Olef Valley Railway

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Kall – Hellenthal
Route of the Oleftalbahn
Course of the Oleftalbahn
Route number : 2635
Route length: 17.8 km
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Route class : CE
Route - straight ahead
Eifel route from Trier
Station, station
0.0 Call
Eifel route to Cologne
0.4 Owner limit, DB Netz - RSE
2 Kall-Anstois-Mastert (from 1953)
5 Gemünd-Mauel (1953-81)
Stop, stop
5.9 Gemünd (previously Bf, Ladestrasse)
Gemünder Tunnel (130 m)
8th Gemünd-Nierfeld (1953-81)
Stop, stop
9.0 Olefin
Railroad Crossing
Passage through Olef
10.3 Schleiden-Höddelbusch (formerly tank loading)
11.7 Schleiden Town Hall (2006/07, dismantled)
Station, station
12.0 Schleiden (Eifel)
13 Schleiden-Wiesgen
Stop, stop
14th Oberhausen (Eifel)
Station, station
15.6 Blumenthal (Eifel)
End station - end of the line
17.8 Hellenthal

The Oleftalbahn (short: OTB, also Flitsch ) is a 17.8 km long, single-track and non-electrified branch line from Kall through the Schleiden Valley via Schleiden to Hellenthal . The route is currently only used by tourist museum railroad traffic in the summer months and occasional freight traffic. There are efforts to reactivate the passenger traffic , which was discontinued in 1981 .


Construction of the Oleftalbahn began in March 1881 after the route had become part of the Railway Act at the beginning of 1881. After exactly three years of construction, the line from Kall through the Schleiden Valley to Hellenthal was opened on March 8, 1884, at that time as the Secundairbahn Call = Hellenthal . The reason for its construction was mainly local needs, as the Schleiden Valley was at that time very industrial and economic (iron smelting and mining), the railway was therefore necessary to bring in hard coal and to connect the ore mines and smelting works. Initially, the route was primarily of importance for freight traffic; 19 companies had a siding and were able to bring in raw materials as well as transport their products by rail.

During the construction of the Urfttalsperre , which at that time was the largest dam in Europe, all building materials were first brought to Gemünd on the Oleftalbahn and then transported to the construction site of the dam on an approximately 13-kilometer narrow-gauge material train.

Due to its location near the border and the proximity to the front from the Ardennes offensive , the Oleftalbahn was badly damaged in 1945, especially stations, bridges and the Gemünder tunnel. It was not until 1948 that the line could be put back into operation. In the years 1949 to 1951 the train stations in Kall, Gemünd, Schleiden (Eifel) and Blumenthal (Eifel) received new station buildings .

In the 1950s and 1960s, passenger transport in particular became very important again.In the 1960s, ten pairs of trains drove in each direction every day, and in 1953 new stopping points were set up in Anstois, Mauel and Nierfeld . While the stops in Mauel and Nierfeld were served until 1981, the rather remote Hp Anstois was given up again before 1981.

Gemünd (freight) station two months after passenger traffic ceased; in the background the reception building, the platform and (directly in front of the tunnel) the exit signal towards Hellenthal

On May 30, 1981, despite strong protests by the population, who tried, among other things, to prevent the last train from continuing on the village square of Olef , the regular passenger service of the former German Federal Railroad stopped. Until May 28, 1994 there was regular freight traffic to Hellenthal , after that only military traffic to Schleiden-Höddelbusch to the tank loading ramp . The no longer used section Höddelbusch – Schleiden Bf took over in 1999 the RSE . The transport of tanks ended in 2002. The Belgian military training area Vogelsang was given up on January 1, 2006.

In 2006, the section between the temporary Schleiden Rathaus stop and Schleiden train station was paved as part of a road construction project on Bundesstraße 258 (bridge renewal) and converted into a temporary road. This road was dismantled at the end of 2007 and the signal systems were put back into operation in November 2008. This enabled Schleiden station to be serviced again, and the Schleiden Rathaus makeshift stop was abandoned and dismantled.

