Line (traffic)

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A line in transport is the connection of several geographical locations that is regularly served by public transport such as railways , trams , trolleybuses , omnibuses , cable cars , ships or aircraft as part of the transport of people and / or goods. This usually happens several times a day or on certain days of operation. The introduction of a regular timetable is becoming increasingly popular . In a line network, the line represents the smallest visible to the passenger unit, each line connecting that at least two stops , in this case, final stops , turning stops or short terminals or turning points mentioned plus the so-called intermediate stops or the way stops .

A line should not be confused with a route, for example a railway line , which only represents the route and can be used by several lines or even by no line at all. Conversely, a line can travel on several routes. Two or more lines can also be combined and driven continuously, then a distinction must be made between a carriage or train run and the individual line. The train route - often referred to as the course in local transport - is the main administrative unit for the operator.

In Switzerland, the term line in the meaning of the French term la ligne de chemins de fer is also used synonymously for a railway line . In Austria z. B. used the names Pottendorfer line and suburb line . Before the era of private transport, the lines for buses in local public transport were called automobile lines .

Line course

A distinction is made depending on the course of the line in relation to the central location and the route network

Special line shapes are, for example, so-called tennis racket or loop lines , in which the line path opens up the target area at one or both ends of the line by means of a so-called house block loop .

Another special feature are feeder lines that only transport traffic to a specific destination (e.g. an airport) or back.

Bus routes, especially in rural areas, can have different routes at different times of the day in order to better connect to the areas that are particularly popular, such as schools, businesses or residential areas.

Split and join

A traffic line can be operationally divided, for example with regard to its endpoints, then different train groups of this line are differentiated accordingly . Regardless of this, trains on a railway line, especially multiple units , can be strengthened (adding units), weakened (removing units) or winged (divided) along the way. This creates different train routes on a line. If only individual cars have different destinations than the main part of a train, then it is through cars .

It is often also useful to connect two or more lines with one another. For example, a star-shaped city ​​bus network can consist of radial lines that all end in the city center. Two line branches can then be combined into a carriage run flexibly as required. In the case of railway lines, it can make sense to connect two similarly frequented lines, but to keep the familiar individual designations and possibly names (example: the regional trains " Ravensberger Bahn " and " Lipperländer " in North Rhine-Westphalia ). Even in evening or weekend traffic (when demand is low) several lines are merged, which often results in ring lines.

Line names

Halle an der Saale: the destination was specified (in front) and the route (to the side), but initially there was no line name

At the beginning of public transport, there were initially no clear line names. Only the respective destination or the two end stations and any important intermediate stations were indicated by means of signs. The signs were not changed everywhere, in some companies the actual destination was written on the front of the two-way vehicles that were common in the past , but the final stop in the opposite direction was written on the back.

In other cases there were several lines in one place, but these were operated by different companies, so that it was possible to distinguish the vehicles based on the exterior paintwork in the respective company colors. Or there were no route sections that were served by two lines at the same time, so that there was no direct risk of confusion. In still other cases, the lines clearly differed from each other by the type of traction such as steam tram , horse-drawn tram or electric tram.

The increasingly expanded line networks, however, generally made the introduction of fixed line names (or initially also symbols) necessary, even if in some cases only in-house and not written on the vehicle. Over the years, a wide variety of designation concepts emerged. Nevertheless, public transport lines still exist today without any line designation, mostly when a company only operates a single connection.

Single color identification

The oldest line markings include single-colored - mostly circular - line signals, for example a white , yellow , red , green , gray , blue , violet or brown line. The Neue Berliner Pferdebahn was one of the first tram companies to introduce such a system in 1878 when a second line was opened. From then on, the first route opened in the previous year was the white line and the new route was the green line . In Mainz , the steam tram was unofficially referred to as the black line based on the four colors of the electric tram . In contrast, Nuremberg also officially had a black line that was operated as a horse-drawn tram. One of the main drawbacks of this system is the limited number of possible colors, which makes it unsuitable for larger transport networks. However, it is possible to assign colors twice if there are lines that have no points of contact or at least do not use common stops. For example, in 1892 there were three white and three green lines on the Munich tram , but only one red, blue and yellow line each.

