Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen) - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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This list is based on the timetable dated from 15 December 2019 to 12 December 2020, unless otherwise stated. Standard abbreviations are explained in General Information. Map references relate to the 2017 edition of the Schweers+Wall Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland.

Obscure services: Lines with regular use

Dortmund Hbf (Abzw Lütgendortmund) – Witten Hbf (Abzw Stockumer Straße)

[427, 455] (138D3) DE20/351

This east to south curve is used by trains running non-stop between Dortmund Hbf and Witten Hbf, Hagen Hbf or Wuppertal Hbf. There are hourly IC/ICE services to and from Hagen or Wuppertal and hourly RE trains to/from Witten.

Dortmund Aplerbeck Süd (Abzw Schwerte Heide) – Fröndenberg (Schwerte Ost)

[438] (139C3) DE20/352

This north to east curve connects the Dortmund and Brilon Wald lines east of Schwerte (Ruhr). It is used by through trains between Dortmund Hbf and Bestwig, Brilon Stadt or Winterberg (Westf), approximately hourly, except for trains at 21:23, 22:23 and 23:23 from Dortmund Hbf, also 00:23 SSuO and 01:23 SSuO, which reverse at Schwerte (Ruhr).

Hagen-Vorhalle – Abzw Hagen-Hengstey – Schwerte (Ruhr) (Westhofen(Westf))


This line allows trains to run between the Witten and Schwerte lines without reversing at Hagen Hbf. It is used by winter sports trains to Winterberg (West).

D1 SO RE1899 Oberhausen Hbf – 08:00 Witten Hbf – Winterberg (Westf)
D1 SO RE1898 Winterberg (Westf) - 18:36 Schwerte (Ruhr) - Oberhausen Hbf

D1: Scheduled to run 29 February to 14 March 2020, but may operate on additional Saturdays if snow conditions are suitable.

Bochum Hbf (Abzw Prinz von Preußen) – Abzw Dortmund-Dorstfeld – Dortmund Signal Iduna Park (Abzw Schnettkerbrücke)

(138C3-139A3) DE20/353

These connections (DB Netz lines 2151 and 2120), providing direct access to Dortmund Signal Iduna Park from the west, connect only with the goods lines west of Dortmund (and not the main or S-Bahn lines) and thus avoid Dortmund Hbf.

Specials operate between Duisburg and Dortmund Signal Iduna Park when Borussia Dortmund are playing at home. They are shown in the journey planner as well as on posters at relevant stations. Normal VRR fares apply. If platform 2 at Bochum Hbf is used, this would suggest joining the goods lines immediately east of Bochum Hbf before they pass under the main lines.

Kick-off times vary. See the Borussia Dortmund website for dates and times of home matches.

Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal – Kalkum

[415.1] (140D2) DE20/354

The original Düsseldorf Flughafen station, now known as Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal, is at the end of a short branch off the main line from Düsseldorf to Duisburg. Since the opening in 2000 of Düsseldorf Flughafen station on the main line, there has been no direct S-Bahn service between the original terminal station and Duisburg. The only train now to use the west to north curve off the branch to Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal is

SSuX RE26854 Dortmund Hbf – 03:22 Duisburg Hbf – Düsseldorf Hbf

Neuss avoiding line: Neuss Am Kaiser (Abzw Erftkanal) – Meerbusch-Osterath (Abzw Weißenberg)

[495] (140C3) DE20/355

This east to north curve is used by trains between Düsseldorf Hbf and Krefeld not calling at Neuss Hbf. These are the half-hourly (hourly at weekends) service between Düsseldorf Hbf and Kleve.

Neuss Pbf - Neuss Am Kaiser (Abzw Erftkanal)

[450.8/11/28, 485, 488] (140C3-140C4) DE20/356

Neuss station is in two parts, east and west, with separate approach tracks to each from the Düsseldorf, Grevenbroich and Köln lines. All S-Bahn trains, as well as all trains to/from Mönchengladbach, use the west side. Other trains, including all of those to and from Krefeld, use the east side. Therefore, most trains between Düsseldorf and Neuss use the west side, the exceptions using the east side being SSuX RB39 trains to and from Grevenbroich.

Köln Süd – Troisdorf (via Köln-Bonntor, Abzw Südbrücke and Gremberg Rbf)

[472] (146A3-148D2) DE20/357

This route over the Südbrücke enables trains via Bonn-Beuel or the Frankfurt Schnellfahrstrecke to arrive and depart at the west end of Köln Hbf.

Between Abzw Steinstraße (where the line from Südbrücke joins) and Troisdorf, trains from Südbrücke that do not use the Schnellfahrstrecke will use the goods line to the west of the high-speed line, rather than the local passenger line to the east of it.

Between 4 and 9 June 2020, ICE services between Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and Bruxelles-Midi are diverted via this route and the curve from Köln West to Köln-Ehrenfeld (DE20/358), calling at Köln-Ehrenfeld instead of Köln Hbf.