Since November 1st, 2008 the RSE has been the railway infrastructure company for the route between Kall and Schleiden-Oberhausen (km 0.449 – km 15.005). The line between Schleiden and Oberhausen was reopened on October 22, 2008. The remaining 3.2 km between Oberhausen and Hellenthal were closed from 1997 to 2008. On December 11, 2008, the RSE also took over the remaining stretch between Oberhausen and Hellenthal , which has been back to Blumenthal since August 30, 2009. On August 1, 2010, the last section from Blumenthal to Hellenthal was put back into operation. The route is used by excursion / museum trains on all Sundays and public holidays from Pentecost to November 1st (All Saints' Day).

Efforts to resume local rail transport

In 1995 the local rail initiative Bahn- und Businitiative Schleidener Tal e. V. (BuBI) , which is trying to resume local rail passenger transport in the Schleiden Valley. In 1998, the reactivation of the Oleftalbahn was included in the public transport requirement plan of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as a model project in rural areas with the highest priority, in 1999 the district council decided on an operating and financing concept and in 2000 the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (VRS) reported the route project to the state so that it was included in the first stage of the expansion plan.

After the state parliament decided in 2001 a fundamental reassessment of all rail projects as part of the so-called integrated overall traffic planning IGVP , reactivation was on hold. At the instigation of the then State Transport Minister Oliver Wittke , the route was removed from the state's public transport requirement plan in 2006 against all objections.

Monument protection / special features

In 2007, at the request of the Rhenish Office for the Preservation of Monuments , the District President Hans Peter Lindlar campaigned for the Olef Valley Railway to be protected because of its outstanding importance. This was contrary to the plans of the chief street planner of the Euskirchen district, Franz Unterstetter, and those of the communities of Kall and Hellenthal. The local passage in Olef, where the train drives across the village square, is unique in Germany, apart from the passage of the Molli bathing railway through the center of Bad Doberan in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania . At the beginning of 2011, the Cologne district government followed an application from the Rhenish Office for the Preservation of Monuments and placed the Oleftalbahn as a listed building under monument protection. The main reasons for monument protection are the track systems, the station buildings in Kall and Blumenthal, the Gemünder Tunnel, the Olef through-town, the Höddelbusch tank loading facility and the signal box in Kall. In addition to the Oleftalbahn, only the Wiehl Valley Railway is under monument protection in the Cologne administrative district , so the protection of a railway line that is still used is remarkable.

Blocking 2018

The line was closed on April 27, 2018 because a retaining wall was built too close to the track during road construction work in Kall Anstois. In May, an exemption was granted for a limited period until the end of August 2018 to drive on the relevant section at walking pace after stopping in front of the bottleneck. At the end of 2018, the retaining wall was set back again so that the standard clear space profile is maintained again.

Historical data

date event
March 1881 Start of construction of the Oleftalbahn
March 8, 1884 Route opening as "Secundairbahn Call = Hellenthal"
1945 Partial destruction of the route during the war
1948 Recommissioning
1949-1951 New construction of the reception building in Kall, Gemünd, Schleiden and Blumenthal
1953 New stopping points in Anstois, Mauel and Nierfeld
May 18, 1981 Suspension of passenger traffic
1994 Suspension of freight traffic (except for transporting tanks)
5th December 1997 Closure of the Schleiden-Höddelbusch - Hellenthal section
Summer vacation 1998 and 1999 DB Bahnours steam locomotive program on weekends to Schleiden Bf
July 27, 1999 Resumption of the Schleiden-Höddelbusch - Schleiden line by RSE (lessee)
May 30, 2004 to October 16, 2005 Seasonal local rail transport Kall - Gemünd (- Schleiden, from 2005) on Sundays and public holidays
2006 Beginning of the museum tourist traffic Kall - Schleiden , Sundays and public holidays
November 1, 2008 RSE leases the Kall - Schleiden - Oberhausen route from DB Netz , has a 50-year operating license
December 11, 2008 50-year operating license (RSE) for the further route from Oberhausen to Hellenthal
August 30, 2009 Reopening of the line to Blumenthal, 125 years of the Oleftalbahn
August 1, 2010 Continuous drivability to Hellenthal, resumption of timber freight traffic
2012 Monument protection

