Danube Valley Railway (Bavaria)
|Danube Valley Railway (Bavaria)|
|Other name(s)||Regensburg–Neuoffingen Railway|
|Native name||Donautalbahn (Bayern)|
|Type||Heavy rail, Passenger/Freight rail
|Line number||5851 (Regensburg–Ingolstadt)
|Rolling stock||Alstom Coradia Continental|
|Line length||171.4 km (106.5 mi)|
|Number of tracks||Single track|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||15 kV/16.7 Hz|
|Operating speed||140 km/h (87 mph)|
|Danube Valley Railway (Bavaria)|
The Danube Valley Railway (German: Donautalbahn; KBS 993) in Bavaria in southern Germany is the railway line that runs from Regensburg via Ingolstadt and Donauwörth to Ulm, just over the Bavarian border in Baden-Württemberg.
The section between Regensburg and Ingolstadt was also listed as timetable route no. KBS 992. In 1967 this section of the line was route no. KBS 412 and the Ingolstadt–Neuoffingen section was no. 411e. Neuoffingen–Ulm was included in the timetable as no. 410 Augsburg–Ulm.
The construction of the Regensburg–Ingolstadt railway was originally carried out primarily for military reasons. On 29 April 1869 the law for its construction was passed; the official opening took place on 1 June 1874.
The precise route was initially contested. The towns of Kelheim and Abensberg both wanted a direct railway link. The Kelheim option would have involved the construction of an expensive tunnel; as a result of which Abensberg eventually won the day. As compensation a 5.5 km long stub line was built between Saal and Kelheim, that was ceremoniously opened on15 February 1875. Passenger services on this branch were withdrawn in 1986.
The line between Regensburg and Ingolstadt is 73.4 km long and mostly single-tracked, although the trackbed was prepared for two tracks. Between the stations of Sinzing and Gundelshausen a (initially provisional) passing loop was built at the start of the Second World War at the village of Matting.
Shortly before the end of the war in 1945 the two bridges over the Danube at Sinzing and Poikam were blown by the Wehrmacht. They quickly underwent makeshift repairs, however, and as early as August of the same year the entire route was usable again.
The decision to make the region around Ingolstadt a centre for the German petrochemical industry was the main factor in giving the railway a renewed importance. The track, ballast and signalling were replaced, as was the Sinzing Bridge, and several sections of the Poikam Bridge were renovated. On 29 September 1978 the line was electrified.
In addition to the above-mentioned branch line between Saal and Kelheim there were several other spurs, including:
- the Laaber Valley Railway between Sinzing and Alling (opened on 20 December 1875, closed on 31 December 1985), 4.2 km long
- a branch line from Saal to Kelheim (length 4.6 km), a section of which is still used as a siding to an industrial estate and the port.
- a narrow gauge spur between Abensberg station and the quarry at Offenstetten.
The line continuously follows the course of the Danube and crosses it five times between Regensburg and Ulm. The Danube bridges at Sinzing and in Donauwörth are the most imposing structures along the line.
The passenger halt at Sinzing station was closed in December 2005 following the construction of a new halt, more central to the town, just a few metres from the southern approach to the station on the open line.
Until the end of 2010 Push-pull trains were used with converted Silberlings, that usually consist of three coaches. The Class 111 locomotives in charge are invariably at the western, i.e. the Ingolstadt, end of the train.
From the timetable change on 14 December 2008 about half of all the push-pull trains were temporarily hauled by push-pull capable Class 110 locomotives, because a number of the previously employed Class 111's were needed to replace the Fugger-Express in the area of Augsburg.
The entire line is single-tracked and electrified as far as Günzburg and is classed as a main line. The braking distance for the Regensburg-Ingolstadt section is 1000 m throughout and the speed limit is 120 km/h.
The whole line from Regensburg to Ulm is part of the Regensburg Star network (Regensburger Stern) announced on April 2007, the franchise for which was won by the railway operator, BeNEX, on December 2007. The aim of the competition was an expansion and modernisation of local public transport services on the lines radiating from Regensburg to Landshut, Neumarkt and Plattling as well as the Danube Valley Railway itself. BeNEX intended to run up to 20% more trains than hitherto. Additional trains were put on especially at peak times, in the evening and at weekends. On the Danube Valley Railway there is also an option to operate a two-hourly RE service. The introduction of new services between Regensburg and Ingolstadt and the other lines of the Regensburg Star took place on the timetable change on 12 December 2010, those on the Danube Valley Railway from Ingolstadt to Ulm in December 2011. The trains are Alstom Coradia Continental trains run by Agilis.
