Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen) - 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.
Obscure services: Lines with regular use
Dortmund Hbf (Abzw Lütgendortmund) – Witten Hbf (Abzw Stockumer Straße)
[427, 455] (ERA-E 46C5; ERA-R 98A4; S+W 138D3) DE23/351
This east to south curve is used by trains running non-stop between Dortmund Hbf and Witten Hbf, Hagen Hbf or Wuppertal Hbf. There are hourly IC/ICE services to and from Hagen or Wuppertal and hourly RE trains to/from Witten.
Dortmund Aplerbeck Süd (Abzw Schwerte Heide) – Fröndenberg (Schwerte Ost)
[435, 438] (ERA-E 46C5; ERA-R 98B3; S+W 139C3) DE23/352
This north to east curve connects the Dortmund and Brilon Wald lines east of Schwerte (Ruhr). It is used by through trains between Dortmund Hbf and Bestwig, Brilon Wald, Brilon Stadt or Willingen, approximately hourly, except for trains at 21:23, 22:23 and 23:23 from Dortmund Hbf, also 00:23 SSuO and 01:23 SSuO, which reverse at Schwerte (Ruhr).
Note Between 26 August and 6 October 2023, the above trains depart at xx:13 and all other trains on this route also reverse at Schwerte (Ruhr), in both directions.
Recklinghausen Süd – Bochum-Riemke (Herne-Rottbruch)
 (ERA-E 46C5; ERA-R 98A4; S+W 138B1-B2) DE23/353
This line links the line from Recklinghausen Hbf to Gelsenkirchen with the Gelsenkirchen to Bochum Gluckauf-Bahn by crossing over the Gelsenkirchen – Herne – Dortmund line.
From 11 June 2023 it was due to be used by a new hourly RE41 service between Haltern am See and Bochum Hbf, but the start of service has been delayed until December 2023. Note that the service will run non-stop between Recklinghausen Süd and Bochum Hbf.
Hohenlimburg (Hagen-Kabel) – Hagen-Vorhalle
 (ERA-E 46C4; ERA-R 98A3-98B3; S+W 139B4) DE23/354
This curve allows trains to run between the Siegen and Witten lines avoiding Hagen Hbf. Since December 2021 it has been used by a series of IC34 trains between Frankfurt (Main) and Dortmund Hbf or Münster (Westf) Hbf.
|SSuX||IC2328||Siegen Hbf – 06:22 Letmathe – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
|SuX||IC2326||Stuttgart Hbf (SSuX) / Siegen Hbf (SO) – 08:23 Letmathe – Dortmund Hbf|
|IC2324||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf (SuX) / Siegen Hbf (SuO) – 10:23 Letmathe – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
|IC2320||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 14:23 Letmathe – Dortmund Hbf|
|IC2226||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 18:23 Letmathe – Münster (Westf) Hbf|
|IC2224||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 20:23 Letmathe – Dortmund Hbf|
|SSuX||IC2223||Dortmund Hbf – 05:14 Witten Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|SuX||IC2225||Münster (Westf) Hbf (SX) / Dortmund Hbf (SO) – 07:14 Witten Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|IC2229||Dortmund Hbf – 11:14 Witten Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|IC2323||Münster (Westf) Hbf – 15:14 Witten Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|IC2325||Dortmund Hbf – 17:14 Witten Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|IC2327||Münster (Westf) Hbf – 19:14 Witten Hbf – Siegen Hbf|
Note that until at least the end of 2026, local tickets (including the NRW SchönerTagTicket) are valid on these trains between Dillenburg and Dortmund. This is an attempt to ease the traffic chaos that has followed the closure of the nearby A45 Autobahn viaduct at Rahmede.