Route description

Kall station

Kall train station at night

The Oleftalbahn begins in Kall , where the route is connected to the Eifel route by means of a switch. The platform is on track 10. The track then leads directly past the reception building, which was extensively renovated in 2009 and now houses, among other things, an RVK customer center with an information point on the Eifel National Park. The building is a historical monument. Shortly after the entry signal lies the border between DB Netz AG and RSE. After crossing the village, the route initially runs through the Urft valley, initially right next to the country road, and from Anstois below the federal road 266.

Halts Anstois and Mauel

In Anstois there was a small demand stop at route km 2.0 from 1953, which was given up again before passenger traffic was discontinued. Most of the time the route leads directly along the Urft. In the Mauel industrial area, the route crosses nine smaller streets; from 1953 to 1981 there was also a Mauel demand stop at kilometer 5.0. The route now runs alongside the main road to the Gemünd stop.

Gemünd stop

Timber freight train on loading street Gemünd

Originally there was a train station in Gemünd with a total of three tracks, of which one siding was used for train encounters and one siding was used for general cargo handling. Today only the stopping point at kilometer 5.9 with the former reception building and a platform remains. The former station building now houses a small restaurant (platform 3). East of the platform is now, in the planum of an old siding, the Gemünd timber loading street used for freight traffic. Immediately after the Gemünd stop is the Gemünder Tunnel (130 m), in which the route makes a large curve into the Oleftal (radius 200 m).

At kilometer points 5.0 and 8.0, there were additional stopping points Mauel and Nierfeld from 1953. Both were given up with the cessation of passenger traffic in 1981. Today these are only transit points (also for the RSE).

Olef train station

Passage through Olef

The Oleftalbahn has a stop at kilometer 9.0 in the village of Olef . The route of the standard gauge railway across the village square is unique in Germany. Only in Bad Doberan is there something comparable with the passage of the narrow-gauge railway.

Höddelbusch loading ramp

Now it goes between rocks and the Olef along the main road that runs on the other side of the valley to Schleiden-Höddelbusch. There is a tank loading ramp with several shunting tracks at km 10.3, which until 2005 was used to transport the tanks to the military training area. Until 1997 there was regular freight traffic to Hellenthal, since then only military traffic to Schleiden-Höddelbusch, which was discontinued at the end of 2005. The Belgians gave up the Vogelsang military training area on January 1, 2006. The track systems (except for the main track) are now out of service and closed. The area on the Dreiborn plateau was converted into civil use with a documentation center and hiking area.

Schleiden Rathaus stop

2006/07 Uerdingen rail bus of the HWB (Hp Schleiden Rathaus)

Shortly after Höddelbusch follows the Schleiden Rathaus stop (km 11.7), which was only served from 2005 to 2007 , which at that time replaced the Schleiden (Eifel) train station and whose new platform has now been completely dismantled. After crossing the B 258, the route runs on a slope before reaching Schleiden (Eifel) train station .

Schleiden railway station (Eifel)

The Oleftalbahn, on which regular passenger traffic was discontinued in 1981 by the Deutsche Bundesbahn, runs through Schleiden . This Schleiden train station is located at kilometer point 12.0 and has two platform tracks with a central and an outer platform as well as a short siding with an old head ramp (loading ramp). Further side tracks were dismantled, only the branch points are left. The bus station, which was rebuilt in 2011, is located on the site of the former reception building. The bus station is at the same level as the outer platform of the Oleftalbahn.

