Bergisch-Märkische Railway Company

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Route network of the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft shortly before nationalization

The Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft ( BME for short , also: Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahngesellschaft ), along with the Köln-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft and the Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, was one of the three large (nominally) private railway companies that started operating from the middle of the 19th century. Century, the Rhineland , the Ruhr area and large parts of Westphalia were opened up by rail .



Memorial plaque for the construction of the Düsseldorf-Elberfelder Railway in Düsseldorf Central Station (north tunnel)

The Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft was founded on October 18, 1843 in Elberfeld (today part of Wuppertal ). Since the Cologne-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft had decided on the route via Duisburg and against a route through the valley of the Wupper for its railway construction , they wanted to create a rail connection in an easterly direction for this highly industrialized area and the Bergisches Land , in particular to connect to the Brandenburg coal fields near Dortmund. The required Prussian license was granted on July 12, 1844. The Düsseldorf-Elberfelder Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft , founded in 1837, had completed a connection to the west to the Rhine in 1841.

The Prussian state contributed a quarter of the start-up capital, while an Elberfeld bank, among others, contributed significantly to the share of private individuals. The inadequate profitability of the first route naturally hindered the financing options for further route expansion. There were also mismanagement and management errors. “They had operated without a plan and without any control.” In 1849 a government loan could not be repaid. The presidium of the company saw a solution in 1850 in the application for state aid for a loan of 600,000 thalers from the then Prussian finance minister August von der Heydt , shareholder of the banking house von der Heydt-Kersten & Sons , Elberfeld , and temporary chairman of the board of directors of Bergisch- Märkischen Railway Company. By granting its capital participation, the Prussian state claimed to be involved in the company's rail operations in order not to endanger the capital invested by the state or by the Prussian maritime trade . The company leasing agreement came into force on August 23, 1850. With this, the management of the nominally still private railway company was transferred on October 15, 1850 to the Royal Directorate of the Bergisch-Märkische Railway Company, newly founded on September 14, 1850.

This changed its name on March 13, 1854 to the Royal Railway Directorate in Elberfeld . Next, the main line was expanded, in 1855 by 54 kilometers to the east from Dortmund via Unna to Soest and in 1857 by 27 kilometers to the west to the Rhine by taking over the Düsseldorf-Elberfelder Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft , which required a financing of 1.7 million talers.

Trunk lines

Schwelm route section around 1861

Their first 56 kilometer route ran from Elberfeld to Dortmund via Barmen (since 1929 to Wuppertal ), Schwelm , Hagen , Wetter and Witten . In 1849 the route was completed. In the period that followed, the company built further main and secondary routes in the Ruhr area between Hellweg , the Ruhr and the Rhine . The east-west connection opened in 1862 from Dortmund and Witten via Bochum - Langendreer , Essen , Mülheim an der Ruhr to Duisburg was the most profitable in economic terms. The complete development of the Ruhr Valley for rail traffic by the Ruhr Valley Railway goes back to the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft.

However, the company is shaped by the many acquisitions of smaller railway companies to round off their field of activity. Their active later chairman of the supervisory board, the secret commercial councilor Daniel von der Heydt , did not succeed in acquiring the Royal Westphalian Railway Company, owned by the Prussian state , with its network of up to 460 kilometers in length , despite years of efforts . This route network, which initially reached as far as Rheine , would have brought the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft closer to the desired access to a German seaport when the two companies closed in Hamm .

The Rheine - Emden section (called " Hannoversche Westbahn ") was built by the Royal Hanover State Railways , but came into Prussian state hands after the annexation of Hanover in 1866 , and one to two years later to the Royal Westphalian Railway Company. Only after the nationalization of all private railway companies in Prussia came the operational merger in the "Königliche Eisenbahn-Direction Cöln (right bank of the Rhine)".


Larger expansions began in 1859 with the construction of the 106-kilometer Ruhr-Sieg line from Hagen to Siegen to the ore mines there. The line was opened on August 6, 1861. Their construction cost 12.9 million thalers.

