The earlier proposed urban-regional network around Aachen (S-Bahn), includes a new direct line to Heerlen, running in tunnel via southern Heerlen. It would replace the existing indirect Euregiobahn trains via Herzogenrath. The existing Maastricht- Heerlen service, which at present runs on to Kerkrade, would then be extended to Herzogenrath, and possibly be extended further to Stolberg as a tangential line.
That would leave a single-track line from Landgraaf to Kerkrade (about 40 000 inhabitants). The proposal here is to connect it to the Aachen – Mönchengladbach line, to create a new urban-regional line Aachen – Kerkrade – Heerlen. The existing line would be doubled, and all crossings would be grade-separated.
The simplest option is an alignment around the built-up area of Kerkrade. The new line would diverge from the Aachen – Mönchengladbach line, at the Forensberger Strasse bridge, about 1 km north of Kohlscheid station. It would turn north-west, and cross the main road from Aachen at the border, at the south end of Nieuwstraat / Neustrasse. This alignment can then follow an unbuilt strip along the border itself, between Bleijerheide and Pannesheide. The line would have a station at the south end of Nieuwstraat, or further west (serving Bleijerheide). After the straight section on the border, the new line would turn slowly northwards to the existing line at Kerkrade Centrum station, passing through the sports fields at Voorterbeemden, and approximately following the edge of a valley.
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The new section would be about 3500 m long. However, an alignment at the edge of the built-up area is easier to build, but inconvenient for its users. The existing station at Kerkrade is not well located either: it is too far south of the town centre.
A tunnel under central Kerkrade would allow better service of Kerkrade, Bleijerheide, and Strass, but is obviously more difficult to construct. It would be about 4-5 km long. The southern portal would also be about 1 km from Kohlscheid station. This alignment would also have a station on the Nieuwstraat / Neustrasse, but further north, within the built-up area. It would run under the centre of Kerkrade: the station location shown is directly under the main square. The northern portal would be alongside the existing Chevremont station, which would be relocated slightly to the east.
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Both these alignments would be shorter than the existing route of the Euregiobahn trains, via Herzogenrath and Eygelshoven Markt. In theory there is another possible alignment, along the Roderlanderbaan (N299) through eastern Kerkrade. However, the new Kerkrade station would be too far from the centre, in fact closer to Herzogenrath. Central Kerkrade is the most important destination on this route, and for that reason the tunnel option is preferable.