Hohenlimburg (Hagen-Kabel) – Schwerte (Ruhr) (Westhofen (Westf))
 (ERA-E 46C4; ERA-R 98A3-98B3; S+W 139B4) DE23/355
This curve allows trains to run between the Siegen and Schwerte lines avoiding Hagen Hbf. It is used by a pair of Frankfurt (Main) to Norddeich Mole IC services.
|IC2322||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 12:13 Letmathe – Norddeich Mole|
|IC2321||Norddeich Mole – 13:30 Schwerte (Ruhr) – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
Bochum Hbf (Abzw Prinz von Preußen) – Abzw Dortmund-Dorstfeld – Dortmund Signal Iduna Park (Abzw Schnettkerbrücke)
(ERA-E 46B5-46C5; ERA-R 98A4; S+W 138C3-139A3) DE23/356
These connections link Bochum Hbf with Dortmund Signal Iduna Park via the goods lines which run parallel to the main Bochum to Dortmund line, thus avoiding Dortmund Hbf.
Between 29 December 2022 and 14 April 2023, RE11 services between Düsseldorf Hbf (Essen Hbf between 7 and 27 January 2023) and Hamm (Westf) Hbf or Paderborn Hbf run via this route rather than via Kamen. These generally run hourly. Eastbound services depart from Bochum Hbf platform 5, which means that they must run via the main Bochum to Dortmund line and gain the goods lines via a connection from Bochum-Langendreer to Langendreer Ost. Westbound services arrive at Platform 2, which means that they must run via the freight lines all the way to Abzw Bochum Prinz von Preußen, thence by a single-track connection to platform 2.
From 15 April 2023, RE11 reverts to running via Kamen so these connections will no longer be used daily.
The line is also used by football specials which operate between Duisburg and Dortmund Signal Iduna-Park when Borussia Dortmund are playing at home.
Neuss avoiding line: Neuss Am Kaiser (Abzw Erftkanal) – Meerbusch-Osterath (Abzw Weißenberg)
 (ERA-E 46A4; ERA-R 97A1; S+W 140C3) DE23/357
This east to north curve is used by trains between Düsseldorf Hbf and Krefeld not calling at Neuss Hbf. These are the half-hourly (hourly at weekends) services between Düsseldorf Hbf and Kleve.
Holzheim b. Neuss / Neuss Süd (Neuss Nordkanal) – Neuss Hbf – Neuss Am Kaiser (Abzw Erftkanal)
[450.8/11/28, 485, 488] (ERA-E 46A3 not shown; ERA-R 97A1; S+W 140C3-140C4) DE23/358
Neuss Hbf is in two parts, the eastern platforms 1-4 and the western platforms 5-8, with separate approach tracks to each from the Düsseldorf, Grevenbroich and Köln lines. All S-Bahn trains use the west side, with S11 services to and from Köln Hbf using the long curve (line 2531) to Neuss Nordkanal. All RE and RB trains use the east side with the exception of RE4 and RE13 via Mönchengladbach, which must use the west side.
 (ERA-E 42A5-B4; ERA-R 104A1; S+W 146A3-148D2) DE23/359
The Südbrücke provides an alternative route across the Rhein to the Hohenzollernbrücke at Köln Hbf. It has north and south-facing connections to the main lines on both sides of the river. It is mainly used by freight.
Köln Süd – Troisdorf (via Köln-Bonntor and Gremberg Rbf): This north-west to south-east route enables trains via Troisdorf, but not Köln/Bonn Flughafen, to arrive and depart at the west end of Köln Hbf. Between Abzw Steinstraße (where the line from Südbrücke joins) and Troisdorf, trains from Südbrücke that do not use the Schnellfahrstrecke will use the goods line to the west of the high-speed line, rather than the local passenger line to the east of it.
The following service runs this way.
|SSuX||ICE711||06:01 Köln Hbf – Stuttgart Hbf|
Köln Süd – Troisdorf (via Köln-Bonntor and Köln-Kalk Süd): This alternative north-west to south-east route enables trains via Köln/Bonn Flughafen to arrive and depart at the west end of Köln Hbf.