Also color discs or curve wheels said signals a distinction here in days signals from sheet metal with oil paint and night signals or night slices from colored glass . The latter ensured that the lines could be recognized even in the dark and were also referred to as signal lanterns or signal lamps .

The principle of single-color line marking is used in a modern way, for example in the Lisbon metro (blue, yellow, green and red), in the La Paz cable car network (red, yellow, green etc.), in the Sheffield Supertram (blue, yellow and purple), on the Dublin tram (green and red), on the Tyne and Wear metro (yellow and green) or on the Chennai metro (blue and green).

Two-tone identification

Two-color line signal in Berlin

In order to be able to cover line networks with a two-digit or high single-digit number of lines, two-color symbols became established in larger cities soon after the introduction of line colors. This multiplied the display options. The signal discs were mostly divided in half - with vertical, horizontal and diagonal divisions. Another popular shape were vertical, horizontal and diagonal bars that contrasted with the background color of the signal disc. In Berlin, for example, in addition to the monochrome signals that were still used, the following combinations of two colors could be found:

New Berlin horse tram :

Signal board white-yellow Signal board red and white Signal board green-red Signal board white-green Signal board white-green line Signal board white-blue line Signal board yellow-red line

Berlin trams :

Signal board red-white hor.svg Signal board green-white hor.svg Signal board blue-white hor.svg

Southern Berlin suburban railway :

Signal board white-blue Signal board red and white line

Typical for certain color combinations were nicknames such as parrot line for a line with a red-green signal color or spinach with egg for a green-yellow line.

Geometric symbols

In addition to or as an alternative to the one- and two-color line signals, large networks in particular often use colored geometric symbols such as bars, crosses, circles, semicircles, quarter circles, triangles, squares, diamonds or stars. With their help, significantly more lines could be distinguished. Another common variant was the so-called quarter division similar to a pie chart , that is, two dark and two light areas that meet in the middle. In Leipzig, for example, the line to Markkleeberg marked with a white star was popularly known as the Star Railway , and the restaurant "To the White Star" - in front of which the terminal was located - is reminiscent of the earlier line symbol.

Such a geometric system was introduced for the Vienna tram as early as 1874. The symbols were later also known there as hieroglyphic signals . With their help, illiterate people in particular should be able to distinguish between the various routes. Furthermore, as the capital of the multi-ethnic state Austria-Hungary , Vienna had a considerable number of inhabitants from the crown lands who did not speak the German language.

Roman numerals

Line I of the Berlin Ostbahnen

Some establishments again decided to use Roman numerals to distinguish their lines. In most cases, these were smaller networks with a single-digit number of lines. These included the Görlitz tram from 1890 to 1906, the horse-drawn bus network in Freiburg im Breisgau from 1893 to 1901, the Bern tram from 1894 to 1912, the Timișoara tram in Romania from 1899 to 1925, the Munich tram from 1900 to 1905, and the southern Berlin suburban railway from 1902 and 1922, the Oradea tram , the Krefeld tram and the Worms tram from 1906, and the Berlin Ostbahnen between 1913 and 1921. Almost all of the companies mentioned used the Roman numerals only in-house, only the Berlin Ostbahnen and the southern Berlin suburban railway indicated officially their carriages this way too. In Bremerhaven , the two trolleybus lines also carried Roman numerals from 1949, in contrast to the tram lines with Arabic numerals and the omnibus lines with letters. In Vienna , between 1924 and 1949, the three inner city bus routes were also referred to as lines I, II and III.

Arabic numbers

The former 2405 rail bus

Numbering with Arabic numbers has become the most popular in the world . The Hamburg tram was the first in German-speaking countries to introduce such Arabic line numbers in the summer of 1900, Leipzig followed on December 17 of the same year, Berlin 1902. As a rule, the numbering is from 1 in ascending order. However, especially after network restructuring or line adjustments, there are also gaps that are often only filled again after years.

Urban lines usually have short one or two-digit line numbers, in large cities and within transport associations also three- digit numbers . Overland or regional buses often have three or four-digit line numbers, the earlier post and train buses in Germany had a four-digit number system that also corresponded to the table numbers in the nationwide train bus timetable .

