Germany (Niedersachsen and Bremen) - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services
This list is based on the timetable dated from 11 December 2022 to 9 December 2023, unless otherwise stated. Standard abbreviations are explained in General Information.
Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). References prefixed "ERA-E" refer to the European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball. References prefixed "ERA-R" refer to the European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - Germany) by M.G. Ball. References prefixed "S+W", or in italic, refer to Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland by Schweers + Wall.
Saline – Westen
(ERA-E 42B3; ERA-R 87C5; S+W 9B3) DE23/151
This is a branch off DB's only metre-gauge line, on the island of Wangerooge. Passenger trains normally run only between the quay at Westanleger and Wangerooge town, but may run to Westen when required by pre-booked parties staying at the Youth Hostel or other accommodation there. Excursions have been known to run between Wangerooge and Westen during the summer season; however DB's Wangerooge website has no mention of any such trips in 2023.
Emden Hbf – Emden Außenhafen
[395,396] (ERA-E 42A1; ERA-R 87B4; S+W 18B4) DE23/152
This branch line is used by trains connecting with the ferry to and from Borkum. Dates and times of operation vary considerably. There are several RE services, mainly to and from Münster (Westf) Hbf or Bremen Hbf, and a few IC services with various origins and destinations. Times are shown in Kursbuch Table 396 and the Westfalen Bahn timetable.
Hamburg-Harburg – Buchholz (Nordheide) via Jesteburg
[120, 123] (ERA-E 45C4-43B1; ERA-R 89A4-89B4; S+W 21D2-21C2) DE23/153
This is an alternative route between Hamburg-Harburg and Buchholz (Nordheide). It is used by RB38 trains from Hamburg-Harburg to Hannover Hbf via Soltau (Han.) hourly 07:51 to 23:51 on Saturdays and Sundays only. This is so that the train can be overtaken by an IC or ICE train leaving Hamburg-Harburg for Bremen at 57 minutes past the hour.
This route is also used in the early hours of Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 April 2023 by a few RB41 services between Hamburg Hbf and Rotenburg (Wümme) or Bremen Hbf. These can be identified by the stops at Hittfeld, Klecken and Buchholz (Nordheide) being omitted and served by replacement bus.
Bremen-Sebaldsbrück – Bremen Hbf (via Abzw. Vahr)
 (ERA-E 43A1 not shown; ERA-R 88B3 not shown; S+W 9C2-9B2) DE23/154
Trains from the Hannover line to platforms 1, 2 or 3 on the Oldenburg side at Bremen Hbf have been known to use this spur which crosses from the north side of the line to the south side by passing under both the main Hannover and Osnabrück lines, but they may, alternatively, use crossovers at the approach to Bremen Hbf. 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: Ottersberg (Han.) (Abzw. Sagehorn) – Dreye (Abzw. Bremen-Gabelung)
[120, 385] (ERA-E 43A1; ERA-R 88B3-88B2; S+W 9D1-9C3) DE23/155
Most trains between Hamburg and Osnabrück call at Bremen Hbf, but this route enables those that do not to avoid a lengthy detour.
|FSSuX||ICE1031||Hamburg-Altona – 06:11 Hamburg Hbf – Köln Hbf|
|ICE1021||Ostseebad Binz / Stralsund Hbf / Hamburg-Altona – 16:10 Hamburg Hbf – Nürnberg Hbf|
|Note||IC2409 / ICE737||Lübeck Hbf – 18:08 Hamburg Hbf – Köln Hbf|
|ICE1038||Köln Hbf – 07:04 Essen Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
|IC2310/2312||Köln Hbf – 10:47 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Westerland (Sylt) / Dagebüll Mole|
|Note||IC2408 / ICE736||Köln Hbf – 11:47 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Lübeck Hbf|
|ICE1020||Passau Hbf – 13:47 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
|ICE928||Passau Hbf – 15:48 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
|ICE1030||Köln Hbf – 16:56 Essen Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
|IC2400||Köln Hbf – 19:47 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Hamburg-Altona|
Note: Trains run as IC2408 and IC2409 until 25 May 2023, then as ICE736 and ICE737 respectively
Flixtrain services between Hamburg and Köln formerly used this route but these trains now all call at Bremen Hbf.
Lüneburg Westseite (West station)
 (ERA-E 43C1 not shown; ERA-R 89B3; S+W 22C3) DE23/156
This is a separate station to the west of the main station. Connections to north and south link the Westseite station to the main Hamburg to Hannover line.
The north-end connection is used by most Hamburg local trains (RB31) starting or terminating at Lüneburg. A few late evening and early morning trains run to and from the main station. Services using the Westseite are those shown as using platforms 6 or 7 in the DB journey planner.
