Frankfurt-Offenbach Local Railway

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Frankfurt-Offenbach Local Railway
Route of the Frankfurt-Offenbacher local railway
Frankfurt-Offenbach Local Railway with its
terminus in Sachsenhausen and Offenbach
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
to the Main-Neckar train station
Main-Neckar Railway
Frankfurt local train station
Battle Stockyard
Frankfurt Süd – Frankfurt Hbf (deep) (S-Bahn)
Hanau – Frankfurt Schlachthof (S-Bahn)
Frankfurt South – Aschaffenburg
from Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
from Frankfurt (Main) Schlachthof (S-Bahn)
Upper wheel
according to Bebra
BSicon .svgBSicon exSTR.svgBSicon tBHF.svg
BSicon .svgBSicon exSTR.svgBSicon tBHF.svg
Offenbach leather market
BSicon .svgBSicon exKBHFe.svgBSicon tSTR.svg
Offenbach local train station
BSicon .svgBSicon .svgBSicon tSTR.svg
to Hanau north side (S-Bahn)

The Frankfurt-Offenbacher local railway was operated from 1848 to 1955. It emerged from the state-run Frankfurt-Offenbacher Eisenbahn and was the first railway line between the two neighboring cities of Frankfurt am Main and Offenbach am Main .

Planning and construction

The old Sachsenhausen train station in 1864

In connection with the considerations for the construction of the Main-Neckar Railway (Frankfurt- Heidelberg ) one in the capital of the planned Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt -based company at the end of the 1830s, the most important commercial city of the Grand Duchy, Offenbach am Main , a linksmainische route to connect to this. The project failed in 1841 due to a lack of funds. In terms of transport policy, the Free City of Frankfurt feared that such a connection would allow trains to roll past Frankfurt.

However, Frankfurt was positive about a rail link from Frankfurt to Offenbach. The Grand Duchy and the Free City of Frankfurt then signed a state treaty on December 12, 1842, on the establishment of a joint state railway, a condominal railway, and the construction of a railway line that was to be connected to the Main-Neckar railway that was under construction.

A plot of land northwest of what was then the city center was chosen as the end point in Offenbach. The site was located west of Offenbacher Kaiserstrasse between Domstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse near the city center. The later Frankfurt local train station was built on the eastern edge of Sachsenhausen between Darmstädter Landstrasse, Heisterstrasse and Dreieichstrasse and was initially called Sachsenhausen station, later Alt-Sachsenhausen. A breakpoint was also created north of Oberrad on today's Wasserhofstrasse.

Start of operations

The Offenbach local train station

The acquisition of land north of Oberrad dragged on because of the resistance of local gardeners. There also seems to have been resistance in Frankfurt to a quick start of operations, which came from the truckers. The originally planned start of operation at the same time as the Main-Neckar Railway, which opened on August 1, 1846, could not be adhered to. The opening planned for August 1, 1847, did not take place despite the completed railway system. Instead, from August 23, freight trains only ran three times a week at night , which were declared to the public as “test drives”.

Since the first Main-Neckar railway bridge over the Main was not yet completed, the trains could not yet reach the Main-Neckar station on the right side of the Main. Therefore, coming from Darmstadt , they only drove to the Mainspitze depot located directly on the banks of the Main , which was designed as a hairpin , and then pushed back to the Sachsenhausen train station, which had been rented by the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Eisenbahn as a provisional terminus. The Main-Neckar-Bahn wanted to use the Sachsenhausen station alone and was not interested in a joint operation with the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Eisenbahn, which further delayed the start of operations.

Another reason for the delay was that the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Eisenbahn had rented their two locomotives to the Main-Neckar-Bahn, which they used on the Mannheim - Friedrichsfeld route . The night freight trains to and from Offenbach were therefore carried by a locomotive from the Main-Neckar Railway.

