East Rhine Railway

East Rhine Railway
East Rhine Railway
Rechte Rheinstrecke map.png
Route number: KBS 465 (Köln–Koblenz)
KBS 466 (Koblenz–Wiesbaden)
Line length: 179
Gauge: 1435
Voltage: 15 kV 16.7 Hz AC
Maximum speed: 140
Unknown BSicon "ABZdg" Junction from left
From Bonn, Aachen S 12S 13
and Neuss S 6S 11
Station on track Unknown BSicon "SBHF"
Cologne Hbf
Transverse water Bridge over water Bridge over water
Track turning from left Tower station on bridge over transverse track Unknown BSicon "TSHSTo"
0.0 Cologne Messe/Deutz from Köln-Mülheim
Straight track Junction to left Unknown BSicon "KRZo"
Line to Köln-Mülheim S 6S 11
Straight track Straight track Junction to left
Köln Posthof junction
  S-Bahn line to Köln-Mülheim
Unknown BSicon "xABZlf" Junction from right Straight track
1.2 Köln Gummersbacher Str. junction
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track Unknown BSicon "SHST"
Köln Trimbornstraße
Unknown BSicon "xABZrg" Junction to right Straight track
Freight line
Junction from right Straight track Straight track
Freight railway from the south bridge
Non-passenger station/depot on track Non-passenger station/depot on track Non-passenger station/depot on track
2.2 Köln-Kalk
Unknown BSicon "xABZlf" Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Unknown BSicon "KRZo"
Freight line to Köln-Kalk Nord
Unknown BSicon "xKRZo" Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Unknown BSicon "KRZo"
Gremberg–Köln-Kalk North freight railway
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track Junction from left
Connecting line from Köln-Kalk North
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Junction from left Junction to right
3.9 Vingst junction
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track Junction to left
Köln Flughafen NE junction Cologne/Bonn Airport loop S 13
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Junction to left Unknown BSicon "KRZu"
4.5 Köln Flughafen NW junction
  Airport loop (long distance)
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track Unknown BSicon "SHST"
Cologne Airport Businesspark
Unknown BSicon "exSTR" Straight track Unknown BSicon "SHST"
Köln Steinstr.
Unknown BSicon "xABZlg" Straight track Straight track
Freight railway from the south bridge
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "ABZlfg" Junction from right
68.7   7.8 Köln Steinstr. junction (start of HSL)
Junction from right Straight track Straight track
70.1         Gremberg Süd junction
  Freight line from Gremberg
Non-passenger station/depot on track Straight track Unknown BSicon "SHST"
71.3   9.6 Köln-Porz
Straight track Junction from left Unknown BSicon "KRZu"
Airport Loop (long distance)
Straight track Straight track Junction from left
Airport Loop (S-Bahn) S 13
Unknown BSicon "eDST" Straight track Unknown BSicon "SBHF"
73.9 12.4 Porz-Wahn
Straight track Small non-passenger station on track Straight track
Porz-Wahn south junction
Underbridge Underbridge Underbridge
A 59
Unknown BSicon "eBST" Straight track Unknown BSicon "SHST"
78.4 16.9 Spich
Straight track Enter tunnel Straight track
Troisdorf Tunnel (627 m)
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "tKRZ" Junction from right
79.5  18.0 Troisdorf Vorbf
Junction from left Unknown BSicon "tKRZ" Junction to right
18.4 Troisdorf north junction
Unknown BSicon "xS+BHF" Exit tunnel Unknown BSicon "S+BHF"
81.2 19.7 Troisdorf , terminus of S 13 (planned)
Straight track Straight track Unknown BSicon "xABZfg"
Sieg Railway to Siegburg/Bonn S 12
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "xSTRl+r" Unknown BSicon "xKRZ"
High-speed railway to Siegburg/Bonn
Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "exKRZ" Unknown BSicon "exSTRrf"
(Original route from Siegburg)
Station on track Unknown BSicon "exSBHF"
82.8 →     Friedrich-Wilhelms-Hütte (planned S-Bahn)
Small bridge over water Unknown BSicon "exWBRÜCKE1"
Underbridge Unknown BSicon "exSBRÜCKE"
A 560
Station on track Unknown BSicon "exSBHF"
85.4 Menden (Rheinl) (planned S-Bahn)