The line number often also contains in-house information; it is not uncommon for 1 to designate the most important and / or oldest line in a network. In other cases, the assignments are geographical or regional. In the Stuttgart Transport and Tariff Association (VVS), for example, the city of Stuttgart has the numbers below 100, the Esslingen am Neckar region the 100 numbers, the Waiblingen region the 200 numbers, the Backnang region the 300 numbers, the Ludwigsburg region the 400 numbers The Bietigheim-Bissingen region is assigned the 500 numbers, the Leonberg region the 600 numbers and the Böblingen region the 700 numbers.

In the Budapest tram, there were two competing companies until 1923. The BKVT used odd line numbers (1 to 77), while the BVVV used even numbers (2 to 50). The same applies to the Dresden tram , where, after the city of Dresden bought it in 1906, the lines of the former German tram company in Dresden were assigned even line numbers and those of the former Dresden tram company were assigned odd line numbers.

A special feature were the line names of the regional lines for bus traffic in Erfurt , which were based on the departure platforms of the central bus station from the 1960s . For example, lines 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d and 1e all leave from platform 1, lines 2a, 2b, 2c and 2d from platform 2, etc.

Line signal 0

The former museum line 0 in the Upper Silesian industrial area

The line signal is relatively seldom zero . It can be found on the Belgian Kusttram , for example , although it is not written on the vehicles there because the company only offers one connection and there is therefore no risk of confusion. Also exists in Polish Toruń 0. a bus line addition, or was zero in the Silesian Interurbans (until 2014), in the tram Krakow , in the tram poses , in the tram Szczecin and the tram St. Petersburg temporarily ( in summer 2006) each used for a historical museum line. In Poznan and Szczecin there are also ring lines , that is, the shape of the number 0 is based on the route. For the tram in Frankfurt am Main , too , the former line 0 was a special city ​​tour line with music and apple wine serving as well as a special rate. It operated from 1938 to 1942 and is considered to be the forerunner of today's Ebbelwei Express . In 1956, the Debrecen tram also temporarily operated a construction site shuttle line with the number 0.On the Melbourne tram , the touristic City Circle tram operated under the line designation 00 until 2003, then as line 35.

In addition, there are or existed in Breslau (since 1948), Innsbruck (1923–1924) and Miskolc (1970–2015) but also regular ring lines with the line designation 0. In the Upper Silesian industrial area there has also been a regular line with this number since 2014, but none Ring line is.

As a special feature, the St. Petersburg public transport company Gorelektrotrans and the Kassel tram mark courses entering or leaving the depot with the line signal 0, while the Hiroshima tram is used for business trips without passengers.

Line D is one of only two letter lines left on the Vienna tram

Letters systematically

Letters are an alternative to the use of numbers ; the names are usually named in ascending order from A. Line letters are, however, much less common than line numbers, the main reason for this being the limited number of possible lines. If the transport company wants to do without letter combinations or special characters, only 26 possible characters are available for the Latin alphabet , for example . That is why letters and numbers are occasionally combined with one another, as is the case with the Vienna tram. The Lille tram, for example, already operated lines A, B, C, D and E when it opened in 1874. The Bremerhaven transport company named its bus routes with letters from A to U (with gaps); starting in 1961, line numbers were gradually changed over.

Encoded letters

Letter lines in Linz until 1974: Line E to Ebelsberg

The line letters are also occasionally coded. In these systems, the respective letter often corresponds to the first letter of one of the two line endpoints. For example, the former line A of the Munich S-Bahn operated on the route to Altomünster and in Düsseldorf the names D-Bahn are for the route of the former line D to Duisburg and K-Bahn for the route of the former line K to Krefeld to this day common. Coded line letters were in use on the Linz tram until 1974 , e.g. B. took line B to the train station, line E to Ebelsberg, line M through Mozartstrasse; later it was changed to number designations.

Because the number of possible letters is further restricted by the coding, many transport companies have resorted to additional distinguishing features. For example, on the Leipzig tram, there was a line G that was marked with white letters on a green background (Gohlis – Rennbahn / Pestalozzistraße) and a line G with green letters on a white background (Gohlis – Bayerischer Bahnhof). Or the second letter of the destination was also given, as was previously the case with the Stuttgart city bus routes Ga to Gablenberg , Ho to Hoffeld , Ki to Killesberg and Pf to Pfaffenwald .

