Royal line

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Sassnitz – Trelleborg
Route of the royal line
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Route - straight ahead
from Malmö ( Pågatåg line 9)
Station without passenger traffic
Sweden – Germany
Ferry connection
Station without passenger traffic
Sassnitz ferry port (from Sassnitz Hafen station until 1998 )
Route - straight ahead
to Stralsund

A former railway ferry connection from Sassnitz (Rügen) in Germany to Trelleborg in Sweden is known as the Königslinie ( Swedish Kungslinjen ) . With a travel time of around four hours, it represented the shortest direct ferry connection between Germany and Sweden and was integrated into European route 22 . It is named after Kaiser Wilhelm II as King of Prussia and the Swedish King Gustav V.


The treaty of November 15, 1907 in the German Reich Law Gazette of May 7, 1908
Railway ferry Germany in Trelleborg
The Sassnitz ferry in the old Saßnitz ferry port (early 1960s)

On April 29, 1897, a mail steamer line Saßnitz – Trelleborg was set up. The first test run had already been carried out on June 3, 1891 by the side wheel steamer Freia of the Stettiner steamship company JF Braeunlich . The Freia brought the Swedish guests of honor at the opening of the line to Saßnitz on 29 April 1897th She and the corresponding German dignitaries drove on the Swedish Rex to Trelleborg the following day , accompanied by the German cruiser SMS Gefion . Scheduled operations began on May 1, 1897. Initially, the State Treaty between Prussia and Sweden provided for only one departure per direction and day with express train connections to Berlin and Stockholm . In addition to the Freia , which only served as a reserve ship on the mail steamer line from 1902 after the commissioning of the Odin , the Swedish steamers Rex (until they stranded in February 1900), Svea (from 1899, required two daily departures from Saßnitz and Trelleborg) had become) and Nordstjernan (from May 1900) and the Braeunlich-Dampfer Imperator (from 1897), Germania (1899–1902), Odin (from 1902) and Hertha (from 1905) on the line.

Due to the high volume of traffic, it was decided to convert the post ferry into a railway ferry, for which purpose the Saßnitz Hafen station was built. After the conclusion of the contract of November 15, 1907 on the establishment of a railway ferry connection between the German Empire and Sweden, two ferries each were initially built by both states . From 1909, the railway ferries Prussia and its sister ship Germany, built by AG Vulcan Stettin , were used on the German side, and the Drottning Victoria and Konung Gustav V ferries on the Swedish side . After extensive reconstruction measures at the Saßnitz ferry port between 1908 and 1912 under the direction of Hermann Proetel , the first train already used the new ferry on July 6, 1909 in the presence of the Swedish king and the German emperor. This is considered the "actual" opening date for the royal line.

In November 1911, a radio link between Saßnitz, Trelleborg and the ferries was established, which increased safety during the crossing with it. At the same time began to operate a marine radio beacon at Cape Arkona to improve navigation on the ferry line.

In 1931, the Swedish flag ferry Starke was purchased to reinforce both countries and could also be used as an icebreaker . The Rügen dam was opened in 1936 . This eliminated the additional time-consuming ferry transport between Stralsund and Altefähr on Rügen , which reduced the journey time by an hour.

During the Second World War , the ferries of the Königslinie stopped several times. On the route, among other things, supplies for the German troops stationed in Norway were carried. Because of the destruction of the Rügen dam and the ferry port in Saßnitz, traffic was idle for a total of three years after the end of the war. International ferry traffic was resumed on March 16, 1948.

When construction began on the Rügenhafen in 1952 , the Soviet military ordered the Deutsche Reichsbahn to interrupt rail ferry services from October 4, 1952, in order to maintain secrecy. This lasted until August 16, 1953 and went down in regional history as the “Sassnitz Blockade”.

With the use of the four-track ferry Trelleborg in 1958, the era of large ferries with car transport on the Baltic Sea began . For this, the ferry beds and bridges had to be expanded. Two to four pairs of express trains (day train Berlinaren , night train Saßnitz-Express , after the transfer to the ferry port Mukran Nils Holgersson ) were transported between Stockholm and Berlin, later only Malmö - Berlin Ostbahnhof . From 1962 feeder trains ran from West Berlin ( Bf Zoo ), later through coaches . The meridian operated between Belgrade and Malmö until the end of the 1970s . After the Meridian only ran between Berlin and Belgrade, it was replaced by a pair of seasonal Csardas trains from and to Budapest. At times the Berlinaren train operated as a high-speed multiple unit ( DR class 175 ). Until the political change in the GDR, the trains were mainly used by Scandinavians, West Berliners and diplomats.

At the end of the 1960s there were plans to leave the ferries on the GDR side instead of from Saßnitz from a new port Mövenort on the north side of the island of Rügen with a ferry station Rügen Nord . The ferry time from Rügen to Trelleborg would have been reduced by an hour. This project was not carried out.

Since 1998, the ferries no longer operate from the old ferry terminal in the city port, but from the new Sassnitz ferry port in Mukran a little further south. Passenger traffic with railroad cars was reduced more and more. The last day trains ran on June 9, 2001, when the 2000/2001 winter timetable ended. Today the couchette carriages of the seasonally operated train pair Berlin-Night-Express Malmö-Berlin, operated by the private transport company Georg Verkehrsorganisation und Transdev GmbH , are only transported sporadically .

In mid-June 2014, freight transport with railcars to and from Sassnitz was discontinued and relocated to the Rostock – Trelleborg line. After there had been up to two departures per direction and day for a long time, the line was no longer served daily from September 18, 2018.