The commencement of passenger traffic was finally enforced during the March Revolution of 1848 by Offenbach citizens who stormed the station area on March 8 and demanded to be transported to Sachsenhausen and on to Darmstadt. There they wanted to put the government and parliament under pressure with a demonstration. The railway staff complied with the request and provided a passenger train .

The management of the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Eisenbahn now had to give in to public pressure and regularly offer passenger trains. Since both locomotives were still rented out, two machines and staff from the Main-Neckar-Bahn had to be temporarily hired until the company's own locomotives had returned from Mannheim. From March 9, 1848, four pairs of trains ran between Offenbach and Sachsenhausen according to a provisional timetable. Official operations began on April 16, 1848 with ten pairs of trains per day, with eleven trains running in both directions on Sundays and public holidays.

On November 15, 1848, the Main-Neckar Bridge and the associated North Main station of the Main-Neckar Railway were opened. From then on, the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Eisenbahn owned the sole operating rights in Sachsenhausen station. Due to tariff disputes, through trains to Frankfurt Main-Neckar-Bahnhof were only offered from October 18, 1849, due to a lack of demand, some trains continued to end in Sachsenhausen. According to the 1865 timetable, eight trains ran daily from Offenbach to Frankfurt, five more only to Sachsenhausen.

Further development

The Frankfurt local train station around 1900

With the annexation of Frankfurt by Prussia after the war of 1866 , the Frankfurt share in the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Railway was transferred to Prussia. On December 31, 1871, Prussia also acquired the Hessian share by a state treaty with retroactive effect to June 12, 1868; he became part of the Prussian State Railways .

With the construction of the Frankfurt-Bebraer railway from Hanau via Offenbach to Frankfurt, the importance of the previous route increased sharply. The new railway line, opened on November 16, 1873, merged with the existing line of the former Frankfurt-Offenbacher Railway near Oberrad and used its route to the Main-Neckar train station. Two more tracks were laid here as early as 1874 in order to be able to cope safely with the increased traffic. On December 2, 1875, the Bebraer Bahnhof (today's Südbahnhof ) was finally opened to the southwest of the previous Sachsenhausen station. At the same time, the previous track connection to the Main-Neckar bridge was given up and demolished. The former FOE line has now become the local railway and from then on only operated in shuttle traffic between Offenbach and Frankfurt local train stations, as they were now called.

In 1881 the Frankfurt local train station was connected to the Frankfurt tram . From 1884 onwards, the local railway was in serious competition with the Frankfurt-Offenbacher Trambahn-Gesellschaft (FOTG). Although the local train offered lower fares and faster travel times, the electric tram provided better access to the centers of Offenbach and Oberrad. The number of passengers on the local railway fell from 1,601,826 in 1883 to 1,405,519 in 1884, while the FOTG had around 440,000 passengers in the first year of operation. The Frankfurt Waldbahn had its terminus at the local train station since February 6, 1889.

From 1885, the local railway transported the first time a sizeable volume of goods: The Sachsenhausen slaughterhouse was an outgoing from Frankfurt Lokalbahnhof siding and its own "cattle yard" station , the transport of animals were handled via the. In 1900, however, the siding was replaced by a track branching off from the Bebra Railway at Oberrad, which brought goods traffic on the local railway to a standstill again.

A serious fall was entered in 1906 with the opening of vice spurt a former FOTG route to Offenbach. The tram connection was now integrated into the Frankfurt tram network and enabled direct travel from Offenbach to downtown Frankfurt. The number of passengers on the local railway fell by a good quarter, while the outdated infrastructure of the railway had an increasingly negative impact.

The railway made major losses for the first time, which is why the Prussian Railway considered selling the line to the cities of Frankfurt and Offenbach. They planned the electrification and modernization of the line and a routing of the trains to the Frankfurt South and Central Station . At times, the conversion into an electric subway based on the Berlin model was also planned. However, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 prevented the implementation of these plans. After all, in the 1914 summer timetable, the trains from Frankfurt to Offenbach ran every 20 minutes from 5.40 a.m. to midnight.

