Earlier proposals here for a high-speed rail line from Nijmegen and a connecting line across the Rhine to Düsseldorf Airport would transform the position of Krefeld in the rail network. It would be on a main route from the Netherlands to the Rhine-Ruhr region, and therefore more important as a rail junction. Improvement of the existing Krefeld – Mönchengladbach line is logical in that context.
Duisburg – Mönchengladbach line: map by Maximilian Dörrbecker under CC2.0 licence…
The line is almost straight to Anrath, and then curves back and forth through Viersen. That is partly because it was rerouted in 1917, adding two additional curves. The line originally followed the present main road (Kölnische Strasse), straight from Viersen to Mönchengladbach.
The line into Krefeld from Anrath would also be used by trains from the proposed high-speed rail line Venlo – Neuss, and from the proposed regional rail line Venlo – Grefrath – Krefeld. It would therefore need four tracks.
The Krefeld – Mönchengladbach line can be shortened, and capacity improved, by a new 5-km bypass of Viersen. It would turn south just west of Anrath station, and run through flat agricultural land, rejoining the line north of the old Helenabrunn station. The alignment shown avoids most housing, but some demolition is inevitable. Just before it rejoined the existing line, the bypass would cross the proposed extension of S-Bahn line S28 Düsseldorf – Neuss – Kaarst.
The bypass only makes sense for fast through trains. If all trains stop at Viersen (population 75 000), no bypass is needed. Two tracks are probably enough for the Anrath -Viersen section, as far as the junction with the line from Venlo. There are four tracks available into Viersen station, which would also be used by the S28, preferably extended to Venlo. That requires either two grade-separated junctions, north and south of Viersen station, or a flyover for the line from Anrath. (In that case the S28 would use the eastern tracks through the station, and on toward Neersen).
Approaching Mönchengladbach, the line has three tracks: one is the start of the freight bypass, which is still in use. It diverges from the main line after the crossing of the A52 Autobahn. Possibly a rerouted Iron Rhine would join the line here, see Eiserner Rhein: Trassenvergleich.
In Mönchengladbach, the curve at Hohenzollernstrasse needs improvement, and especially the curves and junctions at Mönchengladbach Hauptbahnhof. Just before the station is the junction with the line from Neuss.
Possible realignments at Mönchengladbach Hbf …
At present, line from Neuss is used regularly only by line S8 of the S-Bahn Rhein-Ruhr, but a grade separated junction would facilitate its planned extension to Rheydt, integration with a regional service to Venlo, and the planned S21 toward Duisburg. There is certainly sufficient space for a new junction outside the station.
South of the station, the line continues through Mönchengladbach to Rheydt: this is the main Aachen line. Near the station it had four tracks, and that can be restored, but most of this section is double-track. Extra tracks are needed here, for about 3 km. A new S-Bahn station (MG-Fachhochschule) is planned here. After Rheydt, the line to Köln and the former Iron Rhine diverge from the Aachen line. These lines, and the junction at Rheydt, are not considered further here.