This route must also be used by any services diverted via the Südbrücke calling at, or running through the two platform tracks at Porz (Rhein) as it is then impossible to travel via Gremberg Rbf.
It is used on the weekend of 22 and 23 April by diverted RE8 and RB27 (Mönchengladbach Hbf – Koblenz Hbf) services in the direction of Koblenz Hbf only, and by RE9 (Siegen Hbf – Aachen Hbf) services in the direction of Aachen Hbf only. All these trains can be identified by their omitting calls at Köln Hbf and Köln Messe/Deutz and calling additionally at Köln Süd between calls at Köln-Ehrenfeld and Porz (Rhein) or Köln/Bonn Flughafen.
These services also use the Köln Ehrenfeld – Köln West curve (DE23/360).
Köln Süd – Köln-Mulheim (via Köln-Bonntor and Köln-Kalk): This north-west to north-east route enables trains via Leverkusen Mitte or Solingen Hbf to arrive and depart at the west end of Köln Hbf. When the line through Köln Messe/Deutz is blocked, trains may be diverted this way.
Troisdorf – Hürth-Kalscheuren (Köln Eifeltor) (via Köln-Kalk and Köln Bonntor): This south-east to south-west route sees very occasional use by diverted passenger trains.
Köln-Mülheim – Hürth-Kalscheuren (Köln Eifeltor) (via Köln-Kalk and Köln Bonntor): This north-east to south-west route sees very occasional use by diverted passenger trains.
Köln-Ehrenfeld – Köln West
(ERA-E 42A5; ERA-R 104A1; S+W 146A2-146A3) DE23/360
This west to south curve links the Aachen and Koblenz lines west of Köln Hbf. It was formerly used by Alpen Express winter sports trains between Den Haag and Alpine resorts but these now run via, and call at, Köln Hbf. It is often used to enable trains which have been diverted over the Südbrücke (DE23/359) to reach the Aachen line when they are unable to run via Köln Hbf. This can often be discerned by these services calling at Köln-Ehrenfeld instead of Köln Hbf.
It is used on certain dates throughout the year by the Wien / Innsbruck <=> Bruxelles / Amsterdam sleepers, which run combined between Köln West and Nürnberg Hbf (NJ420/421, NJ424/425). Dates that trains run this way can be discerned by the call on the Bruxelles portion at Köln Hbf being omitted, and on the Amsterdam portion, calls between Köln Hbf and Arnhem Centraal being omitted and replaced with a stop at 's-Hertogenbosch.
This route is also used on the weekend of 22 and 23 April 2023 by diverted RE8 and RB27 (Mönchengladbach Hbf – Koblenz Hbf) services in the direction of Koblenz Hbf only, and by RE9 (Siegen Hbf – Aachen Hbf) services in the direction of Aachen Hbf only. All these trains can be identified by their calling additionally at Köln Süd between calls at Köln-Ehrenfeld and Porz (Rhein) or Köln/Bonn Flughafen.
 (ERA-E 52C5; ERA-R 104C4; S+W 63A2) DE23/360
There is a triangular junction at Horrem station. Bedburg trains terminating and starting at Horrem use platform 10 on the north to west curve. These run hourly, Mondays to Fridays. Trains between Bedburg and Köln Hbf use platform 19 on the north to east curve. These run hourly every day.
Bonn-Beuel – Hangelar
(ERA-E 53A5; ERA-R 105A4; S+W 149A4-149B4) DE23/361
Until 2019, trains operated by Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn (RSE) provided a passenger service over this line in connection with the annual Pützchens Markt early in September, however services never resumed after the pandemic.
In summer 2023, RSE sold the railbuses that used to operate this service and applied to formally close the line.
Unless a last-minute reprieve is forthcoming, this entry will be deleted at the next annual revision.