Underbridge Unknown BSicon "exSBRÜCKE"
A 59
Unknown BSicon "mKRZu" Unknown BSicon "xmTHSTu"
Vilich Bonn Stadtbahn (planned S-Bahn)
Station on track Unknown BSicon "exSBHF" Non-passenger head station
90.3 Bonn-Beuel (planned S-Bahn)
Unknown BSicon "BS2l" Unknown BSicon "exBS2lc" Unknown BSicon "BS2lxc"
Light railway to Hangelar
Unknown BSicon "mKRZo" Unknown BSicon "xmKRZo"
Siebengebirgs Railway
Straight track Unknown BSicon "exSHST"
Ramersdorf (planned)
Unknown BSicon "mKRZu" Unknown BSicon "xmKRZu"
Bonn Stadtbahn
Unknown BSicon "eABZlg" Unknown BSicon "exSTR"
From former Bonn–Oberkassel train ferry
Station on track Unknown BSicon "exSBHF"
93.9 Bonn Oberkassel (S-Bahn planned)
Unknown BSicon "BS2l" Unknown BSicon "eBS2r"
(End of planned S-Bahn)
Station on track
96.6 Niederdollendorf
Unknown BSicon "mKRZo"
Siebengebirgs railway crossing
Station on track
98.6 Königswinter
Station on track
101.3 Rhöndorf
Station on track
103.4 Bad Honnef (Rhein)
Unrestricted border on track
NRW–RLP state border
Station on track
107.6 Unkel
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exSTRlg"
former line through the Erpeler Ley
Stop on track Unknown BSicon "exTUNNEL1"
110.3 Erpel (Rhine)
BSicon exWBRÜCKEq.svgBSicon eKRZu.svgBSicon exSTRrf.svg 110.5 former Ludendorff Bridge to Ahr Valley Railway
Junction from left
Kasbach Valley line from Kalenborn
Station on track
113.3 Linz am Rhein
Stop on track
115.8 Leubsdorf (Rhein)
Station on track
120.0 Bad Hönningen
Station on track
123.2 Rheinbrohl
Station on track
129.5 Leutesdorf (Rhein)
Junction from left
135.6 Siding to Rasselstein & Co.
Station on track
135.8 Neuwied
Junction to right
136.0 Industrial sidings
Unknown BSicon "ABZgr+xr"
139.0 Line to Koblenz, West Rhine Railway
Station on track
141.2 Engers
Junction to left
to Brexbach Valley Railway to Siershahn
Non-passenger station/depot on track
143.8 Bendorf (Rhein)
Station on track
146.7 Vallendar
Station on track
151.2 Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein
Unknown BSicon "exWBRÜCKEq" Unknown BSicon "eABZgr+r"
Pfaffendorf Bridge (now road bridge),
  formerly to Left Rhine line
Junction to left Track turning from right
153.0 Koblenz Pfaffendorf junction
Straight track Enter and exit tunnel
Horchheim Tunnel (576 m)
Unknown BSicon "WBRÜCKEq" Unknown BSicon "KRZu" Unknown BSicon "ABZgf"
Horchheim Railway Bridge,
  to Left Rhine line and Moselle line
Unknown BSicon "KMW" Straight track
(line change 2324 ↔ 3507)
Station on track Station on track
123.8 Niederlahnstein
Junction from left Unknown BSicon "ABZrl"
Lahn Valley Railway to Wetzlar (since 1879)
Unknown BSicon "eGRENZE+WBRÜCKE"
Lahn, former Prussia / Nassau border
Unknown BSicon "eABZrg"
former route of Lahn Valley Railway
Station on track
122.0 Oberlahnstein
Stop on track
117.9 Braubach
Station on track
112.0 Osterspai
Stop on track
109.1 Filsen
Station on track
106.1 Kamp-Bornhofen
Station on track
100.8 Kestert
Station on track
94.2 St. Goarshausen
Enter and exit short tunnel
Loreley Tunnel 368/417 m
Non-passenger station/depot on track
89.0 Loreley
Enter and exit short tunnel
Roßstein Tunnel 378/457 m
Station on track
83.6 Kaub
Unrestricted border on track
RLP/Hesse state border
Stop on track
80.0 Lorchhausen
Station on track
77.2 Lorch
Station on track
69.5 Assmannshausen
Station on track
65.3 Rüdesheim am Rhein
BSicon exWBRÜCKEq.svgBSicon eABZgr+r.svgBSicon .svg former Hindenburg Bridge to Nahe Valley Railway
Station on track
61.3 Geisenheim
Station on track
57.0 Oestrich-Winkel
Station on track
53.9 Eltville-Hattenheim
Stop on track
50.8 Eltville-Erbach
Station on track
48.8 Eltville
Station on track
45.8 Niederwalluf
Station on track
42.6 Wiesbaden-Schierstein
Junction to right
Industrial sidings (Schierstein Port)
A 643
Station on track
39.5 Wiesbaden-Biebrich
Junction both to and from right
Taunus Railway to Frankfurt
Unknown BSicon "KRZu"
Aar Valley Railway
Unknown BSicon "ABZgxr+r"
Ländches Railway to Niedernhausen,
  Cologne-Frankfurt HSL
Unknown BSicon "KS+BHFe"
41.2 Wiesbaden Hbf