From 1858, the Witten - Duisburger Bahn followed across the Ruhr area , the first section of which was opened as the Duisburg-Hochfelder Industriebahn for goods traffic only on August 19, 1859. The 52-kilometer route via Langendreer, Steele, Essen and Mülheim an der Ruhr with connection to various coal mines was completed on May 1, 1862. In Steele it also brought the northern connection with the Steele-Vohwinkler Railway ( Prince Wilhelm Railway ) which had existed since 1847 and was taken over for 1.3 million talers in 1854 .

In Duisburg , the station building was swapped with the Cologne-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft to improve the track layout. This connection quickly developed into the most profitable route in society. Together with the main Wuppertal route and the Elberfeld-Deutz connection, which opened in 1867, both now serve the InterCityExpress traffic of Deutsche Bahn in the Rhine-Ruhr conurbation .

In 1866, the logical step was to cross the Rhine via the Ruhrort – Homberg railway with the aim of establishing a connection with Belgium and the Netherlands by purchasing the lines managed by the Aachen-Düsseldorf-Ruhrorter Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft for seven million talers. The Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft provided the Prussian state with the necessary funds for the complete takeover of this railway in state ownership. In 1870, after the completion of a permanent bridge over the Rhine in Düsseldorf-Hamm - the Hammer Railway Bridge - the line from Düsseldorf to Neuss was opened. This created a second connection between the network on the right and left of the Rhine.

In addition to many smaller development routes, an expansion in an easterly direction followed by 1876, the Obere Ruhrtal Railway via Arnsberg , Bestwig , Brilon-Wald and Warburg to Holzminden an der Weser. Here, on April 17, 1868, the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft took over the Hessian Northern Railway with its 130-kilometer stretch from Gerstungen via Bebra and Kassel to Karlshafen at a price of eight million thalers. Until the war of 1866, this train was called Kurfürst-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Eisenbahn. On the left bank of the Rhine, the network was extended by 66 kilometers with the lines from Rheydt-Odenkirchen to Eschweiler-Aue and Düren . In 1880 the company took over the management of the 78 kilometer network of the Dutch-Westphalian Railway from Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck via Dorsten and Borken to Winterswijk in Holland, as well as the branch line from Borken to Bocholt .

Opening and taking over of important routes

Period Railway line annotation
1847-1849 Elberfeld – Dortmund Main route : Elberfeld - Oberbarmen - Schwelm - Milspe - Hagen - Witten - Dortmund
1855 Dortmund – Soest Dortmund - Hörde - Unna - Soest
1857 Düsseldorf – Elberfeld Takeover of the Düsseldorf-Elberfelder Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft
1859-1861 Ruhr-Sieg route Hagen - Letmathe - Finnentrop - Kreuztal - Siegen
1859-1862 Witten / Dortmund – Oberhausen / Duisburg Witten / Dortmund - Langendreer - Steele - Essen - Mülheim (Ruhr) - Styrum - Oberhausen / Duisburg
1863 Wuppertal-Vohwinkel-Essen-Überruhr Takeover of the Prince Wilhelm Railway Company
1864 Aachen – Mönchengladbach Takeover of the Aachen-Düsseldorf-Ruhrorter Eisenbahn
Mönchengladbach – Düsseldorf
1866 Viersen – Venlo Viersen - Kaldenkirchen - Venlo
1866/7 Hagen-Hamm Unna– Hamm (1866), Hagen– Herdecke (1867)
1867/8 Gruiten-Deutz (Elberfeld–) Gruiten - Solingen - Opladen - Deutz (- Cologne )
1868 Friedrich-Wilhelms-Nordbahn Takeover of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Nordbahn-Gesellschaft
1868-1881 Wuppertal-Oberbarmen-Opladen / Remscheid Oberbarmen– Lennep - Remscheid (1868), Lennep– Wermelskirchen (1876), Wermelskirchen – Opladen (1881)
1870 Hammer railway bridge Neuss - Düsseldorf
1870-1873 Schwerte – Warburg Schwerte - Arnsberg (1870) Arnsberg– Meschede (1871) Meschede– Bestwig (1872) Bestwig– Warburg (1873)
1872 Düsseldorf – Schwerte Düsseldorf– Kettwig - (Essen) copper turning –Herdecke – Schwerte
1873 Valley railway line Rheydt-Odenkirchen - Jülich - Düren , Jülich - Weisweiler - Eschweiler-Aue
1876 Mülheim-Styrum-Essen-Kettwig (Mülheim-) Styrum – Kettwig
1877 Will – eat (Eating) Becoming - Eating
1879 Iron Rhine Rheydt - Dalheim - border D / NL with Vlodrop
1880 Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck-Winterswijk Takeover of the Dutch-Westphalian Railway Company