Obscure services: Lines used on an occasional basis for engineering work diversions
Buke – Langeland (Altenbeken Kurve)
[360.5, 430] (ERA-E 48A2; ERA-R 99B3; S+W 53C1) DE23/381
This south to east curve enables trains to run between the Warburg and Hameln lines without reversing at Altenbeken. It is used, particularly by overnight trains, when the classic line from Hannover via Göttingen is unavailable.
Because of a freight train derailment on 10 September 2023 at Geseke, between Lippstadt and Paderborn, trains on route IC50 (Köln - Gera) were diverted via Herford (reverse) and this curve.
Note: While these trains have timings shown in the DB journey planner for every day of the week from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 September 2023, they are shown as 'cancelled' every day so do not run. From Monday 25 September 2023 onwards, trains are shown as running by the booked route via Paderborn.
|Cancelled||IC2155||Köln Hbf / Düsseldorf Hbf – 11:43 Herford – Gera Hbf|
|Cancelled||IC2157||Köln Hbf / Düsseldorf Hbf – 17:32 Herford – Gera Hbf|
|Cancelled||IC2156||Gera Hbf – 09:34 Warburg (Westf) – Düsseldorf Hbf / Köln Hbf|
|Cancelled||IC2152||Gera Hbf – 15:34 Warburg (Westf) – Düsseldorf Hbf / Köln Hbf|
On Saturday 25 March 2023, the following trains were booked to run non-stop between Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe and Hannover Hbf, with considerably extended journey times, which suggested the use of this curve.
|D||SO||ICE474||Basel Bad Bf – 09:21 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE770||Stuttgart Hbf – 12:21 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE76||Zürich HB – 13:21 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE578||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 14:28 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE74||Zürich HB – 15:21 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Kiel Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE576||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 16:21 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE572||Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – 20:25 Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe – Hamburg-Altona|
|D||SO||ICE575||Hamburg-Altona – 08:43 Hannover Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE75||Kiel Hbf – 09:43 Hannover Hbf – Zürich HB|
|D||SO||ICE577||Hamburg-Altona – 10:45 Hannover Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE77||Hamburg-Altona – 11:45 Hannover Hbf – Zürich HB|
|D||SO||ICE579||Hamburg-Altona – 12:43 Hannover Hbf – Frankfurt (Main) Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE79||Hamburg-Altona – 13:43 Hannover Hbf – Zürich HB|
|D||SO||ICE771||Hamburg-Altona – 14:43 Hannover Hbf – Stuttgart Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE1171||Hamburg-Altona – 15:43 Hannover Hbf – Basel SBB|
|D||SO||ICE773||Hamburg-Altona – 16:43 Hannover Hbf – Stuttgart Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE273||Hamburg-Altona – 17:43 Hannover Hbf – Freiburg (Brsg) Hbf|
|D||SO||ICE56913||Hamburg-Altona – 19:41 Hannover Hbf – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe|
Münster (Westf) avoiding line: Südmühle – Münster Kanal – Münster-Lechtenberg
[385, 410] (ERA-E 47B3; ERA-R 96B3; S+W 134C1-134C2) DE23/382
This line passes to the east of Münster and enables trains between the Osnabück and Hamm lines to avoid the Hauptbahnhof. It is used occasionally by diverted IC/ICE services between Hamburg and Köln.
Minden (Westf) – Hamm (via Goods Line)
[370, 400] (ERA-E 48A4-47B2 not shown; ERA-R 99B5-96B3 not shown; S+W 41C1-52B1) DE23/383
Hamm to Minden is the longest quadruple line in Germany. Between Bielefeld and Gütersloh the goods lines fly over the passenger lines, and between Heessen and Ahlen they dive under. The goods lines are sometimes used by relief trains between Hannover and the Ruhr in order to overtake stopping services. They are also used when engineering work is taking place on the main line, which may be indicated by stopping trains being advertised not to call at certain stations. Numerous crossovers allow trains to switch between the passenger and goods lines, so the full length of the goods lines is rarely used by diverted passenger trains.