Alternatively, the transport company indicates the route with the code letter. For example, in the Basel tram-omnibus system established in 1881, the two main lines that both connected the Centralbahnhof with the Badischer Bahnhof were designated with letters from the start. Line F ran through F reie Straße and line G through G erbergasse. In exceptional cases, both start and finish are integrated into the line designation. At END Verkehrsgesellschaft, for example, the ED line used to run from E sslingen to D enkenborf, while the EN line ran from E sslingen to N euhausen.

Regionalverkehr Bern – Solothurn (RBS) used a mixture between the above-mentioned codes . Between 1974 and 2004, the company used line letters for all train and bus routes in its network. In the case of the bus lines, the connection point with the railway network was partially chosen as the line identification, in the case of line G, instead of the common endpoint with line W, the intermediate destination Gümligen was used for the line coding. The local bus line in Schönbühl was also referred to as SCH, as the line letter S was already used on the Bern – Solothurn railway line. Several of the bus lines also had several numbered branches. For example, the lines B1, B2, B3 and B4 from Bolligen with different endpoints existed at times . In addition, short-term vehicles were shown on the respective lines with crossed line letters and the express trains on line S ran with the line designation SE.

The TXL line of the Berlin transport company to Tegel Airport is a specialty ; its name corresponds to the Tegel IATA airport code .

In addition, the Pilsen tram marks courses moving into the depot with the line signal X instead of the regular line number.

1898: Line designation Rundbahn in Stuttgart

Route-dependent names

Elsewhere, the lines are given geographic names. In Stuttgart, for example, in the early days of the tram there was a cannon route line , a zoo line , a cross line and a north-west tram .

In the present, this principle can still be found in the London Underground, for example . It has eleven individual line group names: Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, District, Circle, Northern, Waterloo & City, Central, Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee.

Prefixes and suffixes


The diverted trolleybus line x5 in Brno

Typically, in German-speaking countries, night lines are identified with the prefix or suffix "N", S-Bahn lines with the prefix "S", U-Bahn lines with an "U", regional rail lines with an "R", "RB" or "RE" (see below), ferries with an "F", a taxi line with a T and call collective taxis with the abbreviation "AST". An "M" is sometimes used for Metrobus lines and an "S" or "X" is used for express or express lines.

Trolleybus lines used to be partially prefixed with an "O". Elsewhere - in Berlin, for example - there were bus routes preceded by an A. On the Potsdam tram , the "A" stood for excursion route. In Vienna most of the bus routes have the suffix “A” or “B” to distinguish them from the tram lines. The line designations also serve to represent the quality of the offer. A regional express line (RE) differs qualitatively from a regional train line (RB).

In the Czech town of Brno , diverted lines are marked with an additional x in front of the line number in order to make passengers aware of the deviating route.

Special signal E

A special feature is the line signal E, often in white letters on a red background or red letters on a white background. This means that special trips without a line number are marked in German-speaking countries. E stands for insert, engagement, deployment, insertion, insertion, drawing-in, relief, replacement, extra trip or car. E-cars are usually used for planning purposes and are therefore not in the timetable, among other things because even regular extra trips can be omitted at any time. Also rail replacement services or express bus are often marked with the signal e.

In the case of use as a preceding or following "E" with a line number, it is usually a commuter traffic reinforcement line or emergency line that uses part of the respective main line.

A so-called deleted line on the Belgian coastal tram

Dashed lines

A special feature is represented by so-called dashed lines. Here, the actual line number is crossed out with a diagonal bar to draw attention to a deviating line, a reinforcement line or other operational features. Alternatively, the line number is preceded or followed by a slash . An alternative to this is a diagonally crossed target sign.

Naples: a trolleybus on the former 254 red trolleybus in April 1999

Red line numbers

Another variant of showing slightly different routes, short tours or opposite directions of ring lines are red line numbers. In addition to the “black” trunk line, there is also a so-called “red” line with the same line number. However, this is indicated differently with red - instead of black - writing on a white background or, conversely, with white writing on a red - instead of black - background.