Schleiden (Eifel) train station, the bus station on the right

Because of the Eifel National Park, which was newly established in 2004, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia supported tourism with a two-year program for passenger transport in the excursion season on Sundays and public holidays. Local rail passenger transport was organized by the Rhein-Sieg transport association and carried out by Rurtalbahn GmbH . Regular traffic ended on October 16, 2005 and has been privately operated since 2006. If the journeys ended in the Gemünd district in 2004, they continued to Schleiden Bf in 2005.

Oberhausen (Eifel) stop

After the line has become single-track again, it continues along the federal highway 265 . The Oberhausen (Eifel) stop is at kilometer 14.0 . It was reactivated in autumn 2010 and has been served by the RSE on weekends ever since. Oberhausen had a siding to the Kewo company. The stop consists of a green platform and a concrete waiting hall, where the route crosses the main road in a curve. Then the route runs again along the Olef and across wide meadows to Blumenthal.

Blumenthal stop (Eifel)

MAN rail bus of the Oleftalbahn in Blumenthal

Since the reactivation in autumn 2010, the Oleftalbahn travels through Blumenthal every Sunday on its way from Kall to Hellenthal. In Blumenthal (Eifel) a new platform was built at km 15.6, a little in front of the former station building. The old station building with goods shed is located in the direction of Hellenthal on the left side of the route, it was rebuilt in 1950/51, is a listed building and is now used as a residential building. The goods shed can no longer be approached since 1998 because the siding (track 1) from the direction of Hellenthal ends before it. Behind the station building, there are some parking / side tracks, on which the vehicles of the Oleftalbahn (Skl 53, rail bus) are parked. We continue through a more industrial area to Hellenthal.

Hellenthal train station

Hellenthal train station (street side)

The line was closed on the section between Schleiden and Hellenthal from 1997 to the end of July 2010. On December 11, 2008, Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn GmbH (RSE) received a fifty-year operating license from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for the section from Schleiden to the Hellenthal train station. The line was reactivated in autumn 2010.

The place Hellenthal is the terminus of the Oleftalbahn at the distance kilometer 17.2. The Hellenthal station today consists of a platform track with a new platform built in 2010, which borders the new bus station. There are also two other side tracks, whereby the middle one is no longer passable (broken tracks). Further storage and side tracks have been dismantled, there are only the old branch points (as in Schleiden). The reception building still exists and is now used as a beverage shop. The concrete base of the coal loading crane of the locomotive station has also been preserved.

Current traffic

passenger traffic

A class 24 steam locomotive arrives at Schleiden station on a special train

Because of the Eifel National Park , which was newly established in 2004 , the country initially supported tourism with a two-year local rail transport in the excursion season on Sundays and public holidays. While these journeys ended in Gemünd in 2004, they continued to Schleiden in 2005 . The traffic was organized by VRS and carried out by Rurtalbahn GmbH with a diesel multiple unit. On October 16, 2005, the regular excursion traffic was ended.

In 2006 this traffic was resumed by some of the friends of the Oleftalbahn working group. The HWB Verkehrsgesellschaft provided a Uerdingen rail bus for this purpose. The BuBI association has been operating these excursion services in cooperation with the RSE since 2008 , and a historic MAN railbus from the RSE has been in use ever since . The VT 9 is currently in use there.

The 829 bus runs parallel to the route every hour and also serves all train stops along the route.

Freight transport

Freight traffic (timber removal) was resumed by the Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn (RSE) in 2010 with the establishment of the Gemünd loading street in the direction of Hellenthal, just before the Gemünd stop ; the first train left Gemünd on June 23, 2010. Since then, wood has been loaded from trucks onto block trains of various private railways. In 2011 there were a total of four timber freight trains, in 2012 at least two.

Oleftalbahn working group

The Oleftalbahn working group (AK OTB) was founded on April 7, 2006 at an event in Kall, initially under the umbrella of the Schleidener Tal e. V. (BuBI). Its purpose was to continue the tourist traffic on the Oleftalbahn, which the state of North Rhine-Westphalia had only promoted in a two-year pilot operation until October 16, 2005. In addition, there was even a threat of the line operation being closed after the Kingdom of Belgium had given up military traffic to Schleiden-Höddelbusch on December 31, 2005.