Both connections are used by the following service:
|SSuX||RB81607||Hamburg Hbf – 05:16 Bardowick – Uelzen|
The Westseite is also used to by all trains to and from Dannenberg Ost.
Osnabrück Schinkel and Löhner Curves: Osnabrück ob Bf – Wissingen (Bbf Lüstringen)
 (ERA-E 47B4; ERA-R 96C5; S+W 40C3) DE23/157
This is a curve from the high level station at Osnabrück to the Hannover line. It is used, mainly for a short period in the summer, by the following services, although a few run all year round.
Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram.
|SuX||IC2241||Münster (Westf) Hbf – 06:04 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||SuO||IC245/2245||Münster (Westf) Hbf – 08:03/08:04 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||SuX||IC2243||Amsterdam Centraal – 08:04 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||SuX||IC245||Amsterdam Centraal – 09:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||SuO||IC141||Amsterdam Centraal – 11:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||IC143||Amsterdam Centraal – 13:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||IC145||Amsterdam Centraal – 15:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||IC147||Amsterdam Centraal – 17:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||IC149||Amsterdam Centraal – 19:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||IC241||Amsterdam Centraal – 21:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Hannover Hbf / Berlin Ostbahnhof (SuO)|
|D2||SuO||IC243||Amsterdam Centraal – 23:03 Osnabrück Hbf – Hannover Hbf|
|D2||SuX||IC242||Hannover Hbf – 06:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||IC240||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 08:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||IC148||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 10:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||IC146||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 12:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||SuO||IC144||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 14:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||IC142||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 16:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||IC140||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 18:30 Bünde (Westf) – Amsterdam Centraal|
|D2||SX||IC2244||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 19:35 Bünde (Westf) – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
|IC2242||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 21:35 Bünde (Westf) – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
|SuO||IC2240||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 23:35 Bünde (Westf) – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
D1: SuO 11 December 2022 – 18 June 2023, 6 August - 3 December 2023;
D2: 23 June – 4 August 2023
Ahlten (Abzw. Lehrte West) – Aligse (Lehrte Nordgruppe, former Stw Lnf)
[360.6.7] (ERA-E 48B4; ERA-R 100A5; S+W 122D4) DE23/158
This west to north curve is used by the hourly S6 service between Hannover and Celle which runs non-stop between Hannover Karl-Wiechert-Allee and Aligse. Note that the S7 service which alternates with the S6 reverses at Lehrte and thus does not use this curve.
Lehrte (Abzw Lehrte West) – Misburg – Abzw Waldheim – Hannover Messe/Laatzen (Hannover Wülfel)
(ERA-E 48B4; ERA-R 100A5; S+W 122D4-122D3) DE23/159
This route forms the eastern part of the ring line round the south side of Hannover. It has no permanent services during this timetable period but is used by the following trains, principally in high summer, to avoid reversal (and presumably engineering work) at Hannover Hbf.
|D1||ICE993||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 06:36 Wolfsburg Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE791||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 07:48 Berlin-Spandau – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE793||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 09:47 Berlin-Spandau – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE795||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 12:35 Wolfsburg Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE797||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 13:45 Berlin-Spandau – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE799||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 15:47 Berlin-Spandau – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE995||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 18:36 Wolfsburg Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE1593||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 19:39 Wolfsburg Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D1||ICE997||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 20:42 Wolfsburg Hbf – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe|
|D1||ICE876||Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – 07:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||SSuX||ICE1598||05:58 Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||ICE996||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 08:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||ICE994||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 10:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||ICE992||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 12:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||ICE798||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 14:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D2||SuO||IC1174||Basel SBB – 15:50 Göttingen – Berlin Südkreuz|
|D2||FO||IC1694||Stuttgart Hbf – 15:50 Göttingen – Berlin Südkreuz|
|D1||ICE796||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 16:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Südkreuz|
|D1||ICE794||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 18:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||ICE792||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 20:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|D1||ICE790||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 22:40 Hannover Messe/Laatzen – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
D1: 17 June - 24 August 2023
D2: 12 December 2022 - 31 March 2023
Lehrte – Sehnde / Hämelerwald (Abzw Ramhorst) / Immensen-Arpke
[360.3] (ERA-E 48B4 partly shown; ERA-R 100A5; S+W 122D4) DE23/160
East of Lehrte, the lines from Hildesheim and Braunschweig join with the line from Wolfsburg in a complex flying junction.
Lehrte station is in two parts, with the south-side platforms 1 to 3 reached by different routes from those to the north-side platforms 11-14.