In contrast to this, the Leipzig tram marked its night lines at times with a green line number and the Krakow tram marked its All Saints' Day lines with a white line number on a blue background.

up lines

A train on line 3bis in Paris, the addition to is abbreviated with B.
A car of the former line 43bis in Łódź

In some cities it is customary to put the Latin multiplication number (multiplicative) at the end of the line number for up to two times on certain routes , whereby the addition is sometimes shown in superscript . In this way, the passenger is made aware that it is not the main line itself, but an additional second line with the same number but a different route. The marking bis can also be found on street numbers (for example on the French route nationale 5bis ), house numbers (e.g. for rear buildings added later ), legal texts or platform names. The Latin addition bis corresponds to the German suffix a . Accordingly, a line 1bis would be an additional line 1a to the regular line 1, which in turn has no addition as a main line. Examples of to lines are:

  • in France:
    • lines 3bis (since 1971) and 7bis (since 1967) of the Métro Paris
    • Line 1bis of Métro Lille , which existed from 1989 to 1994 , is now called Line 2
    • the former line 1bis of the Lille tram
    • the former bus line 1bis of the transport company Ritmo from Haguenau
    • the bus routes 38bis, 75bis, 76bis and 77bis of the CarSud transport company on Réunion
  • in Belgium:
    • the former overland tram line 258bis of Buurtspoorwegen van de provincie Antwerp
    • the former interurban tram line 307bis of Buurtspoorwegen van de provincie Henegouwen
    • the former regional tram line 370bis of the Buurtspoorwegen van de provincie Oost-Vlaanderen
    • the former overland tram line 460bis of Buurtspoorwegen van de provincie Luik
    • the former regional tram line 581bis of the Buurtspoorwegen van de provincie Limburg
    • the Cbis bus line operated by Transport en Commun
  • in Italy:
    • various lines of the Naples tram in the 1930s
    • the bus lines 1bis and 2bis of the transport company SACSrl from Bra

Double lines

A car of the former Vienna double line 31/5
Signet of the temporary Augsburg construction site line 13, which represented a combination of the regular lines 1 (identification color red) and 3 (identification color yellow)

If two lines are merged at certain times (for example in fringe hours) or temporarily (for example as a result of construction work), transport companies often set up so-called double lines , broken lines or combination (nation) lines . Both line signals are displayed, separated by a slash. This makes it easier for passengers who are looking for the usual line signal of their main line to find the right vehicle. In still other cases, double lines offer additional direct connections. For example, 31/5 combined the former line of the tram Vienna in the rush hours the terminal Gerasdorferstrasse on line 31 Josefstädterstraße with the terminal road at the line 5. A is another reason for the establishment of such lines, the surrounding smooth operation of two lines at a common served terminus. This saves the driver from having to replace the route boards or change signs.

Another variant of a double line is to join two line numbers together. For example, during the renovation of Königsplatz in 2012 and 2013, construction site lines 13 (instead of regular lines 1 and 3) and 64 (instead of regular lines 6 and 4) operated on the Augsburg tram .

On the Lucerne trolleybus , the double line 5/4 was temporarily shown from 1962 with the opening of the Breitenlachen – Hubelmatt branch, as the vehicles ran alternately on both branches of the line. At the time of opening, however, the wagons still had sheet metal panels inserted on the roof, which is why it was not possible to change the line number at the common terminus at the other end of the route. With the conversion of the corresponding trolleybuses to roll-up displays , this signage was no longer in regular operation. However, until the mid- 2000s , Lucerne diesel buses with scrolling displays still had a combined line display of the two double lines 4/5 and 6/8, whose branches were served alternately. The notice timetables were also summarized up to the discontinuation of line 5 or the extension of line 6 in the direction of the common terminus and had these double names.

Sector system

Between 1986 and 2003, the Salzburger Stadtwerke had a so-called sector system in which the urban area was subdivided accordingly. Line 51, for example, connected sector 5 with sector 1, line 29 corresponding to sector 2 with sector 9, line 77 connected sector 7 with the main station and lines with a “0” ended in the city center, but not at the Central station.

Direction-dependent designations

Occasionally it is or was customary to assign different line numbers to the two directions of travel of a relation. For example, in Bern between 1912 and 1947, line 1 ran from the cemetery to Brückfeld and line 2 from Brückfeld to the cemetery. In total there were up to ten lines in this way with only five relations. Similar systems existed in the city ​​bus in Osnabrück in the 1990s, in the former Lugano trolleybus and in the former Lausanne tram . In the latter operation, there were ten counters between the two directions of travel, so that at least the last digit was the same. For example, in 1938 the line pairs 1/11, 2/12, 3/13, 4/14, 6/16, 7/17, 8/18 and 9/19 operated.

