Foothill railway

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This article was registered on August 26, 2020 on the quality assurance pages . Please help to improve it and please take part in the discussion !
The following still needs to be improved:  It says here: The Vorgebirgsbahn was the first KBE route . The history is thus incomplete - see the history section of the Cologne-Bonn Railways : On October 5, 1894, the stock corporation of the Vorgebirgsbahn Cöln-Bonn was founded, two thirds of which are held by the cities and districts and one third by Havestadt, Contag & Cie . lay. From July 7th, 1897 the company name was AG der Cöln-Bonner Kreisbahnen (CBK) . From then on, the operation and further development of the CBK was exclusively directed by the cities and districts. The final name Cologne-Bonn Railways was introduced in 1917/1918 , but Cöln was still written with a "C" until 1920. This is all basically the prehistory of the Cologne-Bonn railways - however, these companies, which built and operated the line in the early years, are not mentioned in the article at all. Unfortunately, since I don't have any KBE documents, I can't correct it myself. - Mef.ellingen ( discussion ) 16:11, 26 Aug 2020 (CEST)
Foothill railway
Route of the Vorgebirgsbahn
Route number (DB) : 9261
Course book section (DB) : 473.2
Route length: approx. 32 km
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system : 750 V  =
Opening: 1897
Owner: Ports and freight traffic Cologne
further in the inner city tunnel
Barbarossaplatz today's stop
0.0 Cologne Barbarossaplatz KBE terminus
Left Rhine route (Cologne ↔ Hürth-Kalscheuren)
BSicon uABZq + r.svgBSicon uABZgr + r.svgBSicon .svg
Belt section
BSicon uSTR.svgBSicon uBHF.svgBSicon .svg
Brawn belt
BSicon uSTRl.svgBSicon uABZgr.svgBSicon .svg
Neuenhöfer Allee block loop
Klettenberg Park
Ownership limit KVB / HGK
BSicon .svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon exSTR + l.svg
Black train from Cologne-Sülz
BSicon .svgBSicon eABZg + l.svgBSicon exABZqr.svg
from Cologne Eifeltor (DBAG)
A / D: transfer point, CH: lane change
3.0 Cologne-Klettenberg
Road bridge
Stop, stop
4.7 Efferen (formerly Bf)
Stop, stop
5.5 Lapwing path
Station, station
6.3 Huerth-Hermülheim
BSicon exSTR + l.svgBSicon eABZgr.svgBSicon .svg
BSicon KDSTxa.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
Kendenich Gbf
BSicon ABZgxr + r.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
Black train to Berrenrath
BSicon DST.svgBSicon BHF.svgBSicon .svg
8.2 Fischenich
BSicon STRl.svgBSicon ABZg + r.svgBSicon .svg
Plan-free intersection - below
8.5 Ehrang↔Hürth-Kalscheuren
Station, station
10.6 Bruehl-Vochem
BSicon exSTR + l.svgBSicon eABZgr.svgBSicon .svg
Freight bypass railway (until 1964)
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon ABZgl + l.svgBSicon .svg
to Wesseling
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon BHF.svgBSicon .svg
11.7 Brühl North
BSicon exABZgr.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
Mödrath-Liblar-Brühler Railway
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon BHF.svgBSicon .svg
12.3 Brühl center
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon HST.svgBSicon .svg
13.6 Brühl South
BSicon exBHF.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
15.0 Pingsdorf
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon HST.svgBSicon .svg
14.0 Badorf
BSicon exABZgl + l.svgBSicon eABZgr + r.svgBSicon .svg
Route relocation in 1931
BSicon exBHF.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
15.9 Eckdorf
BSicon exSTR.svgBSicon BHF.svgBSicon .svg
15.7 Schwadorf
BSicon exBHF.svgBSicon HST.svgBSicon .svg
16.6 Walberberg
BSicon exBHF.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
19.4 Trippeldorf
BSicon exBHF.svgBSicon BHF.svgBSicon .svg
18.5 Merten
BSicon exBHF.svgBSicon STR.svgBSicon .svg
21.1 Kardorf
BSicon exSTRl.svgBSicon eABZg + r.svgBSicon .svg
Route relocation in 1931
Station, station
20.3 Waldorf
Stop, stop
21.6 Dersdorf
Station, station
23.2 Bornheim
Stop, stop
24.3 Bornheim town hall
Station, station
24.7 Roisdorf West
Station, station
26.1 Alfter
Property limit HGK / SWB
823.7 Dransdorf
823.0 Robert-Kirchhoff-Strasse (formerly Dransdorf Ügbf)
BSicon .svgBSicon uemABZgl.svgBSicon exSTR + r.svg
to Bonn Bendenfeld - Bonn freight yard (DB)
BSicon STRq.svgBSicon umKRZu.svgBSicon eABZqr.svg
Left Rhine route (Bonn ↔ Hürth-Kalscheuren)
BSicon uSTR + l.svgBSicon uKRZu.svgBSicon uSTRq.svg
Rheinuferbahn from Cologne
BSicon uSTR.svgBSicon uHST.svgBSicon .svg
822.1 Brühler Strasse
BSicon uSTR.svgBSicon uemABZgl.svgBSicon exSTR + r.svg
(Old route)
BSicon uABZg + l.svgBSicon uSTRr.svgBSicon exBHF.svg
Bonn Ellerbahnhof (PV until 1954, GV until 1979)
BSicon uBHF.svgBSicon .svgBSicon exSTR.svg
Bonn West
BSicon uemABZgl.svgBSicon exABZ + lr.svgBSicon exABZgr.svg
(Old route until 1929)
BSicon uSTR.svgBSicon exSTR.svgBSicon exKBHFe.svg
Bonn Viehmarkt / Friedrichsplatz (until 1929)
BSicon utSTRa.svgBSicon exKBHFe.svgBSicon .svg
32.1 Bonn Rheinuferbahnhof (until 1986)
BSicon utABZg + l.svgBSicon .svgBSicon .svg
Siegburg Railway
BSicon utBHF.svgBSicon .svgBSicon .svg
320.0 Bonn Central Station (U)
BSicon utSTR.svgBSicon .svgBSicon .svg
Trunk line