Köln-Ehrenfeld – Köln West

(146A2-146A3) DE20/358

This west to south curve links the Aachen and Koblenz lines west of Köln Hbf. It may be used by Alpen Express winter sports trains between Den Haag and Alpine resorts via Venlo.

Between 4 and 9 June 2020, ICE services between Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and Bruxelles-Midi are diverted via the Südbrücke (DE20/357) and this curve, calling at Köln-Ehrenfeld instead of Köln Hbf.


[481] (63A2) DE20/359

There is a triangular junction at Horrem station. Bedburg trains terminating and starting at Horrem use platform 10 on the north to west curve. These run hourly, Mondays to Fridays. Trains between Bedburg and Köln Hbf use platform 19 on the north to east curve. These run hourly every day.

Bonn-Beuel – Hangelar

(149A4-149B4) DE20/360

Trains operated by Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn usually provide a passenger service over this line in connection with the annual Pützchens Markt early in September. The 2020 event takes place from 11-15 September and the 2019 timetable can be found here. This entry will be updated with the 2020 times once they are available.

Obscure services: Lines used on an occasional basis for engineering work diversions

Buke - Langeland (Altenbeken Kurve)

[360.5, 430] (53C1) DE20/381

This south to east curve enables trains to run between the Warburg and Hameln lines without reversing at Altenbeken. It is used, particularly by overnight trains, when the classic line from Hannover via Göttingen is unavailable. One such train did so in late 2019.

Münster (Westf) avoiding line: Südmühle - Münster Kanal - Münster-Lechtenberg

[385, 410] (134C1-134C2) DE20/382

This line passes to the east of Münster and enables trains between the Osnabück and Hamm lines to avoid the Hauptbahnhof. It was booked to be used regularly by trains between Hannover and the Ruhr in late 2019 when they were diverted via Osnabrück but some ran non-stop via Münster (Westf) Hbf.

Further use of this route is planned for 9 to 15 May when EC/IC/ICE services between Hamburg and Köln or beyond are diverted this way, not calling at Münster (Westf) Hbf.

Minden (Westf) – Hamm (via Goods Line)

[370, 400] (41C1-52B1) DE20/383

Hamm to Minden is the longest quadruple line in Germany. Between Bielefeld and Gütersloh the goods lines fly over the passenger lines, and between Heessen and Ahlen they dive under. The goods lines are sometimes used by relief trains between Hannover and the Ruhr in order to overtake stopping services. They are also used when engineering work is taking place on the main line, which may be indicated by stopping trains being advertised not to call at certain stations.

Bridge works resulted in IC/ICE trains using the goods lines between crossovers north of Bielefeld Hbf and Brackwede in late 2019.

Hamm (Westf) (Hamm Rbf Hso) – Welver (Abzw Hamm Gallberg)

[415] (134B4) DE20/384

This curve (line 2921) links the lines from south and west of Hamm with the line to Soest and enables trains to run between the Dortmund area and Soest without reversing at Hamm (Westf) Bf. Its last scheduled use was by a Fridays and Sundays IC train from Düsseldorf to Leipzig during summer 2018.

Hamm (Westf) (Hamm Rbf Hde) - Horstmar - Recklinghausen Ost - Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord

[415, 450.9] (52B1-51B2) DE20/385

This east-west freight line runs to the north of the Ruhr conurbation. Trains between Hamm and Dortmund may be diverted via Abzw. Horstmar and Lünen Preußen when the main line via Kamen is blocked. Trains between Hamm and Gelsenkirchen may be diverted via Recklinghausen Ost and Wanne-Eickel, or the full route to Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord may be used.

From 1 May 2020, S9 services will commence running between Gladbeck West and Recklinghausen Hbf, thus restoring passenger service over the western end of this line between Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord and Abzw. Recklinghausen Blumenthal.

Dortmund-Mengede (Dortmund-Nette) - Dortmund-Deusen - Dortmund-Kirchderne

[411, 416] (139A1-139B2) DE20/386

This freight line round the north side of Dortmund links the lines to Wanne-Eickel and Münster. It may be used by trains diverted away from Dortmund Hbf. It was last used by a few IC trains in late 2018.

Oberhausen West - Duisburg-Wedau - Düsseldorf-Rath - Düsseldorf-Eller

[415] (141A4-137A2) DE20/387

This line, together with Hilden – Opladen, forms a freight route between Köln and Oberhausen, only limited sections of which are used by passenger trains. From Oberhausen West trains may run to a variety of places, including the Emmerich line, Bottrop Hbf, Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck and Essen-Bergeborbeck. It was used for numerous diversions by various connections on and off this route in summer 2019. The following routes, among others, are possible:

Essen-Bergeborbeck - Oberhausen West - Duisburg Hbf

Used by diverted trains between Gelsenkirchen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf, omitting Oberhausen Hbf.

Bottrop Hbf – Essen Prosper-Levin – Oberhausen West – Duisburg Hbf

Used by diverted trains between Hamm, Dortmund, Recklinghausen or Münster, running via DE20/385, and Duisburg Hbf, omitting calls in the Ruhr up to Oberhausen Hbf.