The East Rhine Railway (German: Rechte Rheinstrecke, literally 'right (of the) Rhine railway') is a major, double-track, electrified railway line, running along the right bank of the Rhine from Cologne to Wiesbaden. The 179-kilometer (111.2 mi) -long line forms two Deutsche Bahn routes. Route 465 extends from Cologne to Koblenz, via Troisdorf, Bonn-Beuel, Unkel, and Neuwied. From Koblenz, Route 466 extends to Wiesbaden, via Rüdesheim am Rhein. Together with the Taunus railway (Route 645.1), Route 466 is part of Regional-Express line RE-10 of the Rhine-Main Transport Association, which runs from Frankfurt to Koblenz.

With the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed railway and the Sieg Railway, the East Rhine Railway forms a six-track line between Cologne-Porz and Troisdorf. It includes two tunnels between Rüdesheim and Lahnstein, including the well-known Loreley Tunnel near Sankt Goarshausen.



Soon after the opening of the first railways in the region, a line on the right bank of the Rhine began to be discussed. In 1844 the Mayor of Deutz suggested building a line from Deutz via Rüdesheim to Wiesbaden. In 1852, the town of Neuwied also began to press strongly for the building of a railway. However, others, particularly Prussia, had substantial reservations. There were military objections to a railway line along the Rhine (the extension of the West Rhine railway past Rolandseck was similarly delayed). In particular, the Prussian military objected that the suggested route would pass close to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Koblenz. Therefore in 1853 the Prussian War Ministry declared itself against the line.

Building of the southern section

For the Duchy of Nassau such considerations had less weight than the economic advantages. Therefore it gave the Wiesbaden Railway Company (Wiesbadener Eisenbahngesellschaft) a concession to build the East Rhine line on Nassau national territory. On 11 August 1856, the first section of the Nassau Rhine Railway (Nassauische Rheinbahn) was opened from Wiesbaden to Rüdesheim. Because of the difficult nature of the construction, the Nassau government took over construction in 1858, establishing the Nassau State Railway in 1861. As a result the line was not extended to Oberlahnstein until 22 February 1862 and Niederlahnstein until 3 June 1864. From 1862 to 1900 the Bingerbrück–Rüdesheim train ferry operated between Bingerbrück and Rüdesheim, connecting the East Rhine lines and the Nahe Valley Railway.

