Main–Spessart railway

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Main-Spessart Railway
Native name Main-Spessart-Bahn
Type Heavy rail, Passenger/freight rail
Regional rail, Intercity rail
Status Operational
Locale Bavaria
Termini Würzburg Hbf.
Hanau Hbf.
Stations 25
Line number 5200 (Würzburg–Aschaffenburg)
3660 (Aschaffenburg–Hanau)
Opened 1 October 1854 (1854-10-01)
Owner Deutsche Bahn
Operator(s) DB Bahn
Rolling stock ICE 2, ICE 3
DB Class 101
DB Class 111, DB Class 440
Line length 112.5 km (69.9 mi)
No. of tracks Double track
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 15 kV/16.7 Hz AC catenary
Route number 800 (Würzburg–Aschaffenburg)
640 (Aschaffenburg–Hanau)
Route map
from Treuchtlingen
from Stuttgart
from Nuremberg and from Bamberg
0,0 Würzburg Hauptbahnhof
high-speed line to Hannover Hauptbahnhof
3,9 Würzburg-Zell
Würzburg-Zell marshalling yard(until 2005)
Hanover–Würzburg high-speed railway
7,0 Veitshöchheim
10,1 Erlabrunn
12,8 Thüngersheim
16,5 Retzbach-Zellingen
18,6 Himmelstadt
24,4 Karlstadt (Main)
29,2 Gambach
34,0 Wernfeld(since 2004)
34,7 Wernfeld
35,7 Wern Valley Railway from Waigolshausen(goods traffic only)
37,8 Gemünden (Main)
Franconian Saale Valley Railway to Bad Kissingen
38,9 Fulda-Main railway to Fulda / Schlüchtern
40,6 Fulda-Main railway from Fulda / Schlüchtern
Hanover–Würzburg high-speed railway
41,0 Langenprozelten
Bundesstraße 26
45,1 Neuendorf
46,8 Nantenbach Curve from high-speed line
51,4 Lohr (Main) station
51,5 East Spessart Railway to Lohr Süd industrial estate
   (remainder of line to Wertheim closed)
57,9 Partenstein
Bundesstraße 276
65,5 Wiesthal
71,9 Heigenbrücken
72,3 Schwarzkopf Tunnel(926 m long)
73,2 Heigenbrücken West
Spessart Ramp
Bundesstraße 26
Bundesstraße 26
78,8 Laufach
Bundesstraße 26
Bundesautobahn 3
82,7 Hösbach station
83,3 Hösbach Ort(planned)
86,1 Aschaffenburg-Goldbach(planned)
Bundesstraße 26
86,3 Main Valley Railway from Miltenberg
Aschaffenburg Hauptbahnhof
43,2 Rhine-Main Railway to Darmstadt
38,9 Rhine-Main Railway from Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof
Bundesautobahn 3
36,9 Kleinostheim
34,7 Rückersbach Gorge
Bundesautobahn 45
31,8 Dettingen (Main)
Kahlgrund Railway from Schöllkrippen
27,4 Kahl (Main)
Bundesstraße 8
Bavaria / Hesse state border
25,3 Großkrotzenburg
Industrial siding to Staudingen power station
Kinzig Valley Railway to Fulda(Rauschwald branch)
21,8 Großauheim
Odenwald Railway from Wiebelsbach-Heubach
Kinzig Valley Railway from Fulda
20,0 Hanau Hauptbahnhof
Continuation: Frankfurt-Hanau Railway

The Main-Spessart Railway (German: Main-Spessart-Bahn) is a 110 kilometre long railway line in the Bavarian province of Lower Franconia and the neighbouring state of Hesse in south central Germany. It runs from Würzburg via Gemünden (Main) and Aschaffenburg to Hanau. It is particularly important for long-distance and goods traffic because it links the Rhine-Main conurbation immediately northwest of Aschaffenburg with the Lower Franconian city of Würzburg and beyond it to the metropoles of Nuremberg and Munich. Its name derives from the fact that it initially runs parallel to the River Main and then cuts through the Spessart hills. It was opened on 22 June 1854 by the Frankfurt-Hanau Railway Company and is one of the oldest railways in Germany


A Regional-Express from Frankfurt (Main) approaching Würzburg
A Regionalbahn train in Retzbach-Zellingen
A freight train in Lohr station

On 1 October 1854, the Royal Bavarian State Railways opened the section of the Ludwig's Western Railway from Würzburg to Aschaffenburg and the state border at Kahl. The connecting line to Hanau was opened by the Frankfurt-Hanau Railway Company (Frankfurt-Hanauer Eisenbahn Gesellschaft, FHE) on 22 July 1854. The FHE subsequently leased the section from Kahl to Aschaffenburg. In 1863 the Hessian Ludwig Railway took over operations of the line. In 1872 it took over the ownership of the non-Bavarian part of line, which now lay in Prussia, following the Austro-Prussian War. In 1893, Hessian Ludwig Railway was taken over by the Prussian State Railways, including its property and operating rights.

The Spessart Ramp and the following Schwarzkopf Tunnel were built from the beginning as a double track line and other engineering structures were designed to be upgraded for two tracks. The second track was built continuously but slowly until the 1890s. On 10 October 1954 the section from Würzburg to Veitshöchheim was electrified, and the whole line was electrified by 26 September 1957.

Steam operations on the Spessart Ramp before 1957 were very complex. In Laufach, a bank engine was attached behind freight and long-distance passenger trains. Where appropriate, a third locomotive was attached in front of freight trains.

Future projects[edit]

The Schwarzkopf Tunnel (926 m long), located between Laufach and Heigenbrücken will be replaced with four new tunnels which will allow for faster operations. Trains will be allowed to double their speed through the new tunnels from the current 70 km/h (43 MPH) to 140 km/h (87 MPH). Current push operations, necessary for heavy freight trains transiting the Spessart Ramp, will cease once these new tunnels go into service which is expected to be by 2017. The new alignment will necessitate the construction of a new station for Heigenbrücken, which will be located to the east of the current station.

The new tunnels are:

  • Falkenbergtunnel (approximately 2600 m, making it the longest tunnel in the group)
  • Hirschbergtunnel (between 360 and 524 m)
  • Metzbergtunnel (between 566 and 621 m)
  • Haintunnel (765 m)

External links[edit]