The Danube Valley Railway is also especially important for goods traffic, especially with regard to the oil refineries at Ingolstadt, Vohburg, Münchsmünster and Neustadt an der Donau. The line is also very important for the Audi factory in Ingolstadt and the Danube ports in Kelheim and Regensburg.
In the early 1990s the line between Hauptbahnhof Ingolstadt and Weichering station was completely rerouted. Previously, it departed from the station northwards and crossed the city in a great loop; today the line is directly connected to the south. The newly routed line runs initially on both sides of the high-speed line from Ingolstadt to Munich. Trains on the Danube Valley Railway regularly use the eastern track in both directions. The western track is primarily used by the trains on the Paar Valley Railway that, since the re-routing, runs on the Danube Valley Railway as far as the Seehof depot. Seehof station also has two tracks as well as various crossovers between the two lines. After Seehof, the Paar Valley Railway separates out and from here on the line is single-tracked to Weichering station, where the original trackbed, which to that point has been completely dismantled, is used again after the entry signal.
The scheduled crossing station for Regionalbahn trains on this section of line is Unterhausen. This station still has set of sidings for the private goods wagon repair shop there (mainly for tanker wagons). On Saturdays as well as Sundays and holidays no crossing is required as the services are two-hourly. The braking distance between Weichering and Rain is shorter, only 700 m, otherwise it is 1000 m. The speed limit is 140 km/h.
Between 1906 and 1972 there was another line, the Härtsfeld Railway, from Dillingen to Aalen, to which Lauingen was also linked by a second station. This narrow gauge line was also dismantled after services had been withdrawn, but since 2001 a section of it has been rebuilt by the Härtsfeld Museum Railway and operated as a museum line.
The end of the Bavarian Danube Valley Railway is actually at Neuoffingen. It is here that the double-tracked (Munich–) Augsburg–Ulm (–Stuttgart) main line is reached; thereafter its shares the line to its destinations at Günzburg and Ulm.
For the timetable change on 10 December 2006 a new, more modern and disabled-friendly platform was taken into service at Schwenningen. Previously Schwenningen had a double platform, which was separated by the level crossing with the road to Wolpertstetten. The trains had to stop before the crossing. Due to the modernisation of the crossing and the platform this is no longer necessary, so that now a single platform on the eastern side of the road is sufficient.
In November 2007 work finished on the Nersingen–Ulm section as part of the Neu-Ulm 21 project. The main aim of the work was the construction of the new Neu-Ulm station, complete with extensive track changes, such as the four tracked upgrade of the Danube Bridge at Ulm. On 17/18. March 2007 the new Neu-Ulm station was opened, albeit at the time only the two regional tracks were in service; the two long-distance tracks were ready at the end of November 2007.
Regionalbahn through trains to and from Regensburg only run on this section on weekdays, usually hourly to Günzburg; the through connexion to Ulm is usually every 2 hours. At weekends and holidays RE trains, consisting of double-decker coach hauled by Class 146.2 locomotives from Stuttgart run through to and from Stuttgart, Heilbronn or Mosbach-Neckarelz.
Passenger trains between Donauwörth and Günzburg are scheduled to cross at Dillingen. At weekends and holidays this crossing is not required however. The braking distances on the route are up to 1000 m, with the exception of the Dillingen–Höchstädt section in the direction of Donauwörth, where it is only 700 m. The speed limit is 140 km/h.
- List of scheduled railway routes in Germany
- Danube Valley Railway (Baden-Württemberg)
- Härtsfeld Railway
- „Bahn in Nordschwaben“: linenbeschreibung and Fahrzeugeinsatz between Ingolstadt and Neuoffingen
-  "BeNEX": Großer Erfolg in Süddeutschland - Sieg bei Ausschreibung des Regensburger Regionalnetzes inkl. Danube Valley Railway
- Bilder der Tunnelportale, linenteil 5302
- Abensberger Impressionen - Old Images of the Danube Valley Railway
- Regensburger Eisenbahnfreunde RSWE e. V.: Eisenbahnknoten Regensburg, transpress Verlag Stuttgart, ISBN 3-613-71135-4