With the S-Bahn Vienna , the names of the lines from 2005 to 2012 were also based on the destination of the train. For example, all trains going to Gänserndorf had the S1 line signal, while the trains departing there carried the S9 line signal, which indicated an end point in the course of the southern runway . Previously, this principle was already common between 1925 and 1978 on the Wiener Elektrische Stadtbahn , where the DG line ran from Hietzing to Meidling and the GD line from Meidling to Hietzing.

The main purpose of the line designation, which is dependent on the direction of travel, is to prevent unfamiliar passengers from entering the correct line at an unfamiliar stop, but entering the wrong direction. In addition to the examples mentioned, the principle is particularly applicable to ring lines. In this case it is avoided that the passenger takes an unnecessary detour over the longer part of the ring, because his destination can be reached more quickly in the opposite direction.

Circles and rhombuses

In its network, the New York City Subway differentiates between regular lines that stop everywhere (local) and accelerated lines that pass through certain stations (express). Both services are offered in parallel under certain line numbers, with the local trains being marked with a circle and the express trains with a diamond. With LED displays, the circles light up green and the diamonds light up red. Older cars like the “Redbird” shown in the photo had red “EXP” and green “LOCAL” lamps on the front.

Krakow: The dark number on a light background means that passengers can see that this line 1 train is being diverted

Negative and positive type

Another way of marking deviating line paths is the parallel use of line signals in negative or positive writing . In 1900 the Leipzig tram had a line G with white letters on a green background (Gohlis – Rennbahn / Pestalozzistraße) and a line G with green letters on a white background (Gohlis – Bayerischer Bahnhof). At that time, a similar classification also existed for line M. In addition, negative type was introduced for backlit line number and train destination displays during World War II due to the darkening . It turned out to be much easier to read, some local transport companies such as the Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe kept the advertisements with negative type until the target film equipment was replaced. Negative writing has largely prevailed in LED and segment displays. The Kraków tram uses its digital displays to show courses that cannot travel on their regular route in positive letters. In return, normal running cars are always indicated in negative.

Lowercase and uppercase letters

The National Railway Company of Belgium marked by 2014 their Interregio -lines with the lower case letters a to s (with gaps) while the Intercity -lines were provided by the capital letters A to Z (with gaps).

Line bundle

Bundled lines have the same final digit in some cities. In Aachen , for example, bus lines 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55 and 65 all run in the same direction from the city center, only to branch out in the suburbs. In Vienna, on the other hand, all S-Bahn lines on the main route have one-digit numbers, all others two-digit numbers.

Company code

In other cases, the line designation corresponds to the abbreviation of the respective transport company. Examples are WLB or STB , formerly AKN , ANB , EBO , A , BEB , F , GM , OEG and RHB .

Additional identification colors

In addition, each line or group of lines is often assigned a specific color code with which the respective line signal and sometimes the line destination are highlighted. This is to ensure a high recognition value without having to remember the official line designation. With the four amplifier lines of the Bielefeld Stadtbahn , the color code also varies according to the destination. For example, line 10 in the direction of Lohmannshof bears the identification color red because it reinforces line 4 on this branch, whose identification color is also red. However, if line 10 travels in the opposite direction to Stieghorst center, it will have the yellow color code of line 3 that goes there.

Vehicles in line color

A particularly distinctive form of the line identification color is to also individually design the exterior design of the vehicles used on the respective lines. However, this is only possible with a straight line application and affects the flexibility of the vehicle disposition. Examples for this are:

  • on the Montpellier tram , each of the four lines has its own design.
  • on the city bus in Tettnang and on the Metroshuttle in Manchester , the buses of the three lines are painted differently. In Tettnang these are the colors yellow, green and blue, in Manchester orange, green and purple.
  • On the local buses in Zermatt , at least the bumper is painted according to the two line colors red or green.
  • In Tokyo , the trains on the Yamanote Line are provided with light green stripes according to the line color.
  • In the La Paz cable car network , the gondolas of the various lines are painted accordingly.
Amsterdam: Line number with an additional geometric line symbol

Additional symbols

As an alternative to the additional identification colors, symbols are used for better identification. A well-known symbol is a stylized airplane for lines serving an airport .

