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The Stadtbahn Karlsruhemarker is a Germanmarker tram-train system combining tram lines in the city with railway lines in the surrounding countryside, serving the entire region of the middle upper Rhine valley and creating connections to neighbouring regions. It combines an efficient urban railway in the city with an S-Bahn (suburban railway), overcoming the boundary between trams/light railways and heavy railways. Its logo does not include the green and white S-Bahn symbol used in other German suburban rail systems and the symbol is only used at stops and stations outside the inner-city tram-operation area.

The idea to link tram and railway lines with one another in order to be able to offer an attractive transport system for town and outskirts was developed in Karlsruhe and implemented gradually in the 1980s and 1990s. This idea, known as the Karlsruhe model or tram-train, has been was adapted by other European cities.

The Karlsruhe Stadtbahn is operated in co-operation by Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (Alb valley transport corporation, AVG), Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe transport authority, VBK) and Deutsche Bahn (DB). The two urban transport operators, VBK and AVG, operate most services, while DB is responsible for the sections from Pforzheimmarker and Brettenmarker to Bietigheim-Bissingenmarker.

Network

The Karlsruhe Stadtbahn includes ten lines, in four different forms:
  • tram lines under the German law regulating tram operations, in a modernised form with a large proportion of segregated track and priority at traffic lights. These lines are electrified at 750 V DC: Stadtbahn line S2 (operated by VBK in addition to its own seven tram lines).
  • a combination of tram line sections within urban Karlsruhe and the secondary lines of the AVG, electrified at 750 V DC: lines S1 and S11.
  • a combination of tram line sections within urban Karlsruhe, Wörth am Rheinmarker, Bad Wildbadmarker and Heilbronnmarker and the railway lines of the DB and AVG, electrified at 15 kV AC, 16.7 Hz: lines S4, S41, S5 and S6.
  • pure rail operations on DB and AVG tracks, electrified at 15 kV AC: lines S31, S32 and S9.
Line Route Operator
Hochstettenmarker – Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen – Neureut – Karlsruhe Marktplatz – Karlsruhe Bahnhofsvorplatz – Rüppurr – Ettlingen – Busenbach – Bad Herrenalbmarker (Albtalbahn or Hardtbahn) AVG
Hochstettenmarker – Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen – Neureut – Karlsruhe Marktplatz – Karlsruhe Bahnhofsvorplatz – Rüppurr – Ettlingen – Busenbach – Langensteinbach – Ittersbach (Albtalbahn or Hardtbahn) AVG
Rheinstettenmarker – Rheinstrandsiedlung – Karlsruhe Marktplatz – Hagsfeld – Blankenloch – Stutensee-Spöckmarker (Lokalbahn) VBK / AVG
(Eutingen im Gäumarker –) Freudenstadtmarker – Baiersbronn – ForbachmarkerRastattmarker – Muggensturm – Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof – KA-Durlach Bf – Bruchsal – Odenheimmarker (Katzbachbahn and Murgtalbahn) AVG
AchernmarkerBaden-BadenmarkerRastattmarker – Muggensturm – Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof – KA-Durlach Bf – Bruchsal – Menzingen marker (Kraichtalbahn) AVG
AchernmarkerBaden-BadenmarkerRastattmarkerDurmersheimmarker – Karlsruhe Bahnhofsvorplatz – Karlsruhe Marktplatz – KA-Durlach Bf – BrettenmarkerEppingenmarkerHeilbronnmarkerÖhringenmarker (Kraichgaubahn) AVG
(Herrenbergmarker –) Eutingen im GäumarkerFreudenstadtmarkerBaiersbronnmarkerForbach markerRastattmarkerDurmersheimmarker – Karlsruhe Bahnhofsvorplatz – Karlsruhe Marktplatz – Karlsruhe Europaplatz (on to Albtalbhf.) (Gäubahn and Murgtalbahn) AVG
Wörthmarker – Knielingen – Karlsruhe Marktplatz – KA-Durlach – PfinztalmarkerPforzheimmarkerMühlackermarkerVaihingen an der EnzmarkerBietigheim-Bissingenmarker AVG / DB
PforzheimmarkerNeuenbürgmarkerBad Wildbadmarker (Enztalbahn) AVG
BruchsalmarkerBrettenmarkerMühlackermarker AVG / DB


S-Bahn line S3 between Germersheimmarker, Speyermarker, Ludwigshafenmarker, Mannheimmarker, Heidelbergmarker and Bruchsalmarker and Karlsruhe is controlled by RheinNeckar S-Bahn, not by the Karlsruhe Stadtbahn. It is operated by DB Regio with Class 425 EMUs.

History

Karlsruhe attempted to create of a network of street and interurban tram lines for the development of the surrounding countryside, modelled on the Oberrheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft. However, by the middle of the twentieth century there had been little lasting achievement due to the difficult economic times in between.

Acquisition and extension of the Albtalbahn

The acquisition of the Albtalbahn by the city of Karlsruhe, the establishment of AVG and the integration of the Albtalbahn cross-country line into the Karlsruhe tram system between 1957 and 1966 formed the foundation for the later Stadtbahn network. The Albtalbahn was connected to the tram system and electrified as a tramway, so that modified trams could run through between the southern outskirts and Karlsruhe city centre.

