Vizinalbahn (Bavaria)

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As Vizinalbahn were in Bavaria Railways called for the development of rural areas. The name was formed from the Latin word vicinus ( German : "neighboring, near"). In order to be able to connect as many places as possible that were previously far away from the railroad to this very new means of transport, the Vizinalbahngesetz was passed in Bavaria on April 29, 1869 . It regulated the construction of the "rail links of local importance".

Endowment Act of 1869

In the 1860s it became increasingly clear that railways of local importance could not be built and operated profitably with the standard prescribed for main railways . To promote the construction of railways of local importance, the Bavarian State Parliament passed a doping law (“Law on the construction and operation of railway lines of minor importance”) on April 29, 1869, which reorganized the construction of railways of local importance.

Technical standards

For vicinal railways, larger gradients (1:25) and narrower arc radii (100 m), lighter rails and a narrower subgrade were permitted compared to the main railways . This enabled the routes to be better adapted to the shape of the terrain and costly engineering structures to be avoided. The operational management was less labor-intensive compared to the main railways. After the initial experience with the new railways, further construction simplifications were approved.

The standard components were based on recommendations of the German Railway Association from 1869 (“Basic features for the design of secondary railways”), which - although not binding - were adopted by many railways in Germany. The possibility of narrow-gauge construction was not made use of in Bavaria at the time of the Vizinalbahngesetz. In practice, the radii remained over 180 m and the inclines less than 1:40.

Financing and operation

The neighboring communities had to pay for the land purchase and the earthworks; they should be part of the revenue surpluses. Half of the remaining construction costs were covered by allocations of funds from the endowment laws. To finance the other half, a special vicinal railway fund was created, which was fed from the surplus of the state railway. The municipalities were used on the grounds that road construction was also their responsibility. The Royal Bavarian State Railways were responsible for carrying out the construction and later operation .

Construction of the Vizinalbahnen

The line from Siegelsdorf to Langenzenn was built as the first railway under the new law in 1872 . It was followed by 14 more railways by 1879, the Weilheim – Murnau line was opened on May 15, 1879 as the last vicinal railway. A total of 168 km of railway were built according to the Vizinalbahngesetz.

In the years up to 1880, the Vizinalbahnen developed well, with only one railway exceeding the expenses. However, the interest rate was low at 1.5% and the neighboring communities, with a few exceptions, were left with nothing when it came to distributing the income.

List of the Bavarian Vizinalbahnen

in mm
in km

State of the route
Siegeldorf – Langenzenn 1435 5.56 05/25/1872 in operation
Georgensgmünd – gap 1435 6.92 October 16, 1872 reduced Passenger traffic ceased in 1969, freight traffic in 1995
Wiesau-Tirschenreuth 1435 11.02 11/10/1872 reduced (Adjustment Pv 1989, Gv 2000), construction by the Bayerische Ostbahn
Schwaben-Erding 1435 13.63 11/16/1872 in operation; Part of the Munich S-Bahn , Schwaben is now called Markt Schwaben
Steinach – Rothenburg 1435 11.09 11/01/1873 in operation
Immenstadt – Sonthofen 1435 8.34 11/16/1873 in operation
Holzkirchen – Tölz 1435 21.43 06/01/1874 in operation Tölz is now called Bad Tölz
Sinzing-Alling 1435 4.14 December 20, 1875 reduced Setting Pv 1967, Gv 1985
Dombühl – Feuchtwangen 1435 11.10 04/15/1876 in operation without regular traffic
Biessenhofen – Oberdorf bB 1435 6.51 06/01/1876 in operation Today Oberdorf bB is called Marktoberdorf
Neustadt (Aisch) –Windsheim 1435 15.32 08/06/1876 in operation
Prien-Aschau 1435 9.62 08/18/1878 in operation
Senden – Weißenhorn 1435 9.62 09/15/1878 in operation from 1966 to 2013 only freight traffic
Feucht-Altdorf 1435 11.70 10/15/1878 in operation
Weilheim – Murnau 1435 21.40 05/15/1879 in operation

Endowment Act of 1882

In the Endowment Act of April 28, 1882 (“Act on the Treatment of Existing Vizinal Railways and the Construction of Secondary Railways”), the end of the Vizinalbahn construction was resolved. The Vizinalbahn fund was dissolved. The neighboring communities received half of the construction costs actually borne by them from the funds of this fund. In exchange for future participation in the income, the municipalities should also be reimbursed the second half of the construction costs. With the exception of the municipality of Sonthofen , all municipalities made use of this option. The rest of the fund was transferred to the Staatsbahnbaukasse.

Further development of the railways

The Vizinalbahnen also produced income in the following years. Two lines were classified as main lines due to demand and network development and were expanded accordingly. The Weilheim – Murnau line became the main line in 1898, and two years later the first through express trains ran here, which took the local line to Garmisch-Partenkirchen . The Holzkirchen – Tölz section was also upgraded to the main line before the First World War.

Other routes were extended or connected with other railways to improve economic efficiency. Passenger traffic has now been stopped on five of the former Vizinalbahnen. Freight traffic was also stopped on three of these lines, they were shut down and dismantled.

Two Vizinalbahnen, Feucht-Altdorf and Markt Schwaben-Erding , have been integrated into the S-Bahn networks of the major cities of Nuremberg and Munich .


  • Hugo Marggraf: The Kgl. Bavarian railways in historical and statistical relation . Munich 1894.
  • Robert Zintl: Bavarian branch lines . Stuttgart 1977, ISBN 3-87943-531-6 .
  • Horst Weigelt: Bavarian Railways: From the mule track to the intercity . Motorbuch Stuttgart, 1A 182 ISBN 3-87943-899-4 , p. 215 ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Large school dictionary Latin-German . Langenscheidt, Berlin / Munich 2001, ISBN 3-468-07204-X .