At the Reutlinger Stadtverkehrsgesellschaft , however, each line number is supplemented by an additional symbol, in particular to make it easier for disabled passengers to find their way around. On the journey into town, all lines show the central Tübinger Tor as an addition, while out of town an individual symbol is used. For example, line 4/11 to the stadium at the Kreuzeiche is marked with a soccer ball. In Berlin, special excursion bus routes used to be marked with a triangle . In Vienna, unscheduled additional trips are marked with the so-called zebra signal, a black and white striped pin board behind the windshield. The last course of a line used to be shown with a blue additional signal.

The Amsterdam tram continues to use colored-geometric line signals, the so-called lijnkleuren, in addition to the line number . These were also transferred to the Amsterdam subway lines, which also have simple line identification colors.

The Stadtwerke Giessen turn identify those rides her bus route 1, through the street Heide lead, with an additional triangle next to the line number. In contrast, those courses that do not pass through the street mentioned do not show a triangle.

Additional route-dependent designations

A trolleybus in Seattle with route names on the line display (left) and a separate display for the destination (right)

In San Francisco , all bus and trolleybus routes have a route number as well as a route name based on the streets traveled on. The vehicles and stops of the San Francisco Cable Cars do not have their official route numbers 59, 60 and 61; instead, only the route name is displayed. Similar systems exist or existed in other North American cities such as Seattle, New York City and Detroit . In the latter location, no line numbers were shown on the vehicles until the 1960s. The Moscow metro also has route names: its twelve lines 1–12 are also referred to with line names such as Sokolnitscheskaja or Samoskworezkaja .

Planet names

In Gießen , Freiburg im Breisgau and Reutlingen the night bus lines have planet names.

Outline of the networks

The railway and bus network are divided into local and long-distance transport networks ( public transport and long-distance public transport, but in reality the boundaries are sometimes blurred). The local transport network is made up of regional networks as well as city, local and community networks.

The railway network consists of ( list of trains and types of trains )

In addition to the city lines, there is also the inner-city rapid transit and tram network (subway, light rail , tram, etc.).

The bus network consists of

Line and network optimization

The lines of a transport network can be in terms of

  • the most economical operation possible or
  • The greatest possible attractiveness and possible uses for passengers are optimized.

In rural areas today, the focus is on ensuring a minimum mobility for parts of the population without a vehicle (people who cannot, not yet or no longer can, want or are allowed to drive a car - e.g. children, the elderly, the disabled). The existing passenger potential is not fully used. The spiral of drop in passenger numbers, shortened services and further passenger losses - the slow death of services - becomes possible.

With long-distance lines, attractive means fast . Accordingly, fast routes are used and only a few stops are served - large distances between stops. The principle of first “collecting” passengers at several locations and only then using the express service is rarely used. These advantages are used when a long-distance train travels in advance as a regional train (usually only viewed as a makeshift solution) or on international long-distance bus routes . The separation between long-distance and local traffic runs counter to this.

In the regional and urban areas, the usage options can be improved by meaningfully linking several short lines. Transfer connections require information about connection times and generate fears of loss of connection.

The conversion of the express trains to the Regional Express has led to the merging of lines - this has resulted in attractive train routes with several hours of travel time. Regional bus lines can also be qualified and combined into longer main lines. Short lines only from one place to the next are specially adapted offers, for example for school transport, the general usability is limited. Regionalization (responsibility of districts and municipalities for bus transport) promotes the development of short lines.

The capacity of a line can be adapted to demand: it can be strengthened or weakened both on each individual journey and at certain times of the day, for example in order to offer more capacity on parts of the route or the entire route during rush hour . Additional train parts are usually used for this. Some transport companies also use bus trailers (especially in Switzerland, with a special permit also in Germany).

The line or network optimization deals with

  • the route (length, choice of routes - according to demand and with regard to the possible speed)
  • the stops (location, distances, transfer routes)
  • the total travel time (connection waiting times, punctuality)
  • the circulation formation
  • the transfer options (connections) between lines

The individual transport companies are not free to optimize the network, as the lines are licensed by a licensing authority, which includes an obligation to operate regularly and the (previously exclusive) right to service the stops on the lines. In addition, there are municipal and regional links (e.g. special-purpose associations , transport associations ) and political guidelines, for example through regional local transport plans .


