The Mainz–Worms–Ludwigshafen Railway connects Mainz via Worms to Ludwigshafen in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. From there trains cross the Rhine via Mannheim or run south towards Speyer. It was opened in 1853 and is one of the oldest railways in Germany.
The first proposals for building a railway line west of the Rhine between Mainz and Worms, dated back to the 1830s, shortly after the opening of the first German railway line between Nuremberg and Fürth. This line was promoted by the governments of Bavaria (which then included the territory involved) and France. They later dropped the plan for financial and military reasons. Plans for the line did not resume until 1844.
A route through Alzey was discarded in favour of a direct alignment along the Rhine (However, this route was later built as well, now forming the Mainz–Alzey railway and the Rheinhessen Railway). In 1845, the Hessian Ludwig Railway Company (German: Hessische Ludwigsbahn) received a concession to build and operate this route. In 1848 work on the line started. The first section of the line between Mainz and Worms was opened on 23 March 1853 and it was completed to Ludwigshafen on 15 November 1853.
The double-track, electrified line is still of great importance for regional and long-distance traffic. A number of long-distance Intercity or Intercity-Express trains run from Koblenz or Wiesbaden on the Mainz-Mannheim line.
In addition, there is a dense network of regional trains: in addition to the half-hourly Regionalbahn service on the line, there is a Regional-Express service via Speyer to Karlsruhe. Increased regular interval services in the 1990s led to an increase in ridership. Until 2004, regional services were provided by locomotive-hauled trains. Since then, class 425 electric multiple units have been used.
The Mainz–Ludwigshafen–Karlsruhe Regional Express services are operated by class 612 diesel multiple units because the section between Germersheim and Graben-Neudorf is not yet electrified. When this section is electrified, class 425 trains will be used. This class already runs twice a day, terminating at Germersheim.
Trains run on the following lines:
- RE 4: Mainz–Worms–Ludwigshafen–Speyer–Karlsruhe (Regional-Express, every two hours; one train on Sundays and public holidays)
- RB 44: Mainz–Worms–Ludwigshafen–Mannheim–Mannheim-Friedrichsfeld (Regionalbahn, every half hour; sometimes hourly on weekends and holidays)
The integration of the line in the Rhine-Neckar S-Bahn network is planned for 2015. It would be part of a through line via Heidelberg to the Elsenz Valley Railway or the Schwarzbach Valley Railway. In addition to the modernisation of existing stations, this will involve four new stations in Dienheim, Worms-Süd, Roxheim and Frankenthal-Süd.
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