Hamm (Westf) avoiding line: Nordbögge (Hamm Rbf Hso) – Welver (Abzw Hamm Gallberg)
 (ERA-E 47B2; ERA-R 98C5; S+W 134B4) DE23/384
This curve (line 2921) links the lines from south and west of Hamm with the line to Soest and enables trains to run between the Dortmund area and Soest without reversing at Hamm (Westf) Hbf.
Hamm (Westf) (Hamm Rbf Hde) – Horstmar – Recklinghausen Ost (Abzw Recklinghausen Blumenthal) [– Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord]
[415, 450.9] (ERA-E 47B2-46B5; ERA-R 98C5-97C5; S+W 52B1-51B2) DE23/385
This east-west freight line runs to the north of the Ruhr conurbation. Trains between Hamm and Dortmund may be diverted via Abzw Horstmar and Lünen Preußen when the main line via Kamen is blocked.
Trains between Hamm and Gelsenkirchen may be diverted via Recklinghausen Ost and Wanne-Eickel. Trains not stopping between Hamm Hbf and Bottrop Hbf or Oberhausen Hbf are likely to run via Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord.
From 11 September 2020, S9 services commenced running between Recklinghausen Hbf and Gladbeck West, thus restoring passenger service over the western end of this line between Abzw Recklinghausen Blumenthal and Gelsenkirchen-Buer Nord.
Dortmund-Mengede (Dortmund-Nette) – Dortmund-Deusen – Dortmund-Kirchderne
[411, 416] (ERA-E 46C5; ERA-R 98A4-98B4; S+W 139A1-139B2) DE23/386
This freight line round the north side of Dortmund links the lines to Wanne-Eickel and Münster. It may be used by trains diverted away from Dortmund Hbf.
Dortmund-Mengede (Dortmund-Nette) – Dortmund-Deusen – Dortmund-Kurl (Dortmund-Scharnhorst)
[411, 416] (ERA-E 46C5; ERA-R 98A4-98B4; S+W 139A1-139B2) DE23/386A
This freight line round the north side of Dortmund links the lines to Wanne-Eickel and Hamm. It may be used by trains diverted away from Dortmund Hbf. It is common with the previous entry between Abzw Nette and Dortmund-Obereving.
It is used on 20 May 2023 by the hourly RE3 trains from Hamm (Westf) Hbf to Düsseldorf Hbf, in that direction only. These run non-stop from Dortmund-Kurl to Dortmund-Mengede, omitting Dortmund Hbf.
Herne (Herne-Rottbruch Hgn) – Gelsenkirchen Zoo (Wanne Unser Fritz) via Abzw Crange
 (ERA-E 46xx; ERA-R 98xx; S+W 138B2) DE23/386B
This line links Herne with the line via Gelsenkirchen Zoo to Dorsten via Gladbeck Ost and to Bottrop Süd, avoiding Wanne-Eickel Hbf. The hourly RB43 Dorsten - Dortmund services are diverted this way on 6, 7 and 8 March 2023, between 07:15 and 16:45 each day.
Oberhausen West – Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath – Düsseldorf-Eller
 (ERA-E 46A5-46A3; ERA-R 97B4-97B1; S+W 141A4-137A2) DE23/387
This line, together with Hilden – Opladen, forms a freight route between Köln and Oberhausen, only limited sections of which are used by passenger trains. From Oberhausen West trains may run to a variety of places, including the Emmerich line, Bottrop Hbf, Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck and Essen-Bergeborbeck. The following routes, among others, are possible:
Essen-Bergeborbeck – Oberhausen West – Duisburg Hbf
Used by diverted trains between Gelsenkirchen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf, omitting Oberhausen Hbf.
