Germany (Niedersachsen and Bremen) - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services
This list is based on the timetable dated from 10 December 2017 to 8 December 2018, unless otherwise stated. Standard abbreviations are explained in General Information. Map references relate to the 2014 issue of the Schweers+Wall Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland.
Saline – Westen
This is a branch off the line from Westanleger to Wangerooge. Passenger trains run to/from Westen when required by pre-booked parties staying at the Youth Hostel or other accommodation there. During the summer season, excursions run between Wangerooge and Westen: see DB's Wangerooge website and search ("Suche") for "Westen" during the season.
Emden Hbf - Emden Außenhafen
 (18B4) DE18/152
This branch line is used by trains connecting with the ferry to and from Borkum. These are a few IC trains, mostly to and from Köln, and some local trains between Münster and Emden. Dates and times of operation vary considerably. 'Emden Außenhafen' is indicated as the origin or destination of relevant trains in Kursbuch table 395.
Bremen-Sebaldsbrück – Bremen Hbf (via Abzw. Vahr)
 (9C2-9B2) DE18/153
Trains from the Hannover line to platforms 1, 2 or 3 at Bremen Hbf may use this spur, which crosses from the north side of the line to the south side by passing under both the main Hannover line and the Osnabrück line. They may, alternatively, use crossovers at the approach to Bremen Hbf. The route via Abzw. Vahr has been used by RE trains from Hannover to Bremen and also by IC trains from Hannover to Oldenburg. Trains in the opposite direction normally use the flat junction at Hastedt but, if the departure signal at Bremen Hbf platforms 1, 2 or 3 shows speed restriction 4 (= 40 km/h), that may indicate use of this route. There is no passenger use of the connections between Bremen-Hemelingen and Bremen Hbf via Abzw. Vahr known to the compilers.
Bremen avoiding line: Sagehorn – Dreye (Abzw. Bremen-Gabelung)
[120, 385] (9D1-9C3) DE18/154
Most trains between Hamburg and Osnabrück call at Bremen Hbf, but this route enables those that do not to avoid a lengthy detour.
|FSSuX||ICE1099||Hamburg-Altona – 06:12 Hamburg Hbf – Köln Hbf|
|FO||IC2401||Hamburg-Altona – 06:12 Hamburg Hbf – Köln Hbf|
|D||FO||IC2417||Fehmarn-Burg - 11:17 Hamburg-Harburg – Köln Hbf|
|D||SO||IC2405||Stralsund Hbf – 15:12 Hamburg-Harburg – Köln Hbf|
|SuO||IC2409||Stralsund Hbf – 16:08 Hamburg Harburg – Köln Hbf|
|SSuX||IC2195||Hamburg-Altona - 16:10 Hamburg-Harburg – Köln Hbf|
|SuO||IC2197||Hamburg-Altona – 18:10 Hamburg-Harburg – Köln Hbf|
|FSSuX||ICE1098||Köln Hbf – 07:03 Essen Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||IC2410||Köln/Bonn Flughafen – 09:05 Gelsenkirchen Hbf - Fehmarn-Burg|
|SX||IC2196||Köln Hbf – 17:02 Essen Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
The Hamburg Köln Express trains, which used this route, ceased running in October 2017.
Kirchweyhe – Kirchweyhe BTE
This south to west curve provides the only usable connection between DB and the Bremen-Thedinghauser Eisenbahn. BTE runs excursions, mostly during the summer, from Leeste to destinations on the DB network. See www.pingelheini.de.
Lüneburg Westseite (West station)
 (22C3) DE18/156
This is a separate station, west of the main line, which is used by most Hamburg local trains starting or terminating at Lüneburg. Those using the main station are departures at 04:32 SuX, 05:32 and 05:52/05:58 SSuX and arrivals at 03:59 SSuO, 05:21 SSuX and 06:22 SuX. The Westseite is also used by all trains to and from Dannenberg Ost.
Uelzen W750 - Uelzen W23 (Veerßer Kurve)
 (32C1) DE18/157
The Stendal - Salzwedel - Uelzen - Bremen line crosses under the Hannover - Hamburg main line just south of Uelzen and curves north to serve the west side of Uelzen station. A new direct curve (the Veerßer Kurve) from the Stendal line to the east side of Uelzen station, giving a non-conflicting connection towards Hamburg, was opened in November 2013.
Most trains between Stendal and Uelzen use the original line to and from the west side of Uelzen station. However, IRE services from Berlin to Hamburg (introduced on 15 April 2014) normally use the Veerßer Kurve in this direction only to call at platform 102 on the east side of the station.
Osnabrück Schinkel and Löhner Curves: Osnabrück ob Bf – Wissingen (Bbf Lüstringen)
 (40C3) DE18/158
This is a curve from the high level station at Osnabrück to the Hannover line.
|SuX||IC2241||Münster (Westf) – 06:04 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|SuO||IC2343||Münster (Westf) - 08:04 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|SX||IC1926||Köln Hbf - 16:57 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|FSSuX||IC1929||Berlin Ostbahnhof - 10:41 Bünde (Westf) - Köln Hbf|
|IC2242||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 21:35 Bünde (Westf) – Münster (Westf)|
|SuO||IC2240||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 23:35 Bünde (Westf) – Münster (Westf)|
Ahlten (Abzw. Lehrte West) – Aligse (Lehrte Nordgruppe, former Stw Lnf)
[360.6.7] (122D4) DE18/159
This west to north curve is used by trains between Hannover and Burgdorf which run non-stop between Hannover Karl-Wiechert-Allee and Aligse. There is an hourly S-Bahn service between Hannover and Celle by this route. The curve is also used by IC/ICE trains between Hamburg and Hannover Messe/Laatzen from 1 to 14 October, when the usual stop at Hannover Hbf is omitted.
