Main-Lahn Railway

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Main-Lahn Railway
Main-Lahn-Bahn OpenStreetMap.png
Native name Main-Lahn-Bahn
Type Heavy rail, passenger rail,
regional rail, commuter rail
Status Operational
Locale Hesse, Germany
Termini Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
Stations 21
Line number 3610
Opened Stages between 1875-1877
Owner Deutsche Bahn
Operator(s) DB Bahn
Line length 66.5 km (41.3 mi)
Number of tracks Double track
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 15 kV/16.7 Hz AC overhead
Operating speed 120 km/h (75 mph)
Route number
  • 627
  • 645.2 (S Bahn)
Route map
Lahn Valley Railway from Koblenz
Limburg–Altenkirchen Railway to Au (Sieg) and
Limburg-Staffel–Siershahn Railway
Limburg (Lahn)
Cologne–Frankfurt HSL
66.5 Eschhofen
Lahn Valley Railway to Wetzlar
63.4 Lindenholzhausen
60.8 Niederbrechen
58.2 Oberbrechen
54.1 Niederselters
49.3 Bad Camberg
44,6 Wörsdorf
39.7 Idstein (Taunus)
36.5 Niederseelbach (1903–1971)
31.9 Niedernhausen (Taunus) terminus of S2Frankfurt S2.svg
Ländches Railway to Wiesbaden
28.6 Eppstein-Niederjosbach
27.1 Eppstein-Bremthal (since 2001)
(new tunnel, in operation since Easter 2013)
25.7 Eppstein Tunnel (new 338 m, old 200 m)
(new tunnel, in operation since Easter 2013)
25.4 Eppstein
21.2 Lorsbach
17.0 Hofheim (Taunus)
14.6 Kriftel
12.4 Frankfurt-Zeilsheim (since May 2007)
11.3 Frankfurt-Höchst Farbwerke Ültg junction
Taunus Railway from Wiesbaden S1Frankfurt S1.svg
10.4 Frankfurt-Höchst Farbwerke
Königstein Railway from Königstein
9.3 Frankfurt-Höchst
Soden Railway to Bad Soden
Taunus Railway to Frankfurt Hbf (regional traffic)
7.140 Frankfurt-Nied
4.455 Frankfurt-Griesheim
City Link Line to Osthafen
from Mainzer Landstraße
to/from Niederrad
Frankfurt am Main Kleyerstraße
(flying junction) Frankfurt Airport loop S8Frankfurt S8.svgS9Frankfurt S9.svg
Main Railway from Niederrad
Taunus Railway from Frankfurt-Höchst
Homburg embankment from Mainzer Landstraße
5.494 Frankfurt (Main) Außenbahnhof
to Galluswarte
Main-Neckar Bridge– Galluswarte line
1,130 Frankfurt (Main) Hoch/Tief (Bft of Ffm Hbf)
Main-Weser Railway from Gießen
from Galluswarte S3Frankfurt S3.svg S4Frankfurt S4.svg S5Frankfurt S5.svg S6Frankfurt S6.svg
Frankfurt City Tunnel
Homburg Railway from Westbf S3Frankfurt S3.svg S4Frankfurt S4.svg S5Frankfurt S5.svg S6Frankfurt S6.svg
0.000 Frankfurt (Main) Hbf (tief)
Frankfurt (Main) Hbf north side
Source: German railway atlas[1]
Main-Lahn railway near Idstein

The Main-Lahn railway (German: Main-Lahn-Bahn), also called the Limburg railway (Limburger Bahn), is a double-track, electrified main railway line in Germany. The 66.5-kilometer (41.3 mi) long line extends from Frankfurt Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to Eschhofen, a borough of Limburg an der Lahn.

From Frankfurt to Niedernhausen, it operates as Rhine-Main S-Bahn S-2 and carries Deutsche Bahn route number 645.2. From Frankfurt Central Station to Frankfurt-Höchst, it also carries S-Bahn S-1 (which then follows the Taunus railway to Wiesbaden). From Niedernhausen to Eschhofen, it takes over Route number 627 from the Ländches Railway (Ländchesbahn). From Eschhofen, the line leads into the Lahn Valley Railway (Lahntalbahn).


Eschhofen station

A middle route through the Taunus between the Main and Lahn River valleys had been considered since 1850. However, construction was only begun under Prussian rule on 25 March 1872. The concession was awarded to the Hessian Ludwig Railway (Hessische Ludwigsbahn, or HLB). The construction began from Eschhofen and each finished section initially served mainly to transport material to the construction further forward.

The first section between Eschhofen and Niederselters was opened to traffic on February 1, 1875. The entire track was completed on 15 October 1877. The line from Niedernhausen to Wiesbaden Central Station, called the Ländchesbahn Railway, was launched on 1 July 1879.

Between 1911 and 1913, the single-track line was converted to double track. In 1971, the track was electrified between Frankfurt-Höchst and Niedernhausen, and in 1986 between Niedernhausen and Limburg.

Eastern portal of the old Eppstein tunnel

Starting in 2009 the tunnel in Eppstein was replaced with a new tunnel because the old tunnel needed to be restored urgently and doing this with full operation of services would have led to years of disruption of rail services. In addition, a new tunnel would be cheaper in the long run, as a new concrete lining inside the tunnel would reduce the cross-section to the extent that it could no longer be operated as two tracks, and therefore a new tunnel would have to be built for traffic in the opposite direction anyway. The line was rerouted through the new tunnel during the Easter of 2013 and the old tunnel was subsequently filled.

In this context, Eppstein station is being rebuilt. The old station, which is a heritage-listed building, is no longer used by the railway. It was refurbished in 2007 and is now used as a government shopfront and a restaurant. The freight hall, which was also a heritage-listed building, has been demolished.


The operation of steam locomotives ended in 1972. In 1978, S-Bahn line S 2 opened between Frankfurt Hbf and Niedernhausen. The S-Bahn line is operated with class 423 electric multiple units. Regionalbahn RB 22 (hourly) and Regional-Express RE 20 (every two hours on weekdays) services have been operated mainly by DB Regio with class 143 locomotives since early 2006 and modern double-deck carriages since 2008. In addition RB 21 services run every two hours (less on the weekend) on the section from Limburg to Niedernhausen are operated with Siemens Desiro Classic sets by Hessische Landesbahn, continuing over the Ländches Railway to Wiesbaden.


  1. ^ Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (German railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2009. pp. 76, 152. ISBN 978-3-89494-139-0. 


  • Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Hessen, ed. (2005). Eisenbahn in Hessen. Kulturdenkmäler in Hessen. Denkmaltopographie Bundesrepublik Deutschland (in German). 2.1. Stuttgart: Theiss Verlag. pp. 501ff (line 032). ISBN 3-8062-1917-6. 
  • Heinz Hirt (2002). 1877–2002 – 125 Jahre Main-Lahn-Bahn Höchst-Limburg (in German). Eppstein (Taunus). ISBN 3-00-010714-2. 
  • Heinz Hirt, ed. (2007). 130 Jahre Bahnhof Eppstein. Vom provisorischen Stationsgebäude 1877 zum modernen Stadtbahnhof 2007 (in German). Eppstein. ISBN 978-3-00-022577-2. 
  • Dieter Frey (2008). Von der Dampflok zum ICE-Zeitalter. Über 130 Jahre Eisenbahn im Idsteiner Land (in German). 

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