Germany (Sachsen-Anhalt) - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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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

Bitterfeld – Roitzsch (Kr Bitterfeld) (Abzw Roitzsch)

[501.8] (ERA-E 49B2 not shown; ERA-R 101C2 not shown; S+W 58B1) DE23/201

There is a grade-separated junction south of Bitterfeld between the Leipzig and Halle lines. A flyover carries the track towards Leipzig over the line to Halle. Certain S8 trains from Bitterfeld to Halle (Saale) use platforms 4, 5 or 6 on the west side the station and run via a connection between the Leipzig flyover and the Halle main line at Abzw Roitzsch in that direction only. These comprise Dessau to Halle services at 47 minutes past every even hour from Bitterfeld, and services starting at Bitterfeld, at 16 minutes past every hour on Mondays to Fridays.

Sandersleben: connections at north and south ends of station

[330, 335] (ERA-E 49A2 not shown; ERA-R 101B2 not shown; S+W 57A1) DE23/202

The Halberstadt to Halle and Magdeburg to Sangerhausen lines run parallel through Sandersleben. They use different platforms and normally operate independently, but there are connections between the two lines north and south of the station. Both connections are used by just one train in the current timetable to facilitate a passing movement. Click on the thumbnail for a full size diagram

SSuX RE74837 Magdeburg Hbf – 05:14 Güsten – Sangerhausen

Stiege Loop (HSB)

[333] (ERA-E 48C2 not shown; ERA-R 100C2 not shown; S+W 56B1) DE23/203

A balloon loop at Stiege enables trains to run between the Alexisbad and Eisfelder Talmühle lines without reversing. However railcar drivers regularly change ends, or shunt between tracks via the start of the Hasselfelde branch, plus locomotives of hauled trains have been known to run 'light engine' round the loop so its use by through passenger services is far from guaranteed...

Obscure services: Lines used on an occasional basis for engineering work diversions

Angersdorf – Merseburg Hbf

[580] (ERA-E 49B1-49B2; ERA-R 101C1; S+W 130A2-130B3) DE23/231

When the railway between Halle (Saale) Hbf and Merseburg Hbf is blocked for engineering work, RB trains are diverted via Angersdorf and the former Buna Werke station. Long-distance trains not routed via the Schnellfahrstrecke to and from Erfurt are diverted via Nordhausen.

Halle-Ammendorf/Sangerhausen – Leipzig/Halle Flughafen (Halle-Kanena)

[501.5, 580] (ERA-E 49B2 not shown; ERA-R 101C2 now shown; S+W 130B2-130C2) DE23/232

This south to east curve enables trains to run between the Merseburg and Sangerhausen lines to the Leipzig lines without reversing at Halle (Saale) Hbf when there is engineering work at Halle (Saale) Hbf or on the Leipzig - Großkorbetha via Markranstädt line.

Between 27 October and 23 November 2023, certain RB42 services between Nürnberg Hbf, Saalfeld (Saale) and Leipzig Hbf are reported to be diverted this way:

RE4980 Saalfeld (Saale) – 06:40 Weißenfels – Leipzig Hbf
RE4994 Nürnberg Hbf – 21:18 Weißenfels – Leipzig Hbf
RE4983 05:39 Leipzig Hbf – Nürnberg Hbf

Note that RB20 stopping services, and, it is assumed, all other RB42 services, continue to run via Markranstädt.

Magdeburg-Sudenburg – Magdeburg-Buckau

[310, 340] (ERA-E 49A3; ERA-R 101B4; S+W 123C3) DE23/233

This west to south curve enables trains to run between the Braunschweig and Halle (Saale) lines without reversing at Magdeburg Hbf. No trains have been identified as using it in the current timetable.

Erfurt Hbf (Abzw Gröbers West) – Großkugel (Abzw Gröbers Süd)

[580] (ERA-E 57A5 not shown; ERA-R 101C1; S+W 130D2) DE23/234

This connection (line 6054) allows trains heading towards Leipzig from the Schnellfahrstrecke to cross to the S-Bahn at Gröbers. It is used when the main line via Leipzig/Halle Flughafen is blocked for engineering work.

Diverted trains travelling towards Erfurt would however use westbound line 6403 (see DE23/235) and a short connection to the Schnellfahrstrecke, rather than this route.

Halle (Saale) Hbf (Knoten Gröbers) – Großkugel (Abzw Gröbers Süd)

[501] (ERA-E 57A5 not shown; ERA-R 101C1; S+W 130D2) DE23/235

S5/S5X and IC services between Halle (Saale) Hbf and Leipzig Hbf, which use the main line from Halle (line 6403), join and leave the high speed line via Leipzig/Halle Flughafen at Knoten Gröbers. However a further section of line 6403 forms a flying junction with the S-Bahn line via Schkeuditz at Abzw Gröbers Süd.

These connections are used by S5/S5X and IC services when the main line via Leipzig/Halle Flughafen is blocked for engineering work. This will be shown by calls at Leipzig/Halle Flughafen and Leipzig Messe being omitted.

They may also be used by S3 services between Halle and Leipzig when the S-Bahn tracks between Halle (Saale) Hbf and Gröbers are blocked. In this case, calls at Halle Messe, Dieskau and Gröbers will be omitted.

Roßlau (Elbe) avoiding line (Roßlau (Elbe) Gbf – Abzw Rodleben Rbv)

[207] (S+W 46 B2) DE23/236

This curve to the north of Roßlau (Elbe) links the lines from Berlin via Bad Belzig and from Lutherstadt Wittenberg with the Magdeburg line. It was used fairly frequently in recent years while the Dessau-Roßlau area was being remodelled.

Note in a newish layout that there are no longer separate goods lines between where the lines from Belzig and Wittenberg meet and Roßlau Gbf so the only unusual section is the curve itself. However, what was previously freight only connection 6416 off the line from Belzig towards Roßlau Gbf is now modernised to be the southbound passenger route, to then use a new connection across to the previous passenger route just before Meinsdorf station platforms.

Köthen avoiding line: Arensdorf (b. Köthen) (Köthen Gbf Stw W7) – Frenz (Köthen Stw B4)

[330] (S+W 45 B4) DE23/237

This south to west curve links the Halle (Saale) and Bernburg lines to the south of Köthen station.

It was used in late 2022 because of engineering work between Aschersleben and Könnern, when all RE4 and RE24 services between (Goslar, Halberstadt,) Aschersleben and Halle (Saale) Hbf were diverted via Bernburg and this curve, running non-stop between Aschersleben and Halle (Saale) Hbf.

See also