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The Ludwig South-North railway (Ludwig-Süd-Nord-Bahn), built between 1843 and 1854, was the first railway line to be constructed by Royal Bavarian State Railways. It was named after the king, Ludwig I, whose infrastructure priorities had earlier been focused less on railway development than on his Main-Danube canal project. The railway ran from Lindau
Lindau
on Lake Constance via Kempten, Augsburg, Nuremberg
Nuremberg
and Bamberg
Bamberg
to Hof where it linked up with the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Company.

Contents

1 Background 2 Construction and subsequent development

2.1 Northern section – Hof to Nuremberg 2.2 Centre Section Nuremberg
Nuremberg
to Augsburg 2.3 Southern Section Augsburg
Augsburg
to Lindau

3 Commissioning progress 4 Sources and further reading

Background[edit]

The railway tunnel at Erlangen
Erlangen
recorded by Carl August Lebschée

Following the successful experiment involving the construction of a railway connecting Munich
Munich
to Augsburg, which had opened on 4 October 1840, committees sprang up in many parts of Bavaria
Bavaria
to plan private railways. The government determined that the building of further railways should become a state responsibility, however. On 14 January 1841 Bavaria
Bavaria
concluded with Saxony
Saxony
and Saxe-Altenburg
Saxe-Altenburg
an agreement to build a railway connecting Leipzig
Leipzig
with Nuremberg, which would cross into Bavaria
Bavaria
at Hof. The parties committed to have the railway ready for operation within six years. The Bavarian government decided to extend the railway past Augsburg (already connected by rail to Munich, the capital city) through the Allgäu
Allgäu
as far as Lake Constance. The necessary legislation was passed in Munich
Munich
on 25 August 1843. With a budgeted cost of 51.5 million Guilders, it was planned that the entire length would be ready within ten years. The section between Augsburg
Augsburg
and Hof would account for 33 million guilders. Space for two tracks would be prepared, but initially only a single track would be laid. Responsibility for the construction would be given to Chief Engineer, August Pauli and, initially, the French-born railroad pioneer Paul Camille von Denis, though Denis had been taken off the project in 1842 in order to take over the construction of a line connecting Ludwigshafen
Ludwigshafen
(at the time also ruled by Bavaria) with Saarbrücken
Saarbrücken
(subsequently named the Palatine Ludwig Railway
Palatine Ludwig Railway
(Pfälzische Ludwigsbahn). Construction and subsequent development[edit] Northern section – Hof to Nuremberg[edit] Main articles: Bamberg–Hof railway
Bamberg–Hof railway
and Nuremberg– Bamberg
Bamberg
Railway

The three Bavarian main lines with the Ludwig South-North Railway
Ludwig South-North Railway
in red