The construction of the Sieg Railway from Deutz to Giessen (which started in 1859) enabled Nassau to negotiate with Prussia over the continuation of the line, since the planned Sieg line passed through the Dillenburg district, which was part of Nassau. Finally in 1860 an agreement between both states was concluded, which allowed Prussia to build the Sieg line. In return Prussia agreed to build the Pfaffendorf Bridge, which connected the line near Niederlahnstein with the West Rhine Railway (Linke Rheinstrecke) in Koblenz finished the year before. The bridge was inaugurated on 3 June 1864. A continuation of the East Rhine line through Prussia was not possible for the time being, because the concession that the Rhenish Railway had received for the West Rhine line had specified that no concession would be given for a railway on the right bank of the Rhine before 1876.

Building of the northern section

As a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Nassau became part of Prussia, changing the situation in the Rhine completely. The Rhenish Railway Company (Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft) now had an interest in completing the East Rhine line, and soon received a concession for it. On 27 October 1869, the extension of the line was opened from Niederlahnstein to Neuwied.

Planning options considered for the East Rhine line between Beuel and Siegburg. The curved route via Friedrich-Wilhelms-Hütte was built.

The route of the northern end was contentious. The concession referred to a line between Siegburg and Niederlahnstein and under the original plans the line should have turned at Beuel on the Rhine to Siegburg. Later the line should have been extended via the Agger River valley to Overath and then via Witten to Bochum, or alternatively Essen. These plans were, however, viewed critically in Cologne, since it would have involved the construction of a major traffic axis through the Bergisches Land near Cologne. Gustav von Mevissen, president of the Rhenish Railway, preferred a route via Troisdorf and Opladen to Essen.

Emil Langen, board member of the Rhenish Railway and director of Friedrich-Wilhelms Ironworks in Troisdorf (now the location of the suburb and station of Troisdorf-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Hütte), finally implemented a change in the planned route north of Beuel. The new route went northeast from Beuel, crossing the Sieg river at Menden (now part of Sankt Augustin). A station would be built at the Friedrich-Wilhelms works and the line would then turn southeast to parallel the Sieg Railway to Siegburg.

On July 11, 1870 the section of line was opened from Neuwied to Oberkassel, where the Bonn–Oberkassel train ferry provided a connection between the West Rhine and East Rhine lines. In addition, the line from Friedrich-Wilhelms-Hütte to Siegburg had already been completed; the complete opening of the line only awaited the completion of the Sieg bridge. During the Franco-Prussian War, the line was of great strategic importance as a supply route. As a result the building of the Sieg bridge was accelerated with extra workers, starting in the late summer of 1870. The whole route was opened on March 1, 1871. At the same time a branch was opened from Friedrich-Wilhelms-Hütte to Troisdorf and the line to Cologne, which would later become the main line.

Later changes

Map of railway lines in the Koblenz area

In 1878/79, the Horchheim rail bridge was built south of Koblenz, creating a further connection between the West Rhine and East Rhine lines.

During World War I, three Rhine crossings were built using very similar building methods:

  • From 1913 to 1915, the Hindenburg Bridge was built between Rüdesheim am Rhein and Bingen-Kempten, connecting to the West Rhine line and the Nahe Valley Railway (Nahetalbahn).
  • From 1916 to 1918, the Neuwied–Koblenz line, including the Kronprinz-Wilhelm Bridge was built between Urmitz and Neuwied-Engers.
  • From 1916 to 1919, the Ludendorff Bridge was built between Erpel and Remagen, connecting the East Rhine railway with the West Rhine line and the strategically important Ahr Valley Railway (Ahrtalbahn). It became famous as the "Remagen Bridge" in the last days of World War II.

All three bridges were destroyed in World War II. Only the Kronprinz-Wilhelm Bridge was rebuilt, as the Urmitz railway bridge, in 1954.

In 1961, during the electrification of the line, new single-line tunnels were built parallel to the existing double-line Loreley and Rossstein tunnels. The old tunnels were then converted to single-line operations and electrified.

With the opening of the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line at the end of 2002, Troisdorf station was completely rebuilt and the connections from the East Rhine railway towards Siegburg were removed.