Bottrop Hbf – Essen Prosper-Levin – Oberhausen West – Duisburg Hbf
Used by diverted trains between Hamm, Dortmund, Recklinghausen or Münster, running via DE23/385, and Duisburg Hbf, omitting calls in the Ruhr up to Oberhausen Hbf.
Oberhausen-Sterkrade – Oberhausen West – Duisburg Hbf
Used by diverted trains between the Emmerich line and Duisburg Hbf, omitting Oberhausen Hbf. RE5 (Koblenz Hbf – Wesel) and RE19 (Düsseldorf Hbf - Arnhem Centraal) services are diverted this way between 23 and 30 June 2023, also between 30 September and 13 October, when RE5 services also use the Krefeld eastern avoider (DE23/389) and the Köln Hbf western avoider (DE23/397).
Essen-Bergeborbeck – Oberhausen West – Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath
Used by diverted trains between Gelsenkirchen Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf, omitting both Oberhausen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf. This is expected to occur to IC/ICE services on Sunday 26 February 2023.
Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck – Essen Prosper-Levin – Oberhausen West - Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath
Used by diverted trains between Wanne-Eickel Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf, omitting Gelsenkirchen Hbf, Oberhausen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf.
Bottrop Hbf – Essen Prosper-Levin – Oberhausen West – Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath
Used by diverted trains running via DE23/385, not stopping until Düsseldorf Hbf.
Oberhausen-Sterkrade – Oberhausen West – Duisburg-Wedau – Düsseldorf-Rath
Used by diverted trains between the Emmerich line and Düsseldorf Hbf, omitting Oberhausen Hbf and Duisburg Hbf. The following ICE services are expected to run this way between 26 February / 4 March and 31 March 2023.
|D1||ICE104||Amsterdam Centraal – 09:07 Arnhem Centraal – Karlsruhe Hbf / Basel SBB|
|D2||ICE105||Karlsruhe Hbf / Basel SBB – 19:38 Düsseldorf Hbf – Amsterdam Centraal|
D1: 26 February; 4 - 31 March 2023, not 5 March
D2: 4 - 31 March 2023
Bottrop Hbf/Oberhausen Hbf – Oberhausen West – Moers (Meerbeck) and Trompet - Krefeld-Uerdingen
[415, 490] (ERA-E 46B5-46A4; ERA-R 97B4-97A4; S+W 137A2-136C4) DE23/388
This route which crosses the Rhein by the Haus-Knipp-Brücke avoids the Duisburg area and is only occasionally used for passenger trains. At its eastern end it has connections towards Bottrop Hbf and Oberhausen Hbf.
Meerbusch-Osterath (Krefeld-Lohbruch) – Krefeld-Linn
(ERA-E 46A4; ERA-R 97A2; S+W 140C1) DE23/389
This part of the line from Neuss to Duisburg, avoiding Krefeld Hbf, does not have a regular passenger service. When engineering work restricts the available paths between Köln Hbf and Düsseldorf Hbf, trains running non-stop from Köln Hbf to Duisburg Hbf may either run via Neuss and this line or run via Hilden (DE23/392). Trains starting or terminating in Köln Hbf may use either route but ones coming up the Rhein valley from Koblenz without sufficient time to reverse in Köln Hbf are more likely to use DE23/392.
Between 7 and 27 January 2023, because of engineering work at Düsseldorf-Derendorf, RE6 services between Köln/Bonn Flughafen and Minden run non-stop between Neuss Hbf and Duisburg Hbf, thereby using this line. RE42 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Mönchengladbach services are diverted this way northbound between 7 and 13 January and southbound between 14 and 20 January. The southbound trains also run via Neuss Rbf (freight yard).
Between 27 May and 9 June 2023, RE42 Münster (Westf) Hbf – Mönchengladbach services are booked to be diverted via this route, running non-stop between Krefeld-Uerdingen and Mönchengladbach Hbf. The southbound trains are also intended to run via Neuss Rbf. Reports suggest that this routeing is inconsistent, so it may be advisable to confirm the train's routeing with the driver before travelling.