The Vorgebirgsbahn is a partially double-track, direct current electrified main line between Cologne and Bonn . The network is operated by the Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln (HGK), the passenger traffic by the Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe (KVB) and the Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) as Stadtbahn line 18. The Vorgebirgsbahn belonged, together with the Rheinuferbahn , to the main network of the Cologne-Bonner Eisenbahnen AG (KBE).

In Cologne-Klettenberg (on the city limits) it connects to the Cologne light rail network . Between Alfter and Bonn- Dransdorf it goes over to the Bonn light rail network . It runs on the edge of the foothills in principle parallel to the left Rhine route . In contrast to this, it strikes a further arc, on which numerous districts of Hürth , Brühl , Bornheim are served between Cologne and Bonn .



The "Fiery Elias" on the Brühler Markt around 1900

The Vorgebirgsbahn is the oldest line of the later KBE. It was commissioned by the stock corporation of the Vorgebirgsbahn Cologne-Bonn by the Berlin company Havestadt, Contag & Cie. Planned and built as a meter-gauge , single-track steam train. The route ran through several town centers in the street, in Brühl across the market square. Since there were disputes in Hermülheim about the route through the town or on the outskirts, the section between Bonn and Brühl, which went into operation on August 1, 1897, was first completed. In Bonn, the line began at Bonn Viehmarkt station (from 1899: Bonn Friedrichsplatz ) in the middle of the square of the same name (after 1945: Friedensplatz ). On January 8, 1898, the entire route to the foothills train station at Barbarossaplatz was ceremoniously opened, and traffic began on January 20, 1898. On June 17 of the same year, an extension to the Heumarkt was completed, but only market trains for the farmers of the foothills used it.

The trains of the railway were well received from the beginning, although the travel time between Cologne and Bonn was just under two hours at the beginning. In the first year of operation, the railway had over 10,000 passengers a month. She quickly received the nickname " Fiery Elijah " (after the prophet Elijah and his ascension in a fiery chariot with fiery horses ).