Lehrte (Abzw Lehrte West) – Misburg – Abzw Waldheim – Hannover Messe/Laatzen (Hannover Wülfel)
This route forms the eastern part of the ring line round the south side of Hannover. It is used by the following trains to avoid reversal at Hannover Hbf.
|Locomore||Berlin-Lichtenberg - 16:46 Hannover Hbf - Stuttgart Hbf|
|SSuX||ICE1598||05:58 Frankfurt am Main Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|Locomore||Stuttgart Hbf - 10:20 Göttingen - Berlin-Lichtenberg|
|FO||IC1970||Stuttgart Hbf - 15:50 Göttingen - Stralsund Hbf|
For dates of operation of Locomore services and to make bookings, see the Flixbus website.
The trains between Paris and Moskva are diverted this way when departure from Moskva is on 24 April and from Paris on 26 April.
This route is also used by diverted IC/ICE trains between Lehrte and Hannover Messe/Laatzen from 1 to 14 October, when the usual stop at Hannover Hbf is omitted. This includes trains to and from Hamburg via the west to north curve at Lehrte.
Lehrte – Sehnde
[360.3] (122D4) DE18/161
East of Lehrte, the lines from Braunschweig and Hildesheim join with the line from Gifhorn in a complex flying junction. Trains from Lehrte towards Braunschweig or Hildesheim dive under the Gifhorn line and follow the original alignment of the Braunschweig line. Trains towards Lehrte diverge to the north and fly over the Gifhorn line about ½ km further north.
As an exception to this, any train from Hildesheim that terminates at Lehrte platform 3 will use the south side of the flying junction in the inbound direction.
Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe (Abzw Siekweg) – Göttingen east side platforms
This 2km link (line 1803) leaves the Kassel Schnellfahrstrecke south of Göttingen and then crosses the Eichenberg line before joining the eastern platforms at Göttingen. It is normally used by northbound trains stopping at platform 4 at Göttingen. Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram
The following train is booked to use platform 4 at Göttingen, but may not always do so.
|SSuX||ICE272||Zürich HB - 22:45 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe - Hamburg-Altona|
(Eichenberg –) Friedland(Han.) (Abzw. Grone) – Göttingen east side platforms
Trains to and from the Eichenberg line at Göttingen platforms 4 and 5 generally use this previously freight-only connection. Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram.
Obscure services: Lines used on an occasional basis for engineering work diversions
Osnabrück Schinkel and Stahlwerks Curves: Osnabrück ob Bf – Osnabrück unt Bf
 (40C3) DE18/181
These curves allow trains to run between the Münster and Rheine lines, passing through both the high-level and low-level platforms at Osnabrück. The route may be used by IC trains if the direct line between Münster (Westf) and Rheine is blocked. This is indicated by an extended journey time and local trains being replaced be buses. Such diversions too place between 5 and 13 August 2017.
Lehrte (Abzw Lehrte West) – Misburg – Abzw Waldheim – Hannover-Linden - Wunstorf
This is a ring line around the south side of Hannover. It is used by diverted IC trains between Lehrte and Osnabrück from 1 to 14 October, when the usual stop at Hannover Hbf is omitted.
Hannover Hbf (Hannover Kurve) - Ahlem - Empelde
This route forms part of the ring line round the south side of Hannover, with the curve to the Hameln line. The following trains are diverted this way:
|D1||FO||IC469||Flensburg - 23:59 Hannover Hbf - Basel Bad Bf|
|D1||SO||IC479||Kiel Hbf - 23:59 Hannover Hbf - Basel Bad Bf|
|D1||SuO||ICE1271||Hamburg-Altona - 01:10 MO Hannover Hbf - Chur|
|D1||SSuX||ICE272||Zürich HB - 22:45 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe - Hamburg Hbf|
|D1||SuO||ICE590||München Hbf - 23:43 Kassel-Wilhemshöhe - Hamburg Hbf|
|D2||SuO||ICE990||München Hbf - 02:25 MO Bad Hersfeld - Hamburg-Altona|
D1: 1 to 14 October
D2: 30 September to 7 October
Northeim (Han) - Edesheim (Leine)
Connections between the old main line and the Schnellfahrstrecke at Edesheim (Leine), north of Northeim (Han), are sometimes used by IC/ICE trains during engineering work. Use of the old main line instead of the Schnellfahrstrecke results in an extended journey time between Göttingen and Hannover, but it is not normally possible to tell from public information which connection is being used. Many trains were diverted via the old main line between Göttingen and Edesheim (Leine) between 12 and 28 August 2017.
Norten-Hardenburg - Northheim (Han)
Connections between the old main line and the Schnellfahrstrecke at Norten-Hardenberg, south of Northeim (Han), are sometimes used by IC/ICE trains during engineering work. Use of the old main line instead of the Schnellfahrstrecke results in an extended journey time between Göttingen and Hannover, but it is not normally possible to tell from public information which connection is being used.