The privately owned Saxony- Bavaria
Bavaria
Railway Company, in which the governments of Saxony
Saxony
and Saxe-Altenburg
Saxe-Altenburg
held a minority stake, started work on the Saxon end of the railway line in 1841. In Bavaria, following the establishment in 1841 of the Nuremberg-based Royal Railway Building Commission, work began on ground preparation in 1842, but due to topographical challenges of the kind familiar to later generations of railway builders, serious construction began only in 1843. Sometimes-conflicting objectives included the avoidance of over-steep sections while nonetheless connecting as many towns and cities as possible with the railway. Nevertheless, on the slopes of the Fichtelgebirge
Fichtelgebirge
(Hills) between Neuenmarkt
Neuenmarkt
and Wirsberg, the route incorporates a stretch with an average gradient of 23‰. The first stretch of line, between Nuremberg
Nuremberg
and Bamberg, was opened to passengers in October 1844. The full 203 kilometers of the northern section were opened in five successive stages, the fifth, between Hof and the frontier with Saxony, opening in November 1848. A celebration of the opening of the first sections of the line took place at Nuremberg
Nuremberg
on 25 August 1848, which was the king's birthday, by when the line already extended north as far as Neuenmarkt. Although the Bavarian part of the project had overshot the agreed six-year time line, it was still ready ahead of the Saxon part, full opening of which was delayed by topographical challenges until 1851. To the north of Nuremberg, at Erlangen
Erlangen
where the line ran parallel to the Ludwigs canal (the Rhine-Main-Danube canal of that time), the railway incorporated the 306-meter-long Burgberg tunnel, Bavaria's oldest railway tunnel. From 1852 there was a connection at Bamberg
Bamberg
with the new Ludwig's Western Railway towards Würzburg, Aschaffenburg
Aschaffenburg
and, by 1854, the Hessean frontier at Kahl. After the unification of Germany in 1870, Hof ceased to be a frontier town and the line became a significant component of the national rail network. Between 1862 and 1892, the opportunity was taken to install a second track, for which space had already been allowed at the time of the original construction: by 1939 electrification had been completed from Nuremberg
Nuremberg
as far as Bamberg. In 1945, however, following the Second World War, Germany was partitioned, with Bavaria
Bavaria
in the US occupation zone (which subsequently became part of West Germany
West Germany
and Saxony
Saxony
in the Soviet occupation zone
Soviet occupation zone
(which subsequently became East Germany). The line lost importance. In the 1960s, over a ten-kilometer section between Marktschorgast
Marktschorgast
and Stammbach, the second track was removed since the level of traffic had become too low to justify maintenance of a parallel track over this mountain section. The railway's decline was reversed with the unification of the two post-war German states: since 1990 the line has recovered much of its former importance. The route of the northern section of the Ludwig South-North railway has changed little since 1848. Centre Section Nuremberg
Nuremberg
to Augsburg[edit] Main articles: Nuremberg– Augsburg
Augsburg
railway, Gunzenhausen–Pleinfeld railway, Nördlingen–Gunzenhausen railway, and Ries Railway Work had also started on the central section in 1843, and the first section, between Oberhausen and Nordheim (now a district of Donauwörth) was opened in November 1844. By the end of 1849 the entire middle section had been completed. The capital was linked in to the national rail network on 1 June 1846 when the Munich–Augsburg railway found itself nationalised in return for a shareholder compensation payment of 4.4 Million Guilders. The section ran relatively indirectly between Nurmenburg and Augsburg, partly for topographical reason and partly because it was hoped this would facilitate an interchange at Nordlingen
Nordlingen
with the Royal Württemberg State Railways, an aspiration that would be fulfilled from the Württemberg side of the frontier only in 1861. At Donauwörth
Donauwörth
the line included Bavaria's second oldest tunnel, although the 125 meter long tunnel would become redundant for its original purpose after 1870 when the route round Donauwörth
Donauwörth
was changed. Today the south-eastern end of the tunnel, which lies directly beyond the site of the former station, has been converted for warehousing and residential uses.

Section of line Length Opened

Oberhausen–Nordheim 36.3 km 20 November 1844

Augsburg–Oberhausen 2.5 km 1 July 1847

Nordheim–Donauwörth 2.0 km 15 September 1847

Schwabach–Nuremberg 15.0 km 1 April 1849

Donauwörth–Oettingen 42.4 km 15 May 1849

Oettingen–Gunzenhausen 26.5 km 20 August 1849

Gunzenhausen–Schwabach 45.5 km 1 October 1849

Southern Section Augsburg
Augsburg
to Lindau[edit] Main articles: Augsburg–Buchloe railway
Augsburg–Buchloe railway
and Allgäu
Allgäu
Railway (Bavaria) Before the southern portion of the railway had been completed, work had already begun in Augsburg
Augsburg
on the Maximilian Railway (Bayerischen Maximiliansbahn) which would run westwards towards Neu-Ulm
Neu-Ulm
and the frontier with Württemberg. The landscape to the west of Augsburg
Augsburg
was less challenging than the route to the south, and the line towards Ulm could already be opened as far as Dinkelscherben
Dinkelscherben
on 26 September 1853. By 1852 the Ludwig South-North railway extended as far south a Kempten where a large timber bridge built for two tracks carried it over the River Iller. The bridge would be replaced by a concrete structure, but not before 1906. Just 7 kilometers further along the line towards Immenstadt, at Waltenhofen, came another large timber bridge. This 53 meter long structure would be replaced by a steel bridge in 1900. Between Immenstadt
Immenstadt
and Lindau
Lindau
the line follows two difficult mountain passes in order to avoid Württemberg, at that time still a foreign state. The final 1.8 kilometers, opened early in 1854, ran along the wall protecting the town from Lake Constance. The entire route having been completed on 1 March 1854, 566 kilometers of line with space for two tracks had been completed in less than eleven years: this represented a remarkable achievement in view of the resources then available. Commissioning progress[edit]