Between 30 September and 13 October 2023, RE5 (Wesel – Koblenz Hbf) services are diverted this way. They also run via Oberhausen West (DE23/387) and the north-south connection west of Köln Hbf (DE23/397), omitting Oberhausen Hbf, Düsseldorf Hbf and Köln Hbf, but calling at Duisburg Hbf and additionally at Neuss Hbf and Dormagen en route to Köln Süd.
Witten Hbf – Hagen-Vorhalle
(ERA-E 46C4; ERA-R 98A3; S+W 138D4-143A1) DE23/390
There are two routes between Witten Hbf and Hagen-Vorhalle. Passenger trains normally use the line via Wetter (Ruhr) to the east of the Ruhr river but may occasionally be diverted via the freight line west of the river. On the morning of Saturday 25 February 2023, the hourly RE16 (Iserlohn – Hagen Hbf – Bochum Hbf – Essen Hbf) services are diverted this way in both directions until 13:15, not calling at Wetter (Ruhr). RE16 services are also diverted this way on 29 April 2023.
Between 3 and 31 July 2023, the hourly RE57 Dortmund Hbf – Winterberg (Westf) services are diverted this way, also using the connection via Abzw Hohensyburg to Westhofen (Westf) (DE23/390A).
Hagen-Vorhalle – Abzw Hohensyburg – Schwerte (Ruhr) (Westhofen (Westf))
(ERA-E 46C4; ERA-R 98A3; S+W 139A4-139B4) DE23/390A
This connection links both the Ruhr east and west-bank lines (DE23/390) with the Hagen to Hamm (Westf) line, avoiding Hagen Hbf. It was formerly used by winter ski trains between Dortmund and Winterberg (Westf), but these have not run since 2019.
Between 3 and 31 July 2023, the hourly RE57 Dortmund Hbf – Winterberg (Westf) trains run via the Ruhr west-bank line and this connection as far as Westhofen (Westf). As these trains call at Schwerte (Ruhr), they must join the main line at Westhofen and so do not use the diveunder line between Schwerte and Schwerte Ost.
Siegen avoiding line: Siegen-Weidenau – Wilnsdorf-Rudersdorf (Siegen Ost Gbf)
[440, 445] (S+W 64C2) DE23/391
This connection links the Hagen and Gießen lines, avoiding Siegen Hbf. It is heavily used by freight trains, but only has a passenger service when trains are diverted away from Siegen Hbf.
If the 2-hourly IC services between Frankfurt (Main) Hbf, Siegen Hbf and Dortmund Hbf or Münster (Westf) Hbf (in either direction) are running late, they have been known to omit Siegen Hbf and call at Siegen-Weidenau instead. This was reported to have happened to at least two services on 7 June 2022 with the DB App updated to show this.
Düsseldorf Flughafen (Abzw Düsseldorf-Unterrath Karthauser Weg) – Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal (Abzw Düsseldorf Flughafen W884)
[415.1, 416] S+W 141A2 DE23/392
This north to west curve enables trains from the north to reach the terminus station at Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal, which is normally only served by S-Bahn trains from the south. Since July 2020 the one very early morning train that used this line has not run, but owing to engineering work this curve is used between 7 and 27 January 2023 by RE2 services from Osnabrück Hbf, diverted away from Düsseldorf Hbf to Düsseldorf Flughafen Terminal to turn round.
Hilden – Opladen
 (ERA-E 46B3-47A1; ERA-R 97B1-104A2; S+W 141B4-147C2) DE23/393
This freight line forms part of an alternative route between Düsseldorf and Köln. No services have been identified as using it in this timetable period, however it is frequently used for diversions of RE and long-distance services.
RE1 services between Aachen and Hamm are planned to be diverted this way between 28 July and 25 August 2023, calling additionally at Opladen. Full details are not yet available as timings are not in the DB journey planner. Once they appear, this entry will be updated.
