New line across the Rhine from Moers

Moers (population 107 000) is close to the edge of the Rhine-Ruhr agglomeration: it lies across the Rhine from Duisburg. The city is on the Niederrheinstrecke, the rail line along the left bank of the Rhine – originally to Nijmegen, but now only to Xanten. Despite its size, Moers is served by only Regionalbahn 31: every 30 minutes from Duisburg to Moers, every 60 minutes from there to Xanten.

The proposed Nijmegen – Kleve – Xanten – Wesel line would restructure the rail link along the Rhine, connecting it to Wesel. The Duisburg – Xanten service would be retained, with an upgraded line and improved services. However, the existing 16 km line from Duisburg to Moers is indirect: trains run first toward Krefeld, and turn toward Moers at Rheinhausen. The route Moers – Oberhausen (highlighted in green on the map) is roughly semi-circular. A more direct link would improve cross-Rhine travel. It would also facilitate reopening of local lines east of Moers – to Geldern via Vluyn, and via Hüls to Kempen.

Some plans for the Stadtbahn Duisburg included a line to Moers. On the map below the ‘Stadtbahnplanung 1975’ is shown in grey. (Rhein-Ruhr network map by Sebastian Sothen, Creative Commons Licence 3.0).

The only underground line in Duisburg (U79), goes no further than Meiderich-Süd station (north of the river port). That station is on the short line Oberhausen – Duisburg – Ruhrort, and there were also proposals to extend that line across the Rhine to Moers (by bridge or tunnel). It could be connected to the existing freight line across the Rhine, over the Haus Knipp Eisenbahnbrücke. However, the freight line does not serve the built-up area of Moers.

The other options are:

  • an extension of Duisburg tram 901, from the Friedrichsplatz in Ruhrort, across the Rhine on the Friedrich Ebert bridge, and then via Homberg and the Homberger strasse to Moers. Line 901 is a surface tramline, with a short tunnel section in Duisburg city centre. This tunnel to Duisburg Hauptbahnhof is also used by the underground U79 Stadtbahn line. To improve interchange in Ruhrort, the Duisburg-Ruhrort station should be relocated southwards to Friedrichsplatz. (At most a short tunnel is needed, under the Eisenbahnstrasse).
  • a full underground Stadtbahn line, extending the short tunnel section of line 901 to Ruhrort, under the Rhine, and under the Homberger strasse to Moers. At least as far as Ruhrort, the underground line would replace tram 901.
  • an S-bahn line from Oberhausen over the existing alignment to Ruhrort, and then by bridge or tunnel across the Rhine, and under the Homberger strasse to Moers.

Click to enlarge…

Between Moers and Homberg, the Stadtbahn and S-Bahn alignments and stations would be similar. A tram would have more stops (approximately those of bus 911). The stations shown are at Bahnhof Moers on the line to Xanten (about 700 m from the Altstadt), 1100 m further in Hochstrass (Römerstrasse), and 1700 m further in Hochheide (Markt), There wold be two stations in Homberg, both under the Lauerstrasse, about 1100 m and 1800 m from Hochheide Markt.

The S-Bahn option maximises improvement of cross-Rhine travel. It would require a 2000 m link across the Rhine, between Ruhrort and Homberg. The existing alignment from Oberhausen to Ruhrort (highlighted in blue on the first map) would be upgraded, double-tracked, and electrified. One additional station is possible, in Untermeiderich, at the existing underpass (Tunnelstrasse). A new grade-separated junction south of Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof would allow full access to the S-Bahn platforms – a precondition for extension of services eastwards.

Duisburg-Ruhrort station would certainly be relocated to Friedrichsplatz, with a new link line (blue-white). That is primarily to align the Rhine crossing (dashed line) parallel to the Friedrich Ebert bridge, but the new station (red) would be closer to Ruhrort itself. The triangular open space on the image is now occupied by a Kaufland store: the station would be between it and the older buildings. Interchange with tram 901 is unaffected.

After the east-west alignment through Moers, the line could terminate in the historic centre of Moers (Altstadt), at the very end of the Hombergerstrasse. This section probably requires a bored tunnel.

The S-Bahn alignment shown, crosses the Xanten line at right angles. A connection westwards to the Neukirchen-Vluyn line is technically possible, but that is not a good option for an S-Bahn extension. An extension to Kamp-Lintfort would be more logical. In that case, the line would leave the Homberger strasse alignment, to approach Bahnhof Moers from the south (orange line). From there, the existing alignment to Kamp-Lintfort is available (more on these lines later). For operational simplicity, however, it is probably best to separate the lines on the left and right banks of the Rhine, with the S-Bahn service ending in Moers.

The new alignment Ruhrort – Moers would be 8 km long, the existing line Ruhrort – Oberhausen is another 9 km. Journey time should be 20-25 minutes.

New line across the Rhine from Moers

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