The cities of Siegen and Netphen claim to be the places with the first motorized bus line in the world, which was put into operation by the Netphen bus company on March 18, 1895. Omnibus meant for everyone . From this time on, buses and coaches competed with horse-drawn buses .


The longest bus route in the world, with a length of 6,200 km, runs from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Lima in Peru and was put into operation in January 2016.

Web links

Wiktionary: Verkehrslinie  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Duden | Line | Spelling, meaning, definition, synonyms, origin. Retrieved December 26, 2017 .
  2. Art. 17 of the Railway Ordinance (EBV) of November 23, 1983 (as of October 18, 2016) reads: “Railway lines must be laid out for a balanced speed. … ”Or in the French version :“ Le tracé des lignes de chemins de fer sera choisi de manière à permettre une vitesse de marche régulière. ... "
  3. For example, in its edition of September 20, 1908 , the Wiener Zeitung, the tourist newspaper, speaks of “State Automobile Lines in the Ore Mountains”, which the district governments were responsible for providing.
  4. ^ Hans-Joachim Pohl: The new Berlin horse-drawn railway company. The traffic development of Weißensee and Lichtenberg (part 1) . In: Verkehrsgeschichtliche Blätter . Issue 1, 1986, pp. 2-11 .
  5. Martin Pabst: The Munich Tram. Bavaria's metropolis and its tram (=  tram magazine, library ). GeraMond, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-932785-05-3 , pp. 13 .
  6. Heiner Jung: The introduction of the line numbers for the tram in Berlin on
  7. "Zwirnsrolle" and "Sternbahn" at
  9. ^ The line system of the Viennese tram on
  10. Chronicle of the Görlitzer tram lines on ( Memento of the original from November 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. 60 de ani de la înființarea tramvaiului în Timișoara, monograph 1869–1929 . Timișoara 1929.
  12. The Worms tram on
  13. ^ Heinz Jung: The introduction of the line numbers for the tram in Berlin . In: Berliner Verkehrsblätter . Volume 5, 1962, pp. 38-39 .
  14. ^ Wolfgang Kramer, Siegfried Münzinger: The company for the construction of underground railways GmbH - Berliner Ostbahnen . In: Berliner Verkehrsblätter . Issue 8, 1962, pp. 63-65 .
  15. Paul Homann: Bremerhaven's route networks (ÖPNV) from 1881. (PDF; 2.5 MB) p. 32, e.g. B. Bookmark July 1 , 1956 , accessed December 22, 2019 .
  16. Chronicle of the Hamburg tram. Norddeutscher Rundfunk , accessed on March 1, 2013 .
  19. KVG overview of the tram cars in use and in use on
  20. Paul Homann: Bremerhaven's route networks (ÖPNV) from 1881. (PDF; 2.1 MB) p. 34, bookmarks 04.01.1960 and 04.01.1961 , accessed on July 27, 2017 .
  21. RBS network plan 1997
  22. 50 years of RBS bus operation on
  23. Netz 2011 - Interesting facts from the history of the line ( Memento of the original from January 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. Roboty torowe - zmiany w komunikacji on, accessed on January 9, 2018
  26. Stachus construction site: Return of the broken line on, accessed on June 8, 2016
  27. Sandro Flückiger, Roman Zai: 1941-2016: 75 Years of Trolleybus in Lucerne , vbl-historic 2016, pp. 26–29
  29. History of the Tettnang City Bus at, accessed on March 5, 2016
  30. Metroshuttle ( Memento of the original dated November 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at (English) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  31. Reutlingen orientation system for increased mobility
  32. Triangle lines in Berlin bus traffic
  33. Everything about the Amsterdam lijnkleuren
  34. Description of the Giessen bus route 1 ( Memento of the original from February 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at, accessed on February 22, 2016 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  35. Hill by hill in the trolleybus. In: ÖV Panorama No. 5, autumn 2013, pp. 22–27, ISSN  2296-4797
  36. Routes & Stops (English) on, official overview of the lines in San Francisco
  38. ^ Dpa: Rio - Lima: longest bus line in the world started. In: Abendzeitung , January 31, 2016 ( online , accessed November 4, 2016)