Section

Northern Length in Service

Nürnberg–Bamberg 62.4 km 1 September 1844 Goods Traffic 1 October 1844 Passenger Traffic

Bamberg–Lichtenfels 31.9 km 15 February 1846

Lichtenfels–Neuenmarkt 42.5 km 15 October 1846

Neuenmarkt–Hof 52.9 km 1 November 1848

Hof (Saxon frontier) 13.0 km 20 November 1848

Centre

Oberhausen–Nordheim 36.3 km 20 November 1844

Augsburg–Oberhausen 2.5 km 1 July 1847

Nordheim–Donauwörth 2.0 km 15 September 1847

Schwabach–Nürnberg 15.0 km 1 April 1849

Donauwörth–Oettingen 42.4 km 15 May 1849

Oettingen–Gunzenhausen 26.5 km 20 August 1849

Gunzenhausen–Schwabach 45.5 km 1 October 1849

Southern

Augsburg–Kaufbeuren 60.2 km 1 September 1847

Kaufbeuren–Kempten 42.5 km 1 April 1852

Kempten–Immenstadt 21.7 km 1 May 1853

Immenstadt–Oberstaufen 16.9 km 1 September 1853

Oberstaufen–Aeschach 49.7 km 12 October 1853

Aeschach– Lindau
Lindau
Bf. 1.8 km 1 March 1854

Sources and further reading[edit]

Markus Hehl: Eisenbahn im Allgäu. 150 Jahre Ludwig-Süd-Nord-Bahn. (Eisenbahn-Kurier Special
Special
46) EK-Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau 1993 Stephan Kuchinke: Die Ludwigs-Süd-Nordbahn von Lindau
Lindau
nach Hof. Transpress, Stuttgart 1997 ISBN 3-613-71064-1 Steffen Lüdecke: Die Schiefe Ebene. Eine legendäre Eisenbahnstrecke. EK-Verlag. Freiburg im Breisgau 1993 ISBN 3-88255-833-4 Carl Asmus: Eisenbahnen im Allgäu, Teil 1, 2, und 3; als Eisenbahn-Journal-Sonderausgaben; ISSN 0720-051X (Teil 1), ISBN 3-922404-44-8 (Teil 2), 3-922404-31-6 (Teil 3) Wolfgang Klee/Ludwig v. Welser, Bayern-Report, Bände 1–5, Fürstenfeldbruck, 1993–1995. Dt. Reichsbahn, Die deutschen Eisenbahnen in ihrer Entwicklung 1835–1935, Berlin, 1935. Scheingraber, Günther, Die Königlich Bayerischen Staatseisenbahnen, Stuttgart, 1975 v. Welser, Ludwig: Bayern-Report, Bände 4–9, Fürstenfeldbruck 1994–2001 Walther Zeitler/Helge Hufschläger, Eisenbahnen in Schwaben - 1840 bis heute", Motorbuch-Verlag, 1980

v t e

Bavarian State Railways

Bavarian railway lines

Bavarian Ludwig Railway Bavarian Maximilian Railway Ludwig South-North Railway Ludwig Western Railway

Bavarian railway companies

Royal Bavarian State Railways Bavarian Eastern Railway Munich- Augsburg
Augsburg
Railway Company

Palatine railway lines

Palatine Ludwig Railway Palatine Maximilian Railway Palatine Northern Railway

Palatine railway companies

Palatinate Railway Palatine Ludwig Railway
Palatine Ludwig Railway
Company Palatine Maximilian Railway
Palatine Maximilian Railway
Company Palatine Northern Railway
Palatine Northern Railway
Company Neustadt-Dürkheim Rai

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