The success of the Albtalbahn encouraged the Karlsruhe planners in the 1960s to connect the northern surrounding outskirts by a modern tram/stadbahn system as well. For this it negotiated with Deutsche Bundesbahn to use the Karlsruhe-Neureut-Eggenstein-Leopoldshafenmarker line, sharing with the local goods traffic, and reached an agreement at the end of the 1970s. After building a connecting line between the tram network and the railway line in 1979 the tram service shared the railway line for 2 km to Neureut, where the few remaining goods trains left the line. In 1986 and 1989 the Stadbahn was extended north to Leopoldshafen and Linkenheim-Hochstettenmarker and to the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, again sharing existing railway tracks. Since the remaining goods traffic was hauled by diesel locomotives, the electrification of the line with the tramway’s 750 V DC system did not cause technical problems.

Line B: introduction of tram-trains

Apart from the Stadtbahn line Hochstetten-Karlsruhe-Albtal (formerly line A, since 1994 lines S1/S11), a further Stadtbahn line, S2 (Stutenseemarker-Karlsruhemarker-Rheinstettenmarker), was built in stages between 1989 and 2006 in between by the new building of streetcar distances, extending an existing city tram line. This line connects the northeast with the southwest suburbs. This line included single-track sections in the main streets of the local centres of Blankenloch, Forchheim and Mörsch. This routing was preferred for its preferred development effects to a route on the edge of these localities or in tunnel.

While the development of the lines to the nearby northern and southern municipalities could be achieved by use of the Albtal and Hardtbahn and by building new tram lines, this was not true of the eastern suburbs. Therefore shared operations over the existing railway lines was considered, although they were electrified, at least in sections, with the 15 kV system of the main-line railway. After development of a Stadtbahn vehicle, with the electrical systems of both trams and railways, that could be operated under both the tram and rail regulations, lengthy negotiations with DB were required (well before rail reform legally permitted access by other rail operators to Germany’s rail infrastructure) before it was agreed that the Karlsruhe Stadtbahn could share the Karlsruhe-Bretten railway line.

In 1992, Stadtbahn operations between Karlsruhe and Bretten-Gölshausen started on the Kraichgaubahn (then line B, now S4). The tram and rail networks were linked by building a connecting line between Durlacher Allee and Grötzingen station. This connecting line also contains the equipment that controls the change between the two electrification systems.

Extension of the network

The unexpected success of the new Stadtbahn line between Karlsruhe and Bretten (passenger numbers increased fivefold in fewer weeks) led to an accelerated development of the Stadtbahn system in the 1990s. The modernization and integration of additional lines resulted:
  • 1994 to Baden-Baden via Durmersheim and Rastatt im Vorlaufbetrieb via DB tracks, to Bruchsal via Weingarten; Bretten - Bruchsal
  • 1996 Bruchsal - Menzingen; Karlsruhe inner city - Baden-Baden via Rastatt
  • 1997 to Pforzheim via Pfinztal; Bretten - Eppingen/Wörth
  • 1998 Bruchsal - Odenheim
  • 1999 Bretten - Mühlacker; Pforzheim - Bietigheim-Bissingen; Eppingen - Heilbronn Hauptbahnhof (station)
  • 2001 Heilbronn Hauptbahnhof - Heilbronn city centre (new construction)
  • 2002 Rastatt - Forbach on the Murgtalbahn; Pforzheim - Bad Wildbad
  • 2003 Forbach - Freudenstadt on the Murgtalbahn; Bad Wildbad town tram line (new construction)
  • 2004 Baden-Baden - Achern
  • 2005 Heilbronn - Öhringen
  • 2006 Blankenloch - Spöck; Freudenstadt Hbf - Eutingen im Gäu


The Karlsruher Stadtbahn is over 400 km long with over 120 trains. The longest line (S4) runs from Achern to Öhringen and takes three hours.

Rolling stock

Two-system car 898 of the AVG of type GT8-100D/2S-M


Stadtbahn cars of the Karlsruhe type have been used since 1983. The fleet includes 60 single-current vehicles for the direct current services only and operate on lines S1, S11 and S2. This type was derived from the Stadtbahnwagen B. 40 vehicles are 38 m-long 8-axle cars, while the remaining 20 6-axle cars are 28 m-long.

For services running under a mixture of direct and alternating current overhead line an 8-axle two-system car of the design GT8-100C/2Sy was developed from the direct current vehicles, and 36 examples were supplied between 1991 and 1995. As technology advanced the follow-up design GT8-100D/2Sy-M was developed in 1997.

Planned works

The extensive development of the network into the 1990s opened all of Karlsruhe’s surrounding countryside. The proposed urban tramways in Bruchsal, Rastatt, Baden-Baden and Landaumarker failed to proceed, however, because of the political resistance of local politicians. A separate network, the Stadtbahn Heilbronn, is planned in the Heilbronn area to link with line S4.

Few lines have been opened so far to the area west of the Rhine, the Vorderpfalz (eastern Palatinate. This area has a lower population density, has closer connections to Mannheimmarker and Ludwigshafenmarker and the railways connecting it to Karlsruhe are not electrified. Nevertheless, in 2010, under current plans the line from Wörth to Germersheimmarker will be electrified and line S5 will be extended to Germersheim, with trains operating every 30 minutes.

This requires 27 km of the line to be electrified and the existing stations in Bellheimmarker, Jockgrimmarker, Rheinzabernmarker, Rülzheimmarker and Sondernheim to be converted to Stadtbahn standard. New stations are planned in Wörth-Nord, Jockgrim-Süd, Rheinzabern-Süd, Rheinzabern-Mitte, Rülzheim-Süd, Bellheim-Nord, Germersheim-Süd and Germersheim-Ost. The estimated total cost is 37.4 million and its estimated benefit-cost ratio is 1.4.

See also...

Tyne and Wear Metro

Sources

German Wikipedia

External links




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