versailles Treaty prevented the completion of the Strategic Railway.
Of the former routes of the Bergheimer Kreisbahn, the route from Horrem via Bergheim to Bedburg and the Niederaussem – Rommerskirchen route still exist today . The latter is only used in freight traffic and is only in operation between Rommerskirchen and Niederaussem. The RWE Power transfer station is located in Niederaussem . There is a connection to the Hambachbahn and North-South Railway . On the first-mentioned route, there is also a brisk passenger traffic on the Cologne-Horrem-Bergheim-Bedburg-Grevenbroich-Neuss route as Erftbahn . In the long term, this route is to be expanded for S-Bahn traffic.
Extensive route relocations took place here due to the lignite opencast mines. All other routes have now been dismantled.