Like the wars of 1866 and 1870/71 , the First World War also had a significant impact on the operation of the local railway. The number of passengers was cut in half, and a shortage of coal and spare parts repeatedly resulted in longer business interruptions. The timetable was thinned out until 1918, and operations were completely discontinued at the end of the war. It was not until 1920 that trains ran every 40 minutes on weekdays. From 1925 onwards, operations resumed on all weekdays after an initiative to close it down in 1921 failed due to protests from local residents. To reduce the annual deficit, which had amounted to around 700,000 marks in 1920, operations were limited to the time between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays. Luggage and express goods have been abandoned and the staff reduced to a minimum.

The Second World War initially had little impact on rail operations. At the beginning of 1942 the timetable was temporarily reduced to an hourly cycle, but in November of the same year the trains were running every half hour again. In January and March 1944, Allied bombing raids temporarily interrupted the route and destroyed the station building in Frankfurt, but operations could be resumed after a few days. The war-related cessation of operations finally took place on August 28, 1944.

It was not until December 2, 1946, that the local railway could be put back into operation after the damage had been repaired. Instead of the previously used steam trains, a four-axle diesel multiple unit of the type VT 60.5 was used for the first time in shuttle traffic. In the winter timetable of 1947/48, every half hour ran.


Some time after the currency reform , the increasing motorization of the population and an improved train service on the Bebraer Bahn quickly reduced the number of travelers to around 1,000 per day. The Deutsche Bundesbahn therefore decided to close the now extremely unprofitable route on October 1, 1955. The trains ran free of charge for the last three days. A severely overcrowded special steam train traveled the route from Frankfurt to Offenbach for the last time in the evening after regular service had ceased. To this day it is the only railway line in the area of ​​the cities of Offenbach and Frankfurt that has ever been shut down without replacement.

With the exception of Oberrad station , all tracks and buildings of the local railway were demolished in the summer of 1956. In 1970 a new tram stop and an office building were built on the premises of the Frankfurt local train station. Since 1990, south of the former local railway station there is a train station Lokalbahnhof .

In Offenbach, the route was used to build Berliner Straße . The Bahnhofstrasse , the position far away from today's Offenbacher main station may be confusing local foreigners, reminiscent of the missing Offenbacher local railway station.

Parts of the former local railway line were used from 1989 for the construction of the Frankfurt Schlachthof – Hanau S-Bahn line , which went into operation in 1995. In Offenbach's urban area, the Offenbach City Tunnel now follows the former local railway line underground.

The nickname of the railway - Äbbelwoi-Exbress - remained in the collective consciousness and was resurrected in 1977 in the form of the " Ebbelwei-Express ", a round trip route of the city tram in Frankfurt.


  • Bernhard Hager: From the history of the Main-Neckar Railway. In: Yearbook for Railway History. 36. 2004, pp. 5-32.
  • Jens Freese: From steam car to S-Bahn, 144 years of railways in Frankfurt am Main-Sachsenhausen. Aachen 1990
  • Jens Freese, Michael Hofmann: The Abbelwoi Exbress. On the trail of the local railway from Frankfurt to Offenbach. Verlag Wolfgang Bleiweis, Schweinfurt 1995. ISBN 3-928786-32-6
  • Michael Hofmann: The railroad in Offenbach and in Rodgau. DGEG Medien 2004, ISBN 978-3-937189-08-6

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Herbert Wambold: The Main-Neckar Railway . In: The railway and its history = series of publications of the district of Darmstadt-Dieburg 2. Ed .: Georg Wittenberger / Förderkreis Museen und Denkmalpflege Darmstadt-Dieburg. Darmstadt 1985, pp. 20-26 (23).

Coordinates: 50 ° 6 ′ 10.4 "  N , 8 ° 41 ′ 29.4"  E