Leipzig–Dresden railway

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Leipzig Hbf–Riesa–Dresden-Neustadt
Route number: 500
Line number: 6363
Line length: 116.098
Track gauge: 1435
Voltage: 15 kV 16.7 Hz AC
Maximum incline: 0.7  %
Minimum radius: 270
Maximum speed: 200
-0.15 Leipzig Hbf 123 m
to Bitterfeld, Halle, Großkorbetha,
Gera and Hof
to Chemnitz
~3.40 Leipzig-Connewitz–Leipzig Hbf
3.50 Leipzig-Sellerhausen 125 m
from Torgauer Str junction
3.68 Püchauerstraße junction
4.69 Leipzig-Paunsdorf 130 m
from Leipzig-Wahren
~5.60 Engelsdorf KV junction
6.08 Industriegelände Ost
6.00 Engelsdorf freight yard
7.02 Engelsdorf 130 m
7.71 Engelsdorf Ost
8.59 Althen junction(freight line track to Borsdorf)
9.10 A14
11.45 Borsdorf (Sachs) 127 m
to Döbeln–Coswig
14.87 Gerichshain 140 m
16.10 Posthausen
17.70 Machern (Saxony) 142 m
~18.50 Machern crossover
19.18 Bk Zauche(closed 1996)
21.43 Altenbach 125 m
23.38 Bennewitz,formerly Wurzen West
24.66 Mulde bridge
25.70 Wurzen 124 m
to Glauchau
to Eilenburg
28.65 Kornhain D junction 140 m
32.62 Kühren 155 m
35.76 Dornreichenbach 152 m
43.24 Dahlen 154 m
52.79 Oschatz 128 m
Narrow gauge line to Mügeln and Strehla
53.24 Döllnitz bridge (Oschatz–Strehla narrow gauge line)
Schmorkau siding
strategic railway to Röderau
57.87 Bornitz (Oschatz)(former station)
65.15 Riesa Stw W5 junction
from Chemnitz and Nossen
65.87 Riesa 106 m
66.46 Elbe bridge
67.80 Flut bridge
68.30 Röderau Bogendreieck junction
to Falkenberg/Elster–Jüterbog
69.55 Zeithain Bogendreieck junction
to Elsterwerda
72.26 Glaubitz (bei Riesa) 100 m
74.80 Nünchritzsince 2003
77.41 Weißig (bei Großenhain)closed 2003
79.75 Weißig–Böhla connecting curve
from Cottbus
84.70 Priestewitz 147 m
92.94 Oberauer Tunnel (513 m; opened out 1933)
95.69 Niederau 133 m
97.50 Weinböhlasince 2002
98.60 Elbgaubad junction
Connecting curve to Neusörnewitz
from Leipzig–Meißen
100.26 Coswig B junction 113 m
101.93 Coswig (Dresden) 110 m
to Cossebaude–Dresden
Berlin–Dresden railway
103.84 Radebeul-Zitzschewig 110 m
from Berlin
104.24 Lößnitz junction
105.78 Radebeul West 113 m
107.78 Radebeul-Weintraube 114 m
Narrow gauge railway from Radeburg
109.45 Radebeul Ost 113 m
110.80 A4
111.57 Dresden-Trachau 115 m
112.91 Dresden-Pieschen junction
to Dresden-Neustadt Stw 8/6 junction
113.26 Dresden-Pieschen 115 m
from Görlitz
Connecting cureve to Dresden-Neustadt freight yard
115.94 Dresden-Neustadt 118 m
from Dresden-Pieschen junction
km-change LD/Děčín line
to Dresden Hbf–Děčín

The Leipzig–Dresden line is a German railway line. It was built by the Leipzig–Dresden Railway Company between 1837 and 1839. It was the first long-distance railway and the first railway using only steam traction in Germany. It also included the first standard gauge rail tunnel in continental Europe.


The line was built by the Leipzig–Dresden Railway Company (German: Leipzig-Dresdner Eisenbahn-Compagnie) established by twelve businessmen in 1835. It was brought into operation in several stages:

Temporary station restaurant at Althen with departing steam engine, around 1837
  • 1837, 24 April: Leipzig–Althen (10.60 km)
  • 1837, 12 November: Althen–Borsdorf–Gerichshain (4.32 km)
  • 1838, 11 May: Gerichshain–Machern (2.93 km)
  • 1838, 19 July: Weintraube–Dresden (8.18 km)
  • 1838, 31 July: Machern–Wurzen (8.00 km)
  • 1838, 16 September: WurzenDahlen (17.53 km)
  • 1838, 16 September: OberauCoswig–Weintraube (13.44 km)
  • 1838, 3 November: Dahlen–Oschatz (9.56 km)
  • 1838, 21 November: Oschatz–Riesa (13.07 km)
  • 1839, 7 April: Riesa–Oberau (28.45 km)