To/from Sehnde (Hildesheim line)
(S3: hourly with weekday peak extras)
Trains towards Hildesheim
Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram
Trains towards Hildesheim at 51 minutes past each hour from Lehrte depart from platform 11 on the north side of the main station island. They pass under the Wolfsburg line and then use a ladder crossing to the south side of the Braunschweig line to reach the west to south curve to the Hildesheim line.
Additional peak-hour trains start from Lehrte platform 3 and run directly from the Wolfsburg line onto the Braunschweig line and then the curve to the Hildesheim line. These trains depart Lehrte at 06:30, 07:36 and hourly from 14:34 until 17:34, all SSuX.
Trains from Hildesheim
Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram
Trains from Hildesheim arriving at Lehrte at 05 minutes past each hour fly over the eastbound Braunschweig line, joining the westbound flyover from Braunschweig shortly before it crosses over the Wolfsburg line, then diverge to the north to run into platform 13.
Peak-hour trains from Hildesheim that terminate at Lehrte platform 3 can either use the south side of the flying junction in the westbound direction, or use the flyover and the connection to the Wolfsburg line as used by trains from Braunschweig. These depart Hildesheim at 07:01, then hourly from 14:04 to 17:04, all SSuX.
To/from Hämelerwald (Braunschweig line)
(RE60/RE70: generally twice per hour; occasionally hourly, especially on weekend mornings)
Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram
Trains towards Braunschweig leave from platform 2 and head in a straight alignment onto the Braunschweig line, following this line's original route.
Trains from Braunschweig diverge to the north at Abzw Ramhorst and fly over the Wolfsburg line about 500 m further north of the eastbound line, taking a connection onto the Wolfsburg line to arrive in platform 1.
There are no trains between the Braunschweig line and the north-side platforms.
To/from Immensen-Arpke (Wolfsburg line)
(RE30: hourly with occasional extras)
Local services arrive and depart from platforms 1 and 2 respectively, using the main line connection to the Wolfsburg route. There is also a flying junction from the Wolfsburg line to the high-numbered platforms, with the eastbound line passing under the main line. Regular IC/ICE services between Berlin and Amsterdam or the Ruhr also use the main line route, but it is likely that any train to or from the Hannover ring line (DE23/159) would use the flying junction as the ring line can only be accessed from the north side platforms. Alternatively, trains to and from the ring line could gain or leave the north side platforms by crossing from and to the main line just east of the station. Reports on which route is taken would be welcomed by the compilers.
Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe (Abzw Siekweg) – Göttingen east side platforms
(ERA-E 48B2 not shown; S+W 55A2-55B2) DE23/161
This 2 km 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.
|D1||SSuX||ICE580||Zürich HB – 22:45 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
D1: This train ran as ICE272 SuX from 12 December 2022 - 31 March 2023, but then changed to as shown above.
Göttingen east side platforms – Friedland(Han) (Abzw Grone) [– Eichenberg]
(ERA-E 48B2 not shown; ERA-R 100A2; S+W 55A2-55B2) DE23/162
This previously freight-only connection (line 1800) diverges south of Göttingen station from the line to Abzw Siekweg (DE23/161) and runs to the west of the main line to Eichenberg, joining it at Abzw Grone, 2.3 km from Göttingen.
Trains to the Eichenberg line at Göttingen which depart from platforms 5 and 6 generally use this route, in the southbound direction only.
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
 (ERA-E 47B4; ERA-R 96C5; S+W 40C3) DE23/181
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 by buses. Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram.
Osnabrück Münster Curve: Wissingen (Lüstringen Bbf) – Hasbergen (Osnabrück ob Bf Süd)
 (ERA-E 47B4; ERA-R 96C5; S+W 40C3) DE23/182
This is an alternative route from the Hannover line to the Münster line at Osnabrück, instead of via the Löhner and Schinkel curves (DE23/157). Use of this route means that trains cannot call at Osnabrück Hbf.
Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram.
It is used between 18 and 27 October 2023 by the following trains:
|ICE1150||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 09:56 Hannover Hbf – Köln Hbf|
|ICE754||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 17:56 Hannover Hbf – Düsseldorf Hbf|
|IC2242||Berlin Ostbahnhof – 20:40 Hannover Hbf – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
|IC2241||05:33 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|ICE757||Köln Hbf – 10:39 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
|ICE1059||Köln Hbf – 16:30 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Berlin Ostbahnhof|
Lehrte (Abzw Lehrte West) – Misburg – Abzw Waldheim – Hannover-Linden - Wunstorf
(ERA-E 48B4; ERA-R 100A5; S+W 31D4-31B4) DE23/183
This is a ring line around the south side of Hannover. It is occasionally used by diverted IC trains between the Lehrte and Minden lines, this being indicated by omission of the usual stop at Hannover Hbf.