When the corporation also received the concession for the Rheinuferbahn , it was renamed the corporation of the Cöln-Bonner Kreisbahnen .

In Brühl, the Vorgebirgsbahn initially ran on Uhlstrasse and the market on tracks in the roadway. This made it possible to supply the weekly market in Brühl with agricultural products from the foothills.

Since it quickly became apparent that the railway could not cope with the onslaught, the first plans for a second track and a partial re-routing of some sections were made as early as 1899.


Routes in Bonn

Especially when compared to the Rheinuferbahn , the travel time and comfort of the foothills quickly proved to be out of date. In addition, the different track widths proved to be an obstacle in traffic with the surrounding routes. As early as 1908, additional, standard-gauge freight tracks were built between Hermülheim and Vochem and between Dransdorf and Bonn's Ellerbahnhof. The year before, the standard gauge Pingsdorf freight railway Vochem – Pingsdorf – Eckdorf around Brühl had already been put into operation and was now equipped with three- rail tracks. In April 1915, the conversion of the entire foothills railway into a standard-gauge , electric railway was finally approved. Due to the First World War, however, the conversion could not be implemented at first.

From 1920 there were at least continuous standard-gauge freight tracks from the state railway connection in Cologne-Klettenberg to Eckdorf. As an interim solution, meter-gauge benzene railcars were purchased for passenger transport in 1924 to increase comfort. Starting in 1929, the line was then re-tracked, partly re-routed and electrified, starting in Bonn, initially only reaching Waldorf, where a temporary narrow-gauge connection to Kardorf station was set up. In Bonn, the Vorgebirgsbahn passenger trains have been running from Bonn Ellerbahnhof via the Rheinuferbahn to Bonn Rheinuferbahnhof station since 1929 ; the Bonn Ellerbahnhof - Bonn Friedrichsplatz section was abandoned. Two years later the standard gauge line reached Schwadorf, the entire line to Cologne was opened in 1934 in several sections, from Brühl it was completely double-tracked.

It was popularly called the White Railway because of its white railcars (with control car) , then from 1954 the “Red Railway” because of the striking carmine-red paint on the outside of the car, which separates it from the Cologne tram and the parallel steam and steam train in Cologne diesel-powered Berrenrath line of the KBE (" Black Railway ") clearly differed.

post war period

The terminus at Cologne's Barbarossaplatz

After the line was badly damaged in World War II , the traffic that had been shut down in March 1945 was resumed in June. In the following years the line was modernized and new rolling stock (e.g. Silver Arrows ) was procured. There were now hourly passenger trains, as well as express trains between Cologne and Brühl and considerable freight traffic. Due to the increase in car traffic, the route was finally separated from the road space in the 1950s, and this required complex structures, especially in Bonn. In Cologne, the Vorgebirgsbahn and the tram got their own route in the middle of Luxemburger Strasse . At the end of the line, Cologne Barbarossaplatz train station , a new station building with three tracks ending there was built from 1951 to 1953.

1973 the freight traffic between Brühl-Vochem and Bonn-Dransdorf was stopped.

Conversion to light rail

As early as the mid-1960s, KBE planned to use the Cologne and Bonn underground tunnels, which were under construction or in the planning stage. Initially it was planned to integrate the Vorgebirgsbahn first and then the Rheinuferbahn into the light rail network, but later the better developed Rheinuferbahn was preferred. It was not until the early 1980s that the foothills railway was converted for light rail operations. Two additional stops at Robert-Kirchhoff-Straße in Dransdorf and Kiebitzweg in Hürth were created, and the overhead line voltage was reduced from 1200 V to 750 V.

The control and safety technology was modernized. In 1984 a microcomputer interlocking (MC interlocking) from Siemens went into operation in Hürth-Kendenich , which controls the entire foothill railway. It is therefore called the “Kendenich Kf” central signal box. The system consists of three remote control computers and communicates with a total of 36 level crossing systems. It replaced nine old signal boxes and is already the fourth generation of signal boxes in the network.

