Rheinfall railway

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Rheinfall railway
Thurbo GTW 28 ueber dem Rheinfall.jpg
Bridge carrying the Rheinfall railway over the Rhine above the Rhine Falls
Locale Switzerland
Termini Winterthur, Canton of Zurich
Schaffhausen, Canton of Schaffhausen
Opened 16 April 1857
Owner Swiss Federal Railways
Line length 29.92 km (18.59 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 15 kV 16 23 Hz AC supplied by overhead line
Maximum incline 1.4%
Route diagram
SBB Zurich to Winterthur and Koblenz to Winterthur lines
26.14 Winterthur Hauptbahnhof 439 m above the  sea
SBB Winterthur to Etzwilen, Winterthur to Romanshorn,
Winterthur to Wil and Winterthur to Rapperswil lines
A1 motorway70 m
32.71 Hettlingen 425 m above the  sea
35.01 Henggart 434 m above the  sea
39.17 Andelfingen 403 m above the  sea
Thurbrücke Andelfingen (River Thur)133 m
44.57 Meder 403 m above the  sea
46.47 Marthalen 411 m above the  sea
51.31 Dachsen 394 m above the  sea
52.49 Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall 389 m above the  sea
Schloss Laufen66 m
Rheinfallbrücke (River Rhine)177 m
Röti153 m
SBB Eglisau to Neuhausen line
53.84 Neuhausen 397 m above the  sea
DB Upper Rhine Railway from Waldshut
56.06 Schaffhausen 404 m above the  sea
DB Upper Rhine Railway to Singen and
SBB Lake line to Stein am Rhein
Rhine falls, with the Eglisau-Neuhausen line on the near bank and the Rheinfall line on the far bank
Bridge over the Thur River at Andelfingen
Train on the S33

The Rheinfall railway, or Rheinfallbahn, is a railway line in Switzerland. The line links the city of Winterthur in the canton of Zurich with the city of Schaffhausen in the canton of Schaffhausen. The Rheinfall railway was constructed by the independent Rheinfallbahn-Gesellschaft.[1][2]

Towards its northern end, the Rheinfall railway crosses the Rhine on a viaduct adjacent to the famous Rhine Falls, from which it takes its name.[1][2]


The Rheinfallbahn-Gesellschaft was founded in 1853 by the Schaffhausen industrialist Heinrich Moser. Construction of the line commenced in 1855, and it was opened on 16 April 1857. The section of line between Andelfingen and Schaffhausen proved particularly difficult and costly to build, including as it does major bridges across the River Rhine and River Thur, together with a tunnel under Laufen Castle.

The Swiss Northeastern Railway (NOB) acquired the Rheinfallbahn-Gesellschaft on 4 November 1856 prior to the line's opening, providing connections to Zurich and beyond. In 1902, the NOB became part of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), who retain ownership of the line.

Until 1897, the Rheinfall railway provided the main railway route between Schaffhausen and the rest of Switzerland. However in that year the Eglisau to Neuhausen line opened, providing a shorter route to Zurich via Bülach that is now used by all long distance trains.

The line was electrified on 11 April 1943. In 2007 its 150th anniversary was celebrated by the operation of historic steam trains over the line.


Today the Rheinfall railway is served by two lines of the Zurich S-Bahn. The S16 provides an hourly through service between Zurich and Schaffhausen, with only limited stops on the Rheinfall railway section of its route. The S33 links Winterthur and Schaffhausen twice an hour, stopping at all intermediate stations.[3]

The northernmost section of the line, between Neuhausen and Schaffhausen, also carries all the traffic using the Eglisau to Neuhausen railway line, including most long distance trains between Schaffhausen and the rest of Switzerland, together with Zurich S-Bahn line S22 from Bülach to Schaffhausen.[2][3]

The line is predominantly single track with passing loops at stations, although there are double track sections between Hettlingen and Henggart, in the Marthalen area, and between Neuhausen and Schaffhausen. It is 30.45 kilometres (18.92 mi) long, standard gauge and electrified at 15 kV 16 23 Hz AC supplied by overhead line.[2]

The S-Bahn service over the single-track railway south of Neuhausen leaves little room for other trains, and most freight and long-distance passenger services use alternative routes.


  1. ^ a b Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2009. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-3-89494-139-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2012. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7. 
  3. ^ a b "S-Bahn trains, buses and boats" (PDF). ZVV. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 


  • Eberhard, Jules (1957). Hundert Jahre Rheinfallbahn, 1857-1957. Jubiläumsschrift [One hundred years of the Rheinfall Railway, 1857-1957. Anniversary publication] (in German). 

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