Hamburg-Altona–Kiel railway

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Altona-Kieler Eisenbahn Karte.png
Locale Schleswig-Holstein
Line number 1220
Line length 105.6 km (65.6 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Route number 131
Route map
 Operating points and lines[1] 
Kiel, old station(1844-1899)
105.6 Kiel Hauptbahnhofsince 1 June 1899
to Flensburg and to Rendsburg
to Lübeck
101.5 Meimersdorf marshaling yard
100.0 Meimersdorf
95.3 Flintbek
86.6 Bordesholm
80.7 Einfeld
from Flensburg
from Heide
from Ascheberg
74.7 Neumünster
73.2 to Bad Oldesloe
and AKN line to Henstedt-Ulzburg
Blockstelle Padenstedt
66.6 Arpsdorf
60.5 Brokstedt
from Itzehoe
54.2 Wrist
42.4 Dauenhof
36.2 Horst (Holst)
31.3 from Barmstedt
31.0 from Glückstadt
30.7 Elmshorn
23.2 Tornesch
19.1 from Uetensen
19.3 Prisdorf
15.9 Pinneberg
14.3 Thesdorf
12.0 Halstenbek
11.0 Bickbargen crossover
9.6 Krupunder
SHHamburg state border
7.4 Elbgaustraße/Hamburg-Eidelstedt freight yard
AKN line from Henstedt-Ulzburg
to freight bypass
6.2 Eidelstedt
4.1 Stellingen/Hamburg-Langenfelde Bbf
2.6 Langenfelde
1.4 Diebsteich
0.9 underpass
Link line
from Blankenese
Altona Harbour Railway
0.7 Hamburg-Altona
0.0 Altona(old station)

The Hamburg–Altona–Kiel railway (Danish: Christian VIII. Østersø Jernbane) is the oldest railway line in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Today, it connects Hamburg, Neumünster and Kiel. It is one of the first railways in Germany. When it opened in 1844, Altona and Kiel were the largest cities in the Duchy of Holstein. The line is now owned by DB Netz.


Kiel station

The route begins at the terminal station of Hamburg-Altona. This line runs parallel to the route of Hamburg S-Bahn lines S3 and S21.

The first stop on the main line is Pinneberg, which provides interchange with the S-Bahn. The Marsh Railway to the North Sea coast and the line to Henstedt-Ulzburg branch from Elmshorn.

Further north in Neumünster the line connects to Flensburg, to Heide and Büsum and to Bad Oldesloe. Freight and express trains to Scandinavia do not continue towards Kiel, but instead run on the continuously electrified line from Neumünster to the Danish border at Flensburg. Regional services run from Kiel to Lübeck and to Flensburg.


Hamburg-Altona-Kiel line with branches to Elmshorn to Glückstadt) and Neumünster to Rendsburg in 1849

The line was built by the Altona-Kiel Railway Company (Altona-Kieler Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, AKE). Construction commenced in 1842 and the line opened on 18 September 1844. The company’s operations were taken over by the Prussian state railways in 1884.

The opening of the Hamburg-Altona link line in 1866 made it possible for the first time for trains from Kiel to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof. However, the facilities at Kiel could not handle main line trains suitable for operations to Hamburg. Moreover, the older residents of Holstein preferred to travel to the Holstein town of Altona, rather than the "big city" of Hamburg.

On 24 September 1995, the 109 kilometre long line was put into electric operations. The travel time between Hamburg and Kiel was shortened by up to 38 minutes. For the first time, two pairs of Intercity-Express trains served Kiel daily.


  1. ^ Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (German railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2009. ISBN 978-3-89494-139-0.