|Iller Valley Railway: Neu-Ulm–Kempten|
|Line length||86.65 km (53.84 mi)|
|Number of tracks||1|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||140 km/h (87 mph) (maximum)|
The Neu-Ulm–Kempten railway is a mostly single track and non-electrified main line from Neu-Ulm via Memmingen to Kempten in the German state of Bavaria. It follows the Iller river for its entire length and is therefore also called the Iller Valley Railway (German: Illertalbahn). The line from Neu-Ulm to Kellmünz is integrated in the Donau-Iller-Nahverkehrsverbund (Danube-Iller Local Transport Association, DING). It is listed in the timetable under the number of 975; between New Ulm and Memmingen it is also served by services running on route 756.
Kempten citizens proposed a railway line to Ulm via Memmingen in 1843, as the construction of dams and water mills during the period of industrialisation had ended raft traffic on the river Iller and road transport was not viable. The Bavarian government, however, was not interested in further construction in this area.
Because Memmingen was not then included in plans for the first railways in the country, the city took the initiative to build the Iller Valley Railway. It granted a concession on 13 September 1861 for the original 85.0 km long route that branched off the state railway from Neu-Ulm and ran up the river to Kempten. It advanced a loan of about 3.5 million guilders and was responsible for land acquisition and construction activities. The first section was opened to Memmingen on 12 October 1862 and the second section was opened on 1 June 1863. To finance the construction of the line, the cities of Memmingen and Kempten established a private company with a loan.
The State Railways acquired the rolling stock and ran operations on the line, which it leased. Because of the more than local importance of the railway, Bavaria acquired it on 12 April 1876 and the private company was therefore relieved of its mortgage.
Since the completion of the Neu-Ulm 21 project in 2009, the Neu-Ulm-Kempten line has been duplicated from Neu-Ulm Finningerstraße station to Neu-Ulm station. The continuation of the line over the Danube has also been duplicated so that the line runs to Ulm Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) independently of the Augsburg-Ulm railway.
Deutsche Bahn plans to upgrade the line for a top speed of 160 km/h. This would require the closure of some smaller crossings and adjustments at the remaining crossings, which may be delayed due to complaints.
It is envisaged that the Ulm-Memmingen section will be integrated in the proposed Danube-Iller Regional S-Bahn.
The line is served by a Regionalbahn (RB) service, with some trains continuing on the Leutkirch–Memmingen railway and the Württemberg Allgäu Railway to Aulendorf, and a Regional-Express (RE) service. Both run hourly.
Regionalbahn services depart every hour from Ulm Central Station to Memmingen, continuing every two hours to Aulendorf, and usually stopping at all intermediate stations, except Gerlenhofen station, which is served by some services. The trains consist of diesel railcars of classes 628 or 650. Individual services, especially in the off-peak or additional peak hour services are operated by trains composed of Silberling carriages hauled by class 218 locomotives or diesel multiple units of class 612, 611 or 642.
Regional-Express runs from Ulm to Kempten, alternately continuing to Oberstdorf. The Regional-Express services running to Kempten stop at Illertissen; the others run without stopping from Ulm to Memmingen. All stops are served after Memmingen. It is planned to increase the line speed to allow services to stop in Illertissen every hour.
The trains consist of class 612 diesel railcars or Silberling carriages hauled by class 218 locomotives.
A pair of Intercity trains called Allgäu run from Hanover via Ulm to Oberstdorf and back. The trains runs from Ulm as Regional-Express services and can be used with local tickets. Between Stuttgart and Immenstadt it is hauled by two diesel locomotives of class 218.
- Alexander Schatz (2009-12-05). "Vgl. Streckenkunde KBS 975" (in German). Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (German railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2009. ISBN 978-3-89494-139-0.
- Volker Dotterweich, Karl Filser; et al., eds. (1989). Geschichte der Stadt Kempten (in German). Kempten: Dannheimer. p. 385. ISBN 3-88881-011-6.
- "Das Projekt Neu-Ulm 21" (in German). City of Neu-Ulm. June 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
- "Auf der Illertal-Strecke sollen Bahn-Übergänge schnelleren Zügen weichen". Augsburger Allgemeine (in German). 20 February 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Bauern bleiben bei Protest". Südwest Presse (in German). 17 January 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
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