On 7 April 1839, on the completion of the Elbe bridge at Riesa, the entire route from Leipzig to Dresden was finally opened. It included the 513 metre long Oberau Tunnel, the first standard gauge rail tunnel in continental Europe. It was preceded only by the Prince William Railway, a narrow-gauge plateway opened in 1831 and the Bavarian Ludwig Railway opened in 1835, which was a short line and was initially operated largely by horse-drawn trains, partly because it was located a long way from coal fields and no railways existed to convey coal to Nuremberg. In contrast the Leipzig–Dresden Railway used only steam traction from its beginning.

The Leipzig–Dresden Railway Company was nationalised in 1876 and became part of Royal Saxon State Railways. On 4 December 1915, the new unified Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (central station) opened; it including a Saxon section, which included the terminus of the line to Dresden.

After the First World War[edit]

1 April 1920 were the Royal Saxon State Railways (recently renamed the Saxon State Railway) were absorbed into the newly established German National Railways (Deutsche Reichsbahn). The Leipzig-Dresden line came under the administration of the Dresden Reichsbahn Directorate.

North portal of the Oberau Tunnel

From 1 July 1933 to July 1934 the Oberau Tunnel was opened up and turned into a cutting, because the tunnel was not wide enough as the loading gauges was increased. Previously the distance between the two tracks in the tunnel did not allow two trains to pass.

The line in the communist era[edit]

In 1946 one of the two tracks was removed to provide the route as reparations to the Soviet Union. Even the previously four-track section between Coswig and Dresden-Neustadt was reduced to only one track. This meant that one of the most important main lines in Germany was reduced to only a fraction of its former performance. Temporarily trains were run one way from Leipzig and Dresden, while in the other direction they ran via Meissen and Döbeln.

In the early 1960s began the plans to electrify the route as part of the section Saxon triangle. In 1969 and 1970, the line was electrified and the second line was reinstalled throughout. The table below shows the dates of the completion of the electrification:

Opening Section Comment
25 September 1969 Leipzig Hbf–Wurzen
28 September 1969 Riesa–Dresden-Neustadt
31 May 1970 Wurzen–Riesa
10 May 1974 Althen–Borsdorf junction Freight tracks

Rebuilding since 1990[edit]

Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the beginning of moves towards German reunification, a high-speed line was planned between Leipzig and Dresden. Initially this provided for a continuous new alignment, but those plans were later reduced to the extensive redevelopment of the existing line in order to save costs. The redevelopment of the line was in the 1992 Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan as a new project and included as German Unity Transport Project No. 9.

Work began in May 1993, on the rebuilding of the existing line between Weißig and Priestewitz and a, little later, on the section between Leipzig-Ost and Engelsdorf and on bridge work between Wurzen and Oschatz. In 1996 at Oschatz the first Electronic interlocking in Saxony was put into operation.

The total estimated cost of the project is €1,451 million (as at July 2008), of which €775 million had been spent by end of 2007.[1]


  1. ^ "Sachstandsbericht Verkehrsprojekte Deutsche Einheit (Progress report German Unity Transport Projects)" (PDF) (in German). Federal Ministry of Transport, Construction and Urban Affairs. July 2008. 


  • Becher, Udo (1981). Die Leipzig-Dresdner Eisenbahn-Compagnie (The Leipzig-Dresden Railway Company) (in German). Berlin: transpress VEB Verlag für Verkehrswesen. 
  • v. Fritz Borchert, ed. (1989). Die Leipzig-Dresdner Eisenbahn, Anfänge und Gegenwart einer 150-jährigen (The Leipzig-Dresden Railway, beginnings and the present of a 150-year-old) (in German). Berlin: transpress VEB Verlag für Verkehrswesen,. ISBN 3-344-00354-2. 
  • Schlegel, Gerhard, ed. (1989). Panorama der Eisenbahn zwischen Leipzig und Dresden (Panorama of the railway between Leipzig and Dresden) (in German). Berlin/Leipzig: Koedition der Verlage transpress, Berlin und Tourist. ISBN 3-344-00348-8. , Reprint of an original from 1839
  • Der Tag des Dampfrosses – Die Jungfernfahrt zwischen Leipzig und Althen am 24. April 1837 auf der ersten deutschen Ferneisenbahnstrecke (The day of the steam horse - The first trip between Leipzig and Althen on 24 April 1837 of the first German long-distance railway) (in German). Hrsg. Pro Leipzig e. V. 2006. ISBN 978-3-936508-22-2. 
    Riesa junction, Chemnitz to the left, Leipzig to the right