The ring freight line from Herzogenrath to Stolberg has a winding route via Alsdorf, but it is the only ‘orbital’ or ‘tangential’ line around Aachen region, roughly 12 km from the city centre. The section from Herzogenrath to Alsdorf-Annapark has been reopened for passengers, , as part of the Euregiobahn network. Reopening of the rest of the line for passenger services is planned, but Euregiobahn is a light-rail network with low service frequencies.
The proposal here goes further: a full S-Bahn service, on a shorter and faster route, as part of the proposed urban-regional metro network around Aachen.
It would be a logical extension of the proposed Maastricht – Heerlen – Herzogenrath urban-regional (S-Bahn) line.
The line would turn south-east from the existing line, south of Herzogenrath station – the freight line to Stolberg passes north of Herzogenrath. The exact alignment is not shown here: a tunnel is inevitable, to climb 40 m from the valley of the river Wurm.
The line would pass just north of Bardenberg, and near Gewerbegebiet Weiweg it would join the alignment of the former Aachen-Nord – Jülich line. It would then reach the former station at Würselen, which can be reopened. Here the line met the Kohlscheid – Stolberg freight line, and the S-Bahn would follow that line out of Würselen station. The alignments near Würselen are intact, but partly in use as a ring road (Willy Brandt Ring). In most places, there seems sufficient space for a line next to the road, but the junctions will need reconstruction.
The Aachen-Nord – Jülich line is also a candidate for reopening, as a Euregiobahn line. If it is reopened as a light-rail line, or possibly as an urban tram, then Würselen would be an interchange station.
After Würselen, the S-Bahn line would serve a reopened Weiden Station, and then follow the original alignment of the Kohlscheid – Stolberg line. This section (still in use) was re-routed in 1939 for construction of the Autobahn to Aachen. The later Autobahnkreuz Aachen (A4 / A44) was built on the old alignment, but only a short tunnel is needed to restore it.
Close to the main Aachen – Köln line, the S-Bahn line would join the alignment of the freight line from Herzogenrath, into Stolberg station. In any case, there is also an older alignment on the north side of the main line, which could take the S-Bahn to Stolberg Hbf, without any shared track (orange line). The ‘Hauptbahnhof’ has a peripheral location, but it is on the main line, and it is the interchange point for the local line through Stolberg (originally part of the Vennbahn).
The new S-Bahn line would terminate at Stolberg, about 11 km from Herzogenrath. The logical service pattern is an extension of the proposed Maastricht – Heerlen – Herzogenrath service, creating a long orbital line relative to Aachen.