The rail line south-east from Apeldoorn was built as part of an international line. The Amsterdam – Apeldoorn – Zutphen line opened in 1876. It was extended to the Ruhr by the Niederländisch-Westfälische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, in 1880. Their line originally ran from Zutphen to Gelsenkirchen via Winterswijk.
Click to enlarge: the proposed regional line…
The original line was largely intended for coal traffic, and it was never a major passenger route. The Amsterdam – Apeldoorn section is now part of the line to the eastern Netherlands – via Deventer, not Zutphen. The remaining alignment is closed between Winterswijk and Borken, leaving regional routes on either side of the border. There are separate Apeldoorn – Zutphen and Zutphen – Winterswijk services (operators NS and Syntus, both diesel). Regional-Express RE14 runs from Borken to Essen via Bottrop (also diesel). From Gladbeck West the route is shared with S-Bahn line S9: that section is electrified, and mostly double-track.
The proposal here is to upgrade the line, and operate it as a unit – a 135-km regional and interregional line. Possibly the reagional services could start at Apeldoorn, and part of the line would carry an inter-regional line Zwolle – Essen. Apart from the three rivers (IJssel, Lippe and Emscher), there are no geographical obstacles. The line climbs gradually, from about 10 m at Zutphen to 90 m at Essen.
The service would start from Apeldoorn (population 155 000). Extending Intercity services from Amsterdam is not logical, because there is a parallel route via Arnhem. The existing terminus of the RE14 is also better than any other option. Essen (population 580 000) is one of the largest cities of the Rhine-Ruhr, and currently Essen Hauptbahnhof has 880 trains per day, including 9 IC and ICE lines, 2 Regionalbahn lines, 7 Regional-Express lines, and 5 S-Bahn lines. Apart from the small historic city of Zutphen (population 47 000), the line north of Borken serves a generally rural area. South of Borken, urbanisation increases nearer the Ruhr. Because of the size of the urban centres, a regional service comparable to the RE14 would still be needed.
Apeldoorn station would need reconstruction, with at least a second island platform. The line out of the station should be 4-tracked, and the bridge over the Apeldoornsch Kanaal raised. A grade-separated junction is needed between the Deventer and Zutphen lines. From here, the 18-km line to Zutphen would be electrified, and double-tracked. The new or reopened simple stations at Apeldoorn De Maten, Klarenbeek, and Voorst-Empe, would be rebuilt.
Click to enlarge…
Approaching Zutphen, the line is joined by the line Arnhem – Zwolle: this junction must be grade-separated. The existing antique bridge over the IJssel needs replacement, and an extra track eastbound. Zutphen station also needs a second island platform, to allow full interchange with the Arnhem – Zwolle line. Another grade-separated junction is needed 1 km after the station, where the lines diverge again.
From this junction, there is a 44-km single-track rural line to Winterswijk, with only 3 stations, all at the edge of villages. It too would eb doubled and electrified. There is one more station at the edge of Winterswijk: the alignment into the main station was originally used by two railways, and is wide enough for doubling.
At Winterswijk (population 29 000), there would be interchange with the line from Arnhem via Zevenaar, with the proposed regional line Winterswijk – Bocholt – Wesel and the proposed new regional line Enschede – Winterswijk. (These allow inter-regional services, from Twente, via Winterswijk, to the Niederrhein).
Beyond Winterswijk, the line is closed, as far as Borken. For the rest of the line to Essen, see the second half of this post.