Köln-Ehrenfeld – Köln-Nippes
(ERA-E 42A5; ERA-R 104A1; S+W 146A2) DE23/394
This west to north curve links the Aachen and Neuss lines west of Köln Hbf. It is used by services between Aachen and Düsseldorf if they are unable to run via Köln Hbf. RE1 services towards Aachen only are scheduled to use this curve on 7 January 2023.
Köln-Mülheim (Abzw Berliner Straße) – Köln Messe/Deutz
(ERA-E 42A5 not shown; ERA-R 104A1; S+W 146C2-146C3) DE23/395
There is an alternative route between Köln-Mülheim and Köln Messe/Deutz, east of the S-Bahn tracks at Köln-Mülheim, then flying over most of the layout to the high-level platforms at Köln Messe/Deutz.
Köln Frankfurter Straße (Abzw Vingst) – Köln-Kalk Nord – Köln-Mülheim
(ERA-E 42A5; ERA-R 104A1-104B1; S+W 146C4-146C2) DE23/396
This is an alternative route route between Porz-Wahn and Köln-Mülheim which is more direct than that via Köln Messe/Deutz. It has occasionally been used by IC/ICE services not calling at Köln Messe/Deutz low-level platforms 11/12 but no use of this route has been identified in the current timetable.
Köln-Longerich – Köln West
(ERA-E 42A5; ERA-R 104A1; S+W 146A2-146A3) DE23/397
This north-south line links the Neuss and Koblenz routes to the west of Köln Hbf. It has occasionally been used by diverted RE5 services between Duisburg Hbf and Koblenz Hbf, running via Neuss Hbf and avoiding Düsseldorf Hbf and Köln Hbf. With this diversion, trains also used the Krefeld eastern avoider (DE23/389).
IC/ICE trains may also be diverted over this line, running non-stop between Düsseldorf Hbf and Köln Süd, not calling at Köln Hbf.
RE5 services between Koblenz and Wesel are planned to be diverted this way between 28 July and 25 August 2023. Trains are planned to run between Köln Süd and Düsseldorf Hbf via, and calling additionally at, Dormagen and Neuss Hbf.
Between 30 September and 13 October 2023, RE5 (Wesel – Koblenz Hbf) services are diverted this way. They also run via Oberhausen West (DE23/387) and the Krefeld Hbf eastern avoiding line (DE23/389), omitting Oberhausen Hbf, Düsseldorf Hbf and Köln Hbf, but calling at Duisburg Hbf and additionally at Neuss Hbf and Dormagen en route to Köln Süd.
Köln Hbf (Köln-Hansaring) – Hürth-Kalscheuren via goods lines
(ERA-E 42xx; ERA-R 104xx; S+W 147A3-148B2) DE23/397A
Between Köln West and Hürth-Kalscheuren a pair of goods lines run to the east of the passenger lines, with a single-track connection diving under the northbound passenger line between Köln-Hansaring and Köln West Abzw Ws, where it joins the goods lines which have come from Köln-Nippes and Köln-Ehrenfeld. The goods lines may be used in part by trains running via the Südbrücke to or from north or south (DE23/359).
The full length of the goods lines is used on Mondays to Fridays between 9 January and 10 February 2023 by RE5 Wesel – Koblenz and RB26 Köln Messe/Deutz – Remagen services, southbound only between 9 and 27 January and northbound only between 30 January and 10 February. These trains can be identified by the calls at Köln West, Köln Süd and Hürth-Kalscheuren being omitted.
Viersen (Viersen Helenabrunn) – Wickrath (Rheydt Gbf) (Mönchengladbach avoiding line)
[485, 490] (S+W 50C4) DE23/398
This line avoiding Mönchengladbach Hbf links the line from Krefeld and Venlo with the Aachen line. It is used if there are engineering works in the area of Mönchengladbach Hbf.