Quedlinburg station with transfer to HSB
|Line number:||6404 (Magdeburg–Halberstadt)
The Magdeburg–Thale railway is a predominantly single-track, non-electrified main line railway that connects Thale, in the northern Harz, with Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony-Anhalt. Its eastern section between Magdeburg and Halberstadt was opened in 1843 and it is one of the oldest railways in Germany.
The Magdeburg-Halberstadt Railway Company (German: Magdeburg-Halberstädter Eisenbahngesellschaft, MHE) opened the Magdeburg–Halberstadt line on 15 July 1843. The secondary line from Halberstadt to Thale was opened 19 years later, in 1862.
In 1967, the Langenweddingen rail disaster occurred on the line, the worst in the history of East Germany. The accident involved a bi-level train hitting a tanker truck at a level crossing, resulting in an explosion that killed 94 people, many of them children on their way to a summer camp in the Harz mountains.
In the 1970s, four pairs of trains per day ran on the Magdeburg–Halberstadt section to or from Berlin, with some coaches to or from Thale. On 29 October 1988, the last scheduled steam-hauled train operated by East Germany railways ran between Thale and Halberstadt.
In 1992, trains operated every two hours between Halberstadt, Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder) with trains stopping at all stations between Magdeburg and Thale; some additional services operated in busy periods. In 1995 long-distance services between Magdeburg and Halberstadt were stopped completely and were replaced by Regional-Express services, operating hourly.
The track is not electrified, except for the short section between Magdeburg Hauptbahnhof and Magdeburg-Buckau. It has duplicated sections from Hadmersleben to shortly before Oschersleben and between Krottorf and Groß Quenstedt. The section between Halberstadt and Wegeleben is also duplicated, as part of the upgrading of the Halle–Halberstadt railway for tilting train operations. The rest of the line is single track.
Magdeburg's main railway station was opened in 1873.
Oschersleben station is the most important station on the line to Halberstadt. It was built together with the construction of the line to Brunswick. The southern side of the V-shaped station serves trains to Halberstadt and the northern side formerly served trains to Jerxheim and Brunswick and the trains of the Oschersleben-Schöningen Railway Company. The station building is located between the tracks and originally contained the customs and passport control facilities for travelling between the Duchy of Brunswick and the Kingdom of Prussia. After the division of Germany after 1945, the route to Jerxheim was closed and in consequence the northern side of the station lost most of its purpose. Until 1991, a few daily passenger trains shuttled from there to the border town of Gunsleben. In recent years a few trains from Magdeburg terminated on the north side of the station. Meanwhile, the tracks and the large reception hall on the north side are virtually unused.
Halberstadt station is a major transfer point to the northern Harz rail network. There are interchanges to Halle, Magdeburg, Hanover, Thale, Hildesheim, Goslar and Blankenburg. Halberstadt station is also connected to the local tram and bus networks. The railway tracks in Halberstadt station were modernized in recent years.
Wegeleben station used to have a lobby and a restaurant. After the change passenger numbers decreased and these facilities were closed. Further modifications were made, and in 2007 the station was modernized. It now has two platforms, a bypass track and new signalling systems.
Quedlinburg station was built in 1863 as a through station. In 2004 the Frose–Quedlinburg line closed. In 2006 the extension of the metre gauge Selke Valley Railway was opened from Gernrode by adapting the abandoned standard gauge line. Thus, it is possible to change to narrow gauge trains to Gernrode and Eisfelder Talmühle. Platform 1 west from 1908 to 1969 served the line to Thale Bodetal and Blankenburg.
Neinstedt station formerly had two platform tracks and freight tracks, but now has only one track. The former station building, which included a restaurant, was demolished in spring 2009.
Thale Musestieg station was opened on 18 December 2001.
The Thale station is a terminus built directly on the edge of the Harz. In 1907 an additional station was opened at Thale-Bodetal. From the Thale station there was once a connection through the Thale steel works to the adjacent line to Blankenburg. Of its three platforms only one is now used for scheduled services.
- Klappentext zu Dirk Endisch: Die Hauptstrecke Halberstadt–Thale
- "German train crash near Magdeburg leaves 10 dead". BBC News Online. January 30, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2011.
- Hein, Dörthe; Thomas Struk (30 January 2011). "Hordorf erschüttert: Tragisches Zugunglück gibt viele Rätsel auf". Hamburger Abendblatt (in German). Retrieved 30 January 2011. "Laut Polizei wurden 23 Menschen verletzt, einige von ihnen schwer, darunter soll ein zehnjähriges Mädchen sein [According to the police 23 persons were injured, some of them severely, allegedly a ten-year-old girl is among them]."
- Press release 01/77