On March 14, 2020, ferry traffic on this route was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic . On April 8, 2020, Stena Line announced that the connection would be permanently abandoned.

From mid-September 2020, the Förde Reederei Seetouristik wants to offer a new ferry connection to Sweden under the name FRS Königslinjen . However, this should not lead on the classic route of the royal line from Sassnitz to Trelleborg, but to Ystad in Sweden . For this purpose, FRS wants to take over the 26-meter-wide Fjord Cat catamaran from the Norwegian shipping company Fjord Line , which is being replaced by a new building. The travel time on the route would be reduced to 2½ hours. This means that two departures per port can be offered every day. This should take place from spring 2021, so that day trips will also be possible.


The royal line was first operated by the respective state railways of Sweden and Germany or the GDR. In 1991 operations on the Swedish side were transferred to SweFerry AB . On the German side, the ferry business of the Deutsche Reichsbahn was transferred to the Deutsche Fährgesellschaft Ostsee (DFO) in 1994 , which was merged with the German-Danish shipping company Scandlines in 1998 .

Stena Line took over SweFerry in 2000and foundedthe Swedish Scandlines AB for joint ferry services with Scandlines . This means that all ships operated under the uniform Scandlines look , even though they belonged to different companies.

In 2012 Scandlines sold its stake in the Königslinie to Stena Line , which became the sole operator of the Königslinie. The ships were then also painted by Stena Line .


Sassnitz ferry (1959)
Trelleborg ferry (2011)
Sassnitz ferry (2013)

The ferries of the Königslinie have developed strongly in the more than 100 years of operation of the Königslinie. The first five ferries were powered by steam engines; Diesel engines were only used after the Second World War . The first four ships had two tracks with a total length of up to 165 m. The Starke was the first ship with three tracks (230 m), the Trelleborg (1958) had four tracks (403 m) for the first time and the Götaland , built in 1973, was the first ship with five tracks and over 500 meters of track length. The first ferries only had a deck for rail vehicles, which was later also used for road vehicles. It was not until 1958 that the Trelleborg received its own car deck. In the 1970s, ferries were also used, which were primarily designed for freight transport.

The following ferries were regularly used on the royal line:

Special postage stamps

Overprint with interior decorative field on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Sassnitz – Trelleborg railway ferry connection; Postage stamps of the Deutsche Post, ( 1979 );
left : Rostock railway ferry , middle : course of the line and right :
Rügen railway ferry

For the seventieth anniversary of the Saßnitz – Trelleborg rail ferry connection, in 1979 the Deutsche Post issued a composite print with a decorative field in between.

“100 Years of Railway Ferry Sassnitz – Trelleborg”, special postage stamp from 2009

In 2009, Deutsche Post AG issued a special postage stamp on the first day of issue on July 2, 2009 to mark the 100-year-old ferry service . The stamp with a value of 145 cents is based on a design by Jochen Bertholdt from Rostock and shows a view of the Sassnitz ferry systems in the 1920s. Two special postmarks from the Berlin and Bonn stamp offices were intended for the first day of issue. In addition, on July 6th, 2009 at 7.45 a.m., the Sassnitz ferry ran from Mukran to Trelleborg , with a traditional stopover in the city port of Sassnitz.

Other ferry connections


  • Flume: 25 years of railway ferry connection Saßnitz – Trälleborg. In: Newspaper of the Association of Central European Railway Administrations, Volume 74, No. 27 (July 5, 1934), pp. 473–479.
  • Peter Goette et al. a .: The railway on Rügen. Eisenbahn-Kurier Special, Vol. 89, EK-Verlag, Freiburg 2008, DNB 990769046 .
  • Gert Uwe Detlefsen: The ships of the railways. Urbes, Hamburg 1996, ISBN 3-924896-30-5 .
  • Wolfgang Kramer, Horst-Dieter Foerster, Reinhard Kramer: The ships of the royal line. Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 1981, ISBN 3-7688-0360-0 .
  • Reinhard Kramer, Wolfgang Kramer, Horst-Dieter Foerster: Between yesterday and tomorrow: the Sassnitz – Trelleborg ferry connection. Redieck & Schade, Rostock 2009, ISBN 978-3-934116-82-5 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Usedom Island - the Freia side paddle steamer ( Memento from May 14, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Braeunlich ships on their way to Scandinavia ( Memento from November 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  3. When the GDR wanted to sacrifice Rügen for armament. in: Hamburger Abendblatt , July 26, 2018, p. 10.
  4. ^ Günter Meyer, Rudi Dobbert: The project 3700. On the prehistory of the Mukran ferry port on Rügen. In: Verkehrsgeschichtliche Blätter , issue 6/2012, pp. 167/168
  5. ^ Stena Line relocates rail traffic from Sassnitz to Rostock , Focus, April 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Sassnitz – Trelleborg timetable , Stena Line.
  7. Stena Line plans to close the Sassnitz – Trelleborg route , media release from Stena Line on the discontinuation of the line, April 8, 2020.
  8. Eckhard-Herbert Arndt: “King's Line” threatens · Covid-19 consequences also hit this ferry axis · Stena group before radical cure. In: Daily port report of April 9, 2020, p. 1
  9. FRS Königslinjen ,, accessed on July 21, 2020.
  10. Catamaran saves Rügen's “royal line” , Nordkurier, June 26, 2020, accessed on July 10, 2020
  11. FRS takes over the royal line . In: Schiff & Hafen , issue 8/2020, p. 43.
  12. "King's Line": ferry away. April 28, 2020, accessed April 29, 2020 .
  13. Rostock – Trelleborg Stena Line, accessed on April 28, 2020