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

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This list is based on the timetable dated from 10 December 2023 to 14 December 2024, unless otherwise stated. Standard abbreviations are explained here.

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: Book 2) 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) DE24/201

There is a grade-separated junction south of Bitterfeld between the Leipzig and Halle lines and a flyover carries the track towards Leipzig over the line to Halle. Certain S8 trains from Bitterfeld to Halle (Saale) depart from platforms 4, 5 or 6 on the west side of the station so must run (in that direction only) via a 1 km connection (line 6397) outside the Leipzig flyover and the Halle main line to Abzw Roitzsch.

The following S8 services to Halle (Saale) Hbf are booked to use platforms 4, 5 or 6:

  • Services starting at Bitterfeld on Mondays to Fridays at 05:46, 07:16 and hourly until 16:16, then 18:16 and 19:16, which all use platform 6
  • Services from or via Dessau at 04:46, 06:16 SSuX, 06:46, 07:00 SSuX, 08:47 then every two hours at 47 minutes past every even hour until 20:47, which all use platform 4 (except the 04:46 which uses platform 5 on Mondays to Fridays).

Note that S8 services from Jüterbog, generally at 47 minutes past every odd hour from Bitterfeld, use platform 3 so do not use this connection.

Sandersleben: connections at north and south ends of station

[330, 335] (ERA-E 49A2 not shown; ERA-R 101B2 not shown; S+W 57A1) DE24/202

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) DE24/203

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) DE24/231

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) DE24/232

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 were reported to have been diverted this way.

Magdeburg-Sudenburg – Magdeburg-Buckau

[310, 340] (ERA-E 49A3; ERA-R 101B4; S+W 123C3) DE24/233

This west to south curve enables trains to run between the Braunschweig and Halle (Saale) lines without reversing at Magdeburg Hbf. It is used between 2 and 7 January 2024 by all RB40 (Braunschweig – Burg (Magdeburg)) services, reversing at Magdeburg-Buckau, and by the following IC services:

D1 IC2436 Magdeburg Hbf – 04:57 Magdeburg Buckau – Emden Hbf
D1 IC2042 Leipzig Hbf – 05:54/06:00 Magdeburg Buckau – Frankfurt am Main Hbf (via Dortmund and Koblenz)
D1 IC2434 Leipzig Hbf – 06:54 Magdeburg Buckau – Emden Außenhafen
D IC2432 Cottbus Hbf – 09:22 Magdeburg Buckau – Norddeich Mole
D IC2430 Leipzig Hbf – 10:58 Magdeburg Buckau – Emden Hbf
D IC2038 Leipzig Hbf – 12:58 Magdeburg Buckau – Emden Hbf
D IC2036 Leipzig Hbf – 14:58 Magdeburg Buckau – Norddeich Mole
D IC2034 Berlin Ostbahnhof – 17:20 Magdeburg Buckau – Norddeich
D IC2032 Leipzig Hbf – 18:57 Magdeburg Buckau – Emden Hbf
D1 IC2031 Hannover Hbf – 06:31 Helmstedt – Leipzig Hbf
D IC2033 Emden Hbf – 08:31 Helmstedt – Leipzig Hbf
D IC2035 Norddeich – 10:10 Helmstedt – Berlin Ostbahnhof
D IC2037 Norddeich Mole – 12:31 Helmstedt – Leipzig Hbf
D IC2039 Norddeich Mole – 14:31 Helmstedt – Leipzig Hbf
D IC2431 Emden Außenhafen – 16:09 Helmstedt – Cottbus Hbf
D IC2433 Emden Hbf – 18:31 Helmstedt – Leipzig Hbf
D IC2435 Norddeich Mole – 20:31 Helmstedt – Leipzig Hbf
D IC2437 Emden Hbf – 22:34 Helmstedt – Magdeburg Hbf

D1: 2-6 January 2024 only

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

[580] (ERA-E 57A5 not shown; ERA-R 101C1; S+W 130D2) DE24/234

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 DE24/235) and a short connection to the Schnellfahrstrecke, rather than this route.

Both these connections are reported to be used on the weekend of 1/2 June 2024 by diverted ICE services between Erfurt Hbf and Bitterfeld or beyond which omit their usual call at Halle (Saale) Hbf. These also use part of the Leipzig freight ring line (see new entry DE24/336A).

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

[501] (ERA-E 57A5 not shown; ERA-R 101C1; S+W 130D2) DE24/235

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. There are also grade-separated continuations of line 6403 either side of the Leipzig/Halle Flughafen line to and from the S-Bahn line to 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] (ERA-E 49B3; ERA-R 101C3; S+W 46 B2) DE24/236

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 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 a freight-only connection (line 6416) off the line from Belzig towards Roßlau Gbf has now been modernised to be the southbound passenger route, which then uses 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] (ERA-E 49B2; ERA-R 101C3; S+W 45 B4) DE24/237

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

It was last 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