Moers – Geldern regional line

This proposal would combine part of the old Moers – Sevelen line, with the never-completed Moers – Geldern line, to create a regional rail line Moers – Geldern. It would start at Moers station, giving interchange with the proposed new line across the Rhine from Oberhausen to Moers.

Moers (population 107 000) was formerly a rail junction. It is on the Niederrheinstrecke, which once extended to Kleve and Nijmegen. At present there is only a Regionalbahn service, terminating at Xanten. (The section Xanten – Nijmegen is closed). Moers station was the terminus of the former Moerser Kreisbahn, with lines to Rheinberg via Orsoy, and to Sevelen via Neukirchen and Vluyn. These lines still carry some freight, but apart from a few excursion trains in summer, there is no passenger traffic. (Moers was also the terminus of the former Krefelder Eisenbahn from Krefeld via Hüls. The section to Hüls is now a museum line, the rest is closed).

The proposal is to reopen, upgrade, and electrify the Moerser Kreisbahn line, from Moers to Oermten. There it crosses the alignment of the half-built Moers – Geldern line, which could be finished and opened. Near Geldern, the line would connect with the Köln – Krefeld – Kleve line (Linksniederrheinische Strecke).

Most of the route is flat, at about 30 m altitude, but 10 km west of Moers is a north-south glacial ridge, the Schaephuysner Höhenzug. It is 40 m higher than the land on either side. The Kreisbahn first ran parallel to the ridge, via Rheurdt. At the last hill, Oermter Berg, it turns toward Geldern again. It terminated at Hoerstgen-Sevelen station, 3 km further. Presumably it was planned for extension to Geldern, but never got that far.

At Moers station, the Kreisbahn had a separate station on the west side: the space is still available. The line runs beside the line to Xanten, for 1 km, and then turns west. The area around the curve has been built up by the Vossloh Locomotives factory, and a cutting may be necessary.

Click to enlarge…

The first station on the re-opened line would be after the curve, at Repelener Strasse. This is closer to the historic centre (Altstadt), than the main station. The second station in the north of Moers, would be at Hülsdonk (Am Jostenhof, beside the Lidl).

West of Moers, the line crosses the A57 Autobahn. 2 km further is the small town of Neukirchen (population 14 000). The old station on the Krefelder Strasse is still intact: it is about 700 m from the town centre.

Neukirchen and Vluyn grew after the First World War, because of the large coal mine between the two villages, the former Bergwerk Niederberg. The rail line passes it, about 2-3 km west of Neukirchen station. The mine is closed, and the site is being redeveloped for housing and commercial use. This is a good site for a new station: the exact location depends on the plans for the site.

In Vluyn (13 000 inhabitants), the the old station at Vluyner Südring is also intact, only 300 m from the town centre.

About 1 km west of Vluyn station, the line turns north-west, passing the two villages on the slope of the ridge. At Schaephuysen, the former station on the Vluyner Strasse is now a restaurant: the site can be used. Again, at Rheurdt, the former station site on the Bahnstrasse can be used. It is about 400 m from the village street (Rathausstrasse).

North of Rheurdt, the line runs exactly at the edge of the ridge. At the tip of the Oermter Berg, a new curve would connect it to the Meerbeck – Geldern alignment. This new alignment would include a station for Oermten, near the Rheurdter Strasse.

The alignment on toward Geldern is straight and unobstructed, and it is clearly visible on the image. At Sevelen, there would be a station at either Aldekerker Strasse or Nieukerker Strasse – both about 500 m from the village street (Dorfstrasse).

As an alternative, the line could use the Kreisbahn alignment toward Sevelen, with a station in Oermten at Letmannsdyck. It would then use a new alignment along An der Landwehr and Hoerstgener Strasse, to connect to the Meerbeck – Geldern alignment, west of Sevelen. This option (shown in orange) would require demolition of several houses, and a short tunnel in Sevelen. A station at the tunnel entrance there, would be almost in the centre of the village.

In both these options, the next station would be at Hartefeld (1800 inhabitants) at the Dorfstrasse. A station at Vernum is possible, but it is small (population 1100 including surrounding farmland).

3 km south of Geldern station, the alignment joins the Linksniederrheinische Strecke. An additional track would be needed into Geldern station, which has enough room for an additional platform. Passengers could change there for the line to Kleve: with the proposed Kleve – Elten line, trains would continue to Arnhem.

The Moers – Geldern line would be 30 km long, station to station. On this route a light-rail service is appropriate, with a service frequency of 15-20 minutes. On the section Moers – Vluyn, the line would also carry a similar service to Kempen, which would double frequency.

Moers – Geldern regional line