Essen-Bergeborbeck – Oberhausen West - Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath

Used by diverted trains between Gelsenkirchen Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf, omitting both Oberhausen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf.

On 21 March 2020, IC trains between Duisburg Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf will be diverted over the southern end of this route from Duisburg-Wedau, thus also doing the connecting line from Duisburg Hbf which no longer sees passenger service since the withdrawal of the Duisburg-Entenfang service in 2019.

Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck – Essen Prosper-Levin – Oberhausen West - Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath

Used by diverted trains between Wanne-Eickel Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf, omitting Gelsenkirchen Hbf, Oberhausen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf.

Bottrop Hbf – Essen Prosper-Levin – Oberhausen West - Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath

Used by diverted trains running via DE20/385, not stopping until Düsseldorf Hbf.

Bottrop Hbf - Oberhausen West - Moers (Meerbeck) and Trompet - Krefeld-Uerdingen

[415] (137A2-136C4) DE20/388

This route, avoiding the Duisburg area, is rarely used by passenger trains but was used for one IC train for much of 2019.

Oberhausen Hbf - Oberhausen West - Moers (Meerbeck) and Trompet - Krefeld-Uerdingen

[490] (137C2-136C4) DE20/388A

This route, most of which is in common with entry DE20/388 above, is used between 28 June and 10 August by diverted RB35 services. These run between Oberhausen Hbf (instead of Gelsenkirchen Hbf), Krefeld Hbf and Mönchengladbach Hbf, calling additionally at Moers. The usual stops between Duisburg Hbf and Krefeld-Hohenbudberg Chempark (inclusive) are omitted.

Hilden - Opladen

[415] (141B4-147C2) DE20/389

This freight line forms part of an alternative route between Düsseldorf and Köln, and is frequently used for diversions.

RE6 services between Köln/Bonn Flughafen and Minden are diverted this way between 15 December and 18 April, running non-stop between Köln Messe/Deutz low level (tief) and Düsseldorf Hbf, rather than the usual route via Köln Hbf and Neuss. Reports indicate that they may also do the connection between this route and the S-Bahn lines at Hilden.

It is also used by the following trains between 1 March and 12 December:

D SuO IC1910 München Hbf/Karlsruhe Hbf - 22:46 Köln Hbf - Dortmund Hbf
D FSX IC2020 Frankfurt (Main) Hbf - 02:10 (SSuX) Köln Hbf - Hamburg-Altona
D FSX IC2021 Hamburg-Altona - 02:39 (SSuX) Düsseldorf Hbf - Frankfurt (Main) Hbf

While IC2020/2021 run every night, on Friday and Saturday nights they take the regular route via Langenfeld.

Köln-Ehrenfeld – Köln-Nippes

(146A2) DE20/390

This west to north curve links the Aachen and Neuss lines west of Köln Hbf. It is not normally used by passenger trains, but for one week in October of both 2017 and 2018, Thalys services to and from Düsseldorf were diverted this way, not calling at Köln Hbf.

Meerbusch-Osterath (Krefeld-Lohbruch) – Krefeld-Linn

(140C1) DE20/391

This part of the line from Neuss to Duisburg does not have a regular passenger service. When engineering work restricts the available paths between Köln Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf, trains running non-stop from Köln Hbf to Duisburg Hbf may either run via Neuss and this line or use DE20/387. Trains starting or terminating in Köln Hbf may use either route but ones coming up the Rhine valley from Koblenz without sufficient time to reverse in Köln Hbf are more likely to use DE20/387.

Witten Hbf - Hagen-Vorhalle

(138D4-143A1) DE20/392

There are two routes between Witten Hbf and Hagen-Vorhalle. Passenger trains normally use the line via Wetter (Ruhr) to the east of the River Ruhr but may occasionally be diverted via the freight line west of the river. This occurred at weekends from 8 February until 3 May 2019.

Recklinghausen Hbf (Recklinghausen Blumenthal) - Gladbeck West (Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord)

(52B2-52C1) DE20/393

This is part of an alternative route for IC, ICE and EC services between Recklinghausen and Duisburg. It is largely in common with entry DE20/385.

A regular S9 service was due to commence over this route on 1 May 2020 but has been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This entry will be removed from future editions once the service commences.

Köln-Mülheim (Abzw Berliner Straße) – Köln Messe/Deutz

[415.Fer] (146C2-146C3) DE20/394

There is an alternative route between Köln-Mülheim and Köln Messe/Deutz, east of the S-Bahn tracks at Köln-Mülheim, then flying over most of the layout to the high-level platforms at Köln Messe/Deutz. No trains have been identified as using it in the current timetable.

Köln Frankfurter Straße (Abzw Vingst) – Köln-Kalk Nord - Köln-Mülheim

[zu400] (146C4-146C2) DE20/396

This is an alternative route route between Porz-Wahn and Köln-Mülheim which is more direct than that via Köln Messe/Deutz. It was used by one ICE train in early 2019. No services have been identified as using it in the current timetable.

See also