On October 26, 1985, the first light rail train ran as line 18 from Bonn Hauptbahnhof to Schwadorf, where there was a connection to a KBE train. The section on Bonn's urban area was reclassified to BOStrab . Since November 8, 1986, the route has been completely driven by light rail vehicles. Some of the old steel railcars were sold to the Linz Local Railway , where they were used until after 2000.

In the following years numerous modifications followed in order to adapt the route to the light rail standard. Most of the foothills of the foothills have had elevated platforms since 1991 . Only Brühl-Vochem was rebuilt later. On September 6, 2004, an additional Bornheim Rathaus stop was put into operation, and on October 16, 2006 the new double-track section Roisdorf West – Alfter. In February 2015, the Cologne district government also approved the double-track expansion between Brühl-Mitte and Brühl-Badorf, which was followed by a public tender. In July 2015, construction work for the extension began with the adaptation of the Pingsdorfer Bach, Berliner Strasse and Otto-Wels-Strasse (K 7) bridges and the widening of the dam. After a construction period of a good two years, it was due to go into operation in the fourth quarter of 2017, but was delayed until April 2019 due to complications in the commissioning of the signal box.


Today the route is used jointly by KVB and SWB as tram line 18. During the day the line runs on weekdays on the entire route every 20 minutes, in the Cologne city area it is compressed to a 5-minute cycle and between Cologne and Brühl to a 10-minute cycle. From Bonn, there are individual repeater trips to Bornheim as line 68, which means every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes in the evening.

Goods traffic on the Vorgebirgsbahn only takes place in the section from Kendenich Gbf via Fischenich to Brühl-Vochem (Vochem Nord), while goods from the Knapsack Chemical Park and UPM Hürth in Knapsack and Frechen are transported over the Brühl-Vochem-Cologne-Godorf Hafen railway to bring to the harbor in Wesseling .


Since the conversion of the Vorgebirgsbahn to light rail operation, line 18 has ended at the southern end of Bonn Central Station. In the opposite direction she drove in Cologne to Cologne-Mülheim, later to Cologne-Chorweiler. With the separation of the high-floor and low-floor network in Cologne, line 18 again serves the branch to Cologne-Mülheim and on to Thielenbruch.

After the Bonn West stop , the route leaves the Rheinuferbahn at no elevation and follows it north. After the Brühler Strasse stop , it and Justus-von-Liebig- Strasse cross under the Rheinuferbahn and the left-hand Rhine route . Along the Bendenweg it passes the Dransdorf SWB depot . At the Robert-Kirchhoff-Straße stop (formerly: Bonn-Dransdorf Ügbf train station ) it meets the disused Bonn-Dransdorf – Bonn-Dransdorf Ügbf – Bonn Bendenfeld – Bonn freight yard . The connecting switch has meanwhile been expanded, the line is still there. After the level crossing at Grootestraße, the Dransdorf stop follows . After Dransdorf, the line becomes single-track and approaches the foothills on a railway embankment. After about one kilometer, on the bridge over the K 12n district road, it passes the city limits between Bonn and Alfter and thus also the property line between the Bonn municipal utilities and the Cologne ports and goods traffic . At this point, it is legally changing from a tram to a railway line that is operated in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Construction and Operating Regulations (EBO).

With regard to its height profile , the independent route of the Vorgebirgsbahn rises from 54  m above sea level. NHN in Bonn (Brühler Straße) up to 74  m above sea level. NHN at Merten , then falls to Brühl at about 65  m above sea level. NHN to go back to about 73  m above sea level. NHN in Fischenich to rise before they turn to Cologne (Barbarossaplatz) at 51  m above sea level. NHN drops.


Brühler Strasse
ET 47 at the exit from Bonn
KBE railcar ET 59 on the foothills of the mountains
Line 68 train in Bornheim

Brühler Strasse

The Brühler Straße stop was set up by KBE in 1961 as a Bonn-Tannenbusch stop . After the construction of the large Neu-Tannenbusch housing estate and the relocation of the Rheinuferbahn there, the stop was given its current name. The station is relatively remote and most passengers are mainly familiar with the fact that it is portrayed as a destination by trains entering the Dransdorf depot. It consists of a central platform.