Freight train north of Unkel
Bonn-Beuel station

The line is heavily congested and gives priority to long-distance freight trains. Long distance passenger trains in the Rhine Valley use the West Rhine line and the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed line. When there are line closures on the left side, the long-distance trains are diverted to the East Rhine route. It that case the stop for Bonn is replaced with Bonn-Beuel.

Passenger services on the line are provided by RegionalBahn and Regional-Express trains. According to Deutsche Bahn timetables, the East Rhine route is KBS 465 (Cologne-Koblenz) and KBS 466 (Koblenz-Wiesbaden). The KBS 465 added a section from Cologne to Mönchengladbach a few years ago. All passenger trains start or finish at the Koblenz main station. Trains from there in the direction of Wiesbaden cross on the Horchheimer Bridge (south of Koblenz). Trains travelling in the direction of Cologne cross the Urmitz Railway Bridge (north of Koblenz), or travel via Vallendar over the Horchheimer Bridge.

Generally Regional-Express trains operate every two hours between the Frankfurt and Wiesbaden main train stations and Koblenz. RegionalBahn trains operate every two hours between the Wiesbaden main station and Koblenz.

Regional-Express trains operate every hour between Mönchengladbach main station and Koblenz, via Cologne main station and Vallendar, using the Horchheim bridge. RegionalBahn trains operate every hour between Mönchengladbach Hbf, Cologne Hbf and Koblenz, via the Urmitz Railway Bridge.

The northern section is also served hourly by the Rhein-Erft-Express (RE-8) and the Rhein-Erft-Bahn (RB-27) lines. The RE-8 serves the Cologne/Bonn Airport station and extends south of Koblenz on the Horchheimer Bridge. It uses Series-425 electric locomotives and a maximum speed of 140 km/h. The RB-27 operates between Porz and Koblenz, crossing from the north via the Urmitz Bridge. It operates non-stop from Koblenz to Cochem twice daily. The RB-27 uses Series-143 electric locomotives and three double-decker carriages with a maximum speed of 120 km/h. From Moenchengladbach to Rommerskirchen, the tariffs of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) apply; from Grevenbroich to Neuwied, those of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (VRS); and from Unkel to Koblenz, the tariffs of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Mosel (VRM).

The southern section is also served by the Loreley (RB-10) and Loreley Express (RE-10) rail lines, using electric Series-143 or -110 locomotives and 4-5 coaches on a one to two-hour schedule. Between Koblenz and Kaub, tariffs of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Mosel apply and between Lorchhausen and Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, the tariffs of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV).

Current developments

It is planned to build two extra tracks from Troisdorf to Bonn–Oberkassel for the extension of line S13 of the Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn. Construction is due to commence in 2012, with services commencing at the end of 2016.[1][2] One service an hour would continue past Oberkassel to Linz am Rhein.[3]

In 2007, the performances of the Frankfurt-Koblenz section of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund and Zweckverband Schienenpersonennahverkehr of Rhineland-Palatinate were submitted to a Northern Europe-wide competition. In April 2008, it was announced that VIAS GmbH will take over operations in December 2010.


  1. ^ "Unsere Planung löst fast alle Probleme" (in German). General-Anzeiger. 25 September 2008. http://www.general-anzeiger-bonn.de/index.php?k=loka&itemid=10490&detailid=501232. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Neue Weichenstellung am Beueler Güterbahnhof" (in German). General-Anzeiger. 25 September 2009. http://www.general-anzeiger-bonn.de/index.php?k=loka&itemid=10490&detailid=643554. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Modified option for S-13 line, General-Anzeiger, 5 January 2007 (German)


  • Udo Kandler (1992.). "Die rechte Rheinstrecke" (in German). Eisenbahn-Journal (Hermann Merker Verlag) (special issue: III/92). ISSN 0720-051X. 
  • Joachim Seyferth (1995) (in German). Die Rechte Rheinstrecke. 4. Wiesbaden: self-published, SCHIENE-Photo. ISBN 3-926669-04-7. 

External links (in German)

NRWbahnarchiv von André Joost:


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