Locomotives and wagons

With a few exceptions, the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft initially only put three-axle locomotives into service; these were 1-B or C-coupled machines.

It began operating in 1848 with 10 locomotives, 22 passenger cars and 259 freight cars. By 1865, it had procured 10 Crampton locomotives with a 1-A-1 wheel arrangement and a drive wheel diameter of only 1676 mm for express train traffic because of the mountainous route profile and ten 2-A-coupled machines.

More than 100 machines with the 1-B wheel arrangement followed later for express and passenger traffic, mostly from Borsig , Berlin. With 683 C-coupled locomotives, the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft owned the largest number of all freight train companies that were nationalized at that time.

The passenger cars were two-axle compartment cars. The first three-axle compartment cars were not put into service until around 1880.


The law to nationalize the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft was promulgated on March 28, 1882. At this point in time, the Prussian state already owned 64 percent of the company's share capital. The Royal Railway Direction to Elberfeld took over the management with effect from January 1, 1882.

When the company was nationalized, it had 768 locomotives and 21,607 cars. It operated a rail network 1,336 kilometers in length. Of these, 720 kilometers were double-track. The purchase price financed through government bonds was 633,847,500 marks. The company was dissolved on January 1, 1886.


  • Annual report on the administration of the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn. - Elberfeld, 1856–1881. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • The Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft in its development during the first 25 years of operation / Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, Elberfeld. - Elberfeld: Friderichs, 1875. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • Bergische Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft: The Bergisch- Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft in its development during the first 25 years of operations in Elberfeld, 1875
  • Annual reports of the Bergisch-Märkisch Railway Company
  • Government assessor Waldeck: The development of the Bergisch-Märkischen railways. In: Archives for Railways, Issue 3–5, Berlin 1910.
  • Bernd Franco Hoffmann: The Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn. Through the valleys of Wupper, Ruhr and Volme ; Sutton-Verlag, Erfurt, 2015.
  • Deutsche Reichsbahn: The development of the German railways 1835–1935 , Berlin 1935.
  • Rolf Ostendorf: Ruhr area railway junction. The development history of the Revierbahnen since 1838
  • Wolfgang Klee, Dr. Günther Scheingraber: Prussian Railway History , Part 1: 1838-1870 in: Prussia Report Volume 1.1, Fürstenfeldbruck 1992.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Own spelling with hyphen, see priority obligation of the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft ( Memento of March 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 268 kB)
  2. Bergassessor Waldeck: The development of the Bergisch-Märkischen railways. Reprint from Archives for Railways, Issue 3–5, Berlin 1910 p. 104.
  3. Wolf-Dieter Grün: The construction of the Ruhr-Sieg line 140 years ago. In: To Bigge, Lenne and Fretter , Finnentrop 2001, issue 13 a. 14 ( Memento from July 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.7 MB)
  4. ^ Rolf Swoboda: Railway Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck - Winterswijk . Kenning Verlag, Nordhorn 1993, ISBN 3-927587-11-7 , p. 4-7 .