Hannover Hbf (Hannover Kurve) – Ahlem – Empelde
[360.5] (ERA-E 48B4; ERA-R 100A5; S+W 122B2-122D3) DE23/184
This route forms part of the ring line round the south side of Hannover, with the curve to the Hameln line. The hourly S5 trains between Hannover Hbf and Paderborn may be diverted this way if the route via Hannover-Linden is blocked. This occurred in spring 2022 and is scheduled again for the very early morning of Sunday 6 August 2023. Timetables are here (select the S5 links).
Northeim (Han) – Edesheim (Leine)
(ERA-E 48B2; ERA-R 100A2; S+W 55B1) DE23/185
Connections between the old main line and the Schnellfahrstrecke at Edesheim (Leine), north of Northeim (Han), are sometimes used by 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.
On Saturday 25 March 2023, the following ICE trains start and terminate at Nörten-Hardenberg, running non-stop to/from Hannover Hbf with short journey times. This implies the use of the connection between Edesheim Süd and Edesheim to gain the high-speed line northbound and leave it southbound.
|D||SO||ICE2974||09:19 Nörten-Hardenberg – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE2972||11:16 Nörten-Hardenberg – Rostock Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE2970||13:19 Nörten-Hardenberg – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE2968||15:18 Nörten-Hardenberg – Rostock Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE2966||17:19 Nörten-Hardenberg – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE2964||19:19 Nörten-Hardenberg – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE2962||21:19 Nörten-Hardenberg – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE2565||Hamburg-Altona – 08:00 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
|D||SO||ICE2967||Hamburg-Altona – 10:00 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
|D||SO||ICE2969||Rostock Hbf – 12:00 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
|D||SO||ICE2971||Rostock Hbf – 14:01 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
|D||SO||ICE2973||16:05 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
|D||SO||ICE2975||Rostock Hbf – 18:00 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
|D||SO||ICE1677||Rostock Hbf – 20:00 Hannover Hbf – Nörten-Hardenberg|
Nörten-Hardenberg – Northeim (Han)
(ERA-E 48B2 not shown; ERA-R 100A2; S+W 55B1-55B2) DE23/186
Connections between the old main line and the Schnellfahrstrecke at Nörten-Hardenberg, south of Northeim (Han), are sometimes used by 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.
Uelzen W750 – Uelzen W23 (Veerßer Kurve)
 (ERA-E 48C5; ERA-R 89C2; S+W 32C1) DE23/187
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 direct curve (the Veerßer Kurve) from the Stendal line to the east side of Uelzen station was opened in November 2013 giving a non-conflicting connection towards Hamburg. This was used by IRE services between Berlin and Hamburg but as these no longer run there are no services booked to use the Veerßer Kurve.
Note if any passenger services run via this curve and call they must use platform numbers 101 - 103 as all RE20 trains between Stendal and Uelzen using the original line to and from the west side of Uelzen station use platform numbers from 301 up. The Veerßer Kurve is occasionally used by diverted EC/IC/ICE services between Berlin and Hamburg when the usual route via Ludwigslust is not available; however no such services, or use of P101 - 103 by local services have been identified in the current timetable.
Bremen Hbf – Bremen-Oslebshausen via Bremen Rbf
 (ERA-E 43A1; ERA-R 88B3 S+W 9B2-9A1) DE23/188
The route through Bremen Rbf (Rangierbahnhof = marshalling yard) is rarely used by passenger trains. Its use can be discerned, at least for local RS1 stopping trains, by the call at Bremen-Walle being omitted. Trains can either run via single Line 1410 to the east and north of Bremen Rbf, which runs close to the passenger lines but diverges onto a separate alignment towards the north end of the yard, or on double track Lines 1401/1422 which run on the far side of the yard from the passenger lines.
Hamburg-Harburg – Ashausen via Maschen Rbf
 (ERA-E 45C4; ERA-R 89A4; S+W 120C1-D2 (inset)) DE23/189
This route round the back of Maschen Rbf is occasionally used for diverting trains between Hamburg, Winsen (Luhe) and Lüneburg when the main line through Maschen Pbf is unavailable. It is common with entry DE23/153 as far as Maschen Rbf Süd, although the route taken through Hamburg-Harburg to Meckelfeld may be different.
It is used by one RB31 train on 5 April 2023. This train does not call at Hamburg-Harburg so will probably use the goods lines through Harburg and the flyover to reach Maschen Rbf.
|WO||ME81643||22:34 Hamburg Hbf – Uelzen|
Reports suggest that this route is probably in use from 12 to 18 June 2023 by diverted IC/ICE services between Hamburg-Harburg and Lüneburg or Hannover Hbf.