Rail line Münster – Kleve – Nijmegen: part 2

This is the second part of a proposal, for a reopened / upgraded regional rail line Münster – Kleve – Nijmegen, connecting the regional towns. Read first the introduction and description of the alignment Münster – Borken. This part covers the section Borken – Bocholt – Kleve. Between Borken and the Rhine, the new line would run roughly parallel to Bundesstrasse 67, and has a similar regional function.

Click to enlarge…

New rail line Borken - Bocholt - Emmerich - Kleve

West of Borken, the new line would follow more closely the old Baumbergebahn, but new sections will be required. The situation at Werth illustrates the problems. Although other land is available, a row of new houses has been built, exactly on the old rail alignment. That was official policy: the municipality bought the railway land, and resold it for private use. A new line could be built around these houses, but it might be simpler to demolish them.

Click to enlarge: the old railway at Werth, visible as a horizontal line, through the centre of the image…

Alignment Baumbergebahn at Werth

There are similar problems at other towns and villages along the line.

Borken has a population 41 000. The station is the present terminus of line RE14, from Dorsten and Essen. It is close to the centre, but very basic, and would need upgrading. The line north to Winterswijk would be re-opened as part of the proposed regional line Apeldoorn – Borken – Essen.

The Baumbergebahn diverged from that line, about 500 m from the station. The alignment is now a cycle path, with new housing directly alongside it. The new line could be built on its northern side, and then in tunnel, but some demolition of the adjoining houses would be inevitable. The tunnel section through the housing is about 1200 m long.

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New rail line Münster - Kleve, section through Borken, NRW

From Borken to Rhede, the old line ran though open country. Although the alignment is barely visible, it is still probably the best route option. For 2 km, it runs directly alongside the old B67 road.

In Rhede, as in Borken, the alignment is still there, but adjoined by housing. An 1800 m cut-and-cover tunnel is the only option here. The new station would be at the old location, on the Bahnhofstrasse.

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Alignment Baumbergebahn Bocholt - Borken, through Rhede

The 3-km section between Rhede and Bocholt is not a problem. The Baumbergebahn joined the old line from Winterswijk, 1600 m from the station. The Borken – Bocholt section would 19 km long.

As in Borken, the station at Bocholt is now a terminus for the line south, the RB32 shuttle service to Wesel. The alignment into the station is available, but it runs through a built-up area. Again a tunnel would be needed, about 1200 m long.

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New rail line Münster - Kleve through Bocholt, with tunnel section

Bocholt has about 50 000 inhabitants, and is the second largest town on the proposed new line. The new line would offer interchange with the proposed regional line Winterswijk – Bocholt – Wesel, which would also use the new tunnel access.

South of Bocholt station, the Baumbergebahn is still in use as an industrial siding. Space is restricted by the adjoining industrial buildings, but double-tracking seems possible. (There is no housing on this section). After passing under the ring road, the line is again in open country.

About 3 km further, the line passes the north side of a large industrial zone at Mussum, Industriepark Bocholt. There is enough employment here to justify a station, even though there is no housing.

In Werth, as indicated above, the line would require a short tunnel (500 m), with the demolition of about 15 houses, or rerouting (yellow line on the map). The new line would now diverge, from the former alignment of the Baumbergebahn.

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New rail line Münster - Kleve between Bocholt and Isselburg

The old railway ran past the northern edge of Isselburg, turned south towards Empel, and then made a 90° turn into Empel-Rees station, on the main line Arnhem – Emmerich – Oberhausen. The present junction 4 of the Autobahn A3, is built exactly on the former rail alignment.

From Werth, the new line would cross the Issel (Oude IJssel), and pass south of Isselburg, with a new station on the Werther Strasse. It would then rejoin the old alignment, to pass under the motorway. (It could run west of the junction, shown in yellow on the map), South of the motorway, the line would turn west, to join the main line at Millingen station. This is 2 km closer to Emmerich, than Empel-Rees. (The line would cross the proposed HSL Arnhem – Oberhausen as it approached this junction).

Click to enlarge…

New rail line Münster - Kleve between Isselburg and Millingen station

From Millingen, it is 10 km to Emmerich, with one intermediate station at Praest. There are long-delayed official plans, to upgrade this main line, with a third track. That would still be insufficient for the service proposed here: four tracks are needed on the Arnhem – Emmerich section, which is also a main freight route. The Bocholt – Emmerich section would be about 28-30 km long.

At present Emmerich (population 30 000), is the terminus of services along the Rhein: the RE5 from Koblenz and the RB35 from Düsseldorf (peak hours only). The earlier proposal for a new rail line Kleve – Elten, assumed that Emmerich would also have an intensive regional service from Arnhem along the Rhine.

After Emmerich, trains from Münster would continue on the main line toward Zevenaar. East of Elten, a new curve would turn south, to link to the new Kleve – Elten line (with a new Rhine tunnel). This section would be about 17 km long,

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Trains from Münster would enter Kleve station from the north. Services could terminate at Kleve, but extension to a comparable city is preferable, even if it requires a reversal. Nijmegen is a university city, with 161 000 inhabitants, 25 km from Kleve. (Münster is a university city, with 275 000 inhabitants).

At present, Kleve is the terminus of RE10 from Düsseldorf, using the Linksniederrheinische Strecke (via Kempen). Trains from this line would continue to Arnhem: that is the main function of the proposed Kleve – Elten line.

To reach Nijmegen, trains from Münster would continue over a re-opened rail line to Nijmegen. There are three intermediate stations, at Kranenburg, Groesbeek, and Nijmegen-Heyendaal. This is also the route of the proposed regional line Nijmegen – Kleve – Xanten – Wesel: the two services would probably be compatible.

Closed rail line Nijmegen - Groesbeek - Kranenburg - Kleve

If trains from Münster terminate at Kleve, there is an alternative for onward travel: the proposed regional tram line Kleve – Nijmegen.

The entire line from Münster to Kleve would be approximately 130-135 km long, depending on the alignments used. The line to Nijmegen adds another 28 km. A journey between the two cities, of about 160-165 km, with new trains on a fully upgraded regional line, would take two hours.

Rail line Münster – Kleve – Nijmegen: part 2

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