The Roberf-Kirchhoff-Straße stop opens up the eastern part of Dransdorf and the associated industrial area including the SWB light rail depot. The central platform, accessible via a bridge, was opened in May 1985 in preparation for light rail operations. From November 2016 to April 2017, the stop was made barrier-free by creating two additional platform crossings and a ramp, and the platform was also extended; The remaining work dragged on until the second half of 2017.


Today's Dransdorf stop is a remnant of what used to be the significantly larger KBE station. In addition to passenger traffic, there was considerable cargo handling, and the line to Dransdorf coming from Bonn was expanded to three-track due to the heavy goods traffic, while the foothills railway behind Dransdorf became single-track. Today the Dransdorf stop still consists of two elevated platforms at the side.


Bornheim train station opens up the town of Bornheim and, although it is located on a single-track section, has two tracks and platforms, as the railways regularly met here until the two-track expansion of the Roisdorf West – Alfter section and the end point of line 68 is also located here . The railways on this line also use the turning track in the direction of Dersdorf.


Line 18 is now the line with the highest number of passengers, but the capacity is limited by the single-track sections between Bonn and Brühl-Badorf. The city of Bornheim, which was particularly affected by this, commissioned a feasibility study together with the Rhein-Sieg district in 2019 on the possibilities of increasing the frequency of the cycle and expanding it to two tracks.

Since there are always long traffic jams between the Klettenbergpark and Efferen stops at the military ring road / Luxemburger Straße junction , the construction of a 70-meter-long tunnel behind the Klettenberg turning facility is planned through which the railway would pass under this congestion area.

Starting from Hürth-Hermülheim, a branch (branch line) to the center of Hürth (Hürth Mitte) is planned. However, the question of how to cover an operational deficit has not yet been clarified.


In the vernacular, the abbreviation “KBE” of the Cologne-Bonn railways, which used the foothills of the mountains, was jokingly reinterpreted. The foothills railway was most often referred to as “ K appes - B uure- E xpress” (Rhenish for “White Cabbage Farmer's Express”) and can arrive at will.


  • Wolfgang Herdam: Cologne-Bonn Railways - a look back. Wolfgang-Herdam-Fotoverlag, Wesseling 1986, ISBN 3-921980-20-8 .
  • Eduard Bündgen: The Cologne-Bonn Railways 1891–1992. EK-Verlag, Freiburg 1994, ISBN 3-88255-502-5 .
  • Gerd Wolff: German small and private railways. Volume 4. EK-Verlag, Freiburg 1997, ISBN 3-88255-660-9 .
  • Axel Reuther, Klaus Oehlert-Schellberg: Local rail transport in Cologne. GeraMond-Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-7654-7370-8

Individual evidence

  1. Gerd Wolff: German small and private railways . tape 4 . EK-Verlag, Freiburg 1997, ISBN 3-88255-660-9 , p. 115 .
  2. a b Entry on the ET 57 double multiple unit in the Rheinisches Industriebahnmuseum in the database " KuLaDig " of the Rhineland Regional Association , accessed on January 31, 2018.
  3. Cologne-Bonner Eisenbahnen AG (Ed.): Modern Railway. Connections of a region. 1989.
  4. Two-track expansion of line 18 in Brühl. (No longer available online.) KVB, February 25, 2015, archived from the original on April 2, 2015 ; accessed on February 28, 2015 (press release).
  5. Two-track expansion of line 18. City of Brühl, accessed on January 8, 2016 .
  6. Track expansion in Brühl is not due to go into operation until 2018 , Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger , July 31, 2017
  7. a b Second track of line 18 in Brühl will be coming in April , General-Anzeiger , March 20, 2019
  8. ↑ The Robert-Kirchhoff-Straße tram stop will be barrier-free , press release from the city of Bonn, November 18, 2016
  9. ^ New crossings with barriers , General-Anzeiger , November 26, 2016
  10. ↑ The “Robert-Kirchhoff-Straße” stop is barrier-free , press release from the City of Bonn, April 12, 2017
  11. Decision on the expansion of line 18 according to the report , General-Anzeiger , February 1, 2019
  12. Chris Merting: Mini subway under the chaos intersection. In: EXPRESS . Retrieved January 25, 2011 .