On November 24, 2006, the BuBI and the AK OTB jointly decided to found a new railway association, which expanded its operational area to other branch lines in the Eifel. The BuBI, on the other hand, should remain limited to the Schleiden Valley. In addition to railroad tasks, she is also dedicated to general public transport tasks. Since the clubs essentially pursue common goals, the most extensive cooperation was agreed.

On February 10, 2007 the non-profit association Arbeitsgemeinschaft Eifel-Nebenbahnen was founded , which comprises the two working groups AK Oleftalbahn and IG Westeifelbahn. The association disbanded with the resolution of its general meeting on January 29, 2011 in Gerolstein, as some of its goals, such as seasonal traffic on the Oleftalbahn and the maintenance and restart of the Westeifelbahn (Gerolstein-Prüm) are secured by other people. A regular special train service on the Südeifelbahn (Bitburg-Erdorf-Bitburg-Stadt) could not be permanently established due to regional problems and a lack of financial support.

Since the tourist season on the Oleftalbahn is operated by the ArGe Eifelnebenbahnen e. V. (meanwhile dissolved) was not secured at the end of March 2008, the Schleidener Tal e. V. to take responsibility for this again. Since May 2008, the local association has been acting as the organizer in cooperation with the Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn Bonn GmbH.


  • Bernd Franco Hoffmann: Disused railway lines in the Rhineland. Sutton-Verlag, Erfurt 2014, ISBN 978-3-95400-396-9 .

Web links

Commons : Oleftalbahn  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Loading troops
  2. a b F.A. Heinen: Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn - A train to Hellenthal. on: KSTA.de , Kölner Stadtanzeiger, December 13, 2008.
  3. rail and Businitiative Schleidener Valley e. V. (BuBI): Opening trip Kall - Hellenthal on the Oleftalbahn Sunday August 1st 2010 with the historic MAN rail buses. (80.2 kB PDF) (No longer available online.) BuBI and Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn GmbH, July 23, 2010, archived from the original on November 29, 2014 ; Retrieved on July 28, 2010 : "For the exact travel times to and from Cologne, pay attention to the current publications in the media!" Info: The archive link has been 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 / www.rse-bonn.de
  4. Oleftalbahn timetable ( Memento from October 1, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  5. FA Heinen: Probably the longest monument in the region. on: ksta.de Kölner Stadtanzeiger, June 14, 2007.
  6. Walter Buschmann : Expert opinion of the Rhenish Office for the Preservation of Monuments of November 23, 2006 - submission for the 11th meeting of the Regional Council's Transport Commission on August 31, 2007, agenda item 10: Olefbahn here: Under monument status . In: Cologne regional government (ed.): Printed matter no .: VK 67/2007, . August 16, 2007 ("... spectacular through-town passage through Olef. Only in East Germany ..., in particular the listed route Kühlungsborn - Bad Doberan (are) comparable situations to be encountered. The Olefbahn opposes these examples by expanding with normal tracks and thus possible direct connection to the long-distance railway network near Kall. ").
  7. Ronald Larmann: Oleftalbahn becomes a monument. In: Kölnische Rundschau. December 2, 2011, accessed December 21, 2014 .
  8. Oleftalbahn can be used again . In: railway magazine . No. 8 , 2018, ISSN  0342-1902 , p. 32 .
  9. https://www.ksta.de/region/euskirchen-eifel/kall/30-000-euro-schaden-l204-wird-wieder-aufgerissen---zu-nah-an-die--flitsch--bahn -built-31592928
  10. Gudrun Klinkhammer: RSE takes over the route. ( Memento of the original from October 8, 2010 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. on: euskirchen-online.de , October 29, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.euskirchen-online.ksta.de