This is the second part of a proposal for a reopened / upgraded regional rail line, south-east from Apeldoorn to the Ruhr. It uses the alignment of the former Amsterdam – Zutphen line and the Zutphen – Ruhr line.
Read the introduction first: regional line Apeldoorn – Winterswijk
Click to enlarge: the proposed regional line…
From Winterswijk to Borken, the original alignment would be rebuilt as a double-track line. The exit from Winterswijk is intact, because it is used by the Zevenaar line. The rest of this 16-km section was closed by 1979: it is now overgrown, but intact. The only station was at Burlo, where the line is at the edge of the village. With 3500 inhabitants, it is large enough to justify a new station.
In Borken (population 41 000), the alignment is almost intact. South of the ring road (B70) there is new housing directly alongside it, and a shallow tunnel is the only option. Some demolition (up to 10 houses) would be inevitable. The station itself has enough room for expansion. In Borken, the line would connect with the proposed east-west regional line from Münster via Coesfeld.
South of Borken, the existing single-track line to Dorsten would be doubled and electrified. There are only two villages, and no problems with the alignment.
Click to enlarge…
The present RE14 stops at every station from Borken to Gladbeck West: the new inter-regional trains would stop only at Borken, Dorsten, Gladbeck West, Bottrop and Essen-Borbeck.
North of Dorsten, there is already a grade-separated junction with the line from Coesfeld (the former Ruhr – Wilhelmshafen line. Both lines are at present single-track: the junction should be reconstructed for two double-track lines. Just south of this junction, Hervest-Dorsten station once gave interchange with the lower-level Wesel – Haltern line. Re-opening of that line would provide a useful Wesel – Münster route, an ‘orbital line’ for the Ruhr.
The line then crosses the river Lippe, and the Wesel – Datteln Kanal, to the main station of Dorsten (population 78 000). The station area has enough room for two island platforms, which would allow overtaking by interregional trains, and interchange with the line to Coesfeld, and the line to Gelsenkirchen (currently Regionalbahn RB43).
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South of Dorsten, the line is double-track, except for the curve at Zweckel, connecting to Gladbeck West station. The junction needs to be double-tracked and grade-separated. Here, trains would leave the historic route from Zutphen, and use the Hamm – Oberhausen line, toward Bottrop.
Gladbeck (population 76 000) has stations east and west of the centre, but Gladbeck West is the main one. Here the line is joined by S-Bahn S9 from Haltern. Here too, the station has room for expansion. That would allow a better service to Oberhausen (currently Regionalbahn RB44).
The line to Bottrop has only one intermediate station. It is double-track and electrified, but that may not be enough, since it is a main freight route. To increase capacity, the parallel line Oberhausen – Dorsten via Bottrop Nord, could be reopened.
Bottrop Hauptbahnhof was moved in 1995, to a new location, near a shopping centre development. It is still 1500 m from the centre of Bottrop (118 000 inhabitants). The station layout is designed for two island platforms, but only 3 tracks are in use. If the freight lines are shifted, there is sufficient room for a 4-track station. There is also enough room to for a 4-track western exit, and a full grade-separated junction, as the Essen line turns south.
The last section to Essen is the old Osterfeld – Mülheim line. It crosses the river Emscher and the Rhein-Herne Kanal, and then crosses the Oberhausen – Gelsenkirchen line. This section has been singled, and needs upgrading. One option is a new alignment with new bridges, 500 m further east – but it would cut through housing, as it joins the existing alignment. A longer 4-km cut-off line, from Bottrop to Borbeck, would be preferable, but it would probably need a tunnel into Borbeck station.
The line is now in Essen. At Essen-Borbeck station, the line would connect with tram and bus services, serving the western side of the city.
At Frohnhausen, the line joins the line to Essen Hauptbahnhof, the main east-west line of the Ruhr. (There is an S-Bahn station at the junction, but these tracks do not pass its platforms). The only station on the remaining 3 km is Essen West, which already has two island platforms. The line to Essen Hauptbahnhof has a bottleneck at the 4-track bridge over Frohnhauser Strasse, but the rest of it is broader.
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Essen Hauptbahnhof has 4 island platforms, but only one terminal platform facing west (Gleis 8). With increased regional services from the west side, reversal tracks would be needed further east, at Essen Gbf (freight yard). There may be enough room for an extra west-facing terminal platform, on viaduct, on the north side of the station.
The line, over existing alignments, would be 133 km long: 62 km from Apeldoorn to Winterswijk, and 71 km from there to Essen. Reconstruction should allow a 2-hour journey time for regional trains, and 15-20 minutes faster for inter-regional services.