Major German freight artery along the Rhine blocked

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k-c-p

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The railway line running alongside the right side of Rhine (East Rhine Railway) is blocked since Monday morning in its mid-section when huge mounts of slate fell unto the tracks and the neighbouring road as part of a rock slide near the own of Kestert. Luckily no one was hurt. A web cam on the other side of the river captured the moment when the rocks got moving:

This line is a major artery for freight trains. It will take quite some time until services can resume fully. The line along the left side of the Rhine can absorb some of the traffic but I guess not all, as this line is also pretty busy.
 
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Gloster

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It appears to be quite near the Lorelei, so maybe the maidens sang too loud. Or were the dwarves angry?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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It appears to be quite near the Lorelei, so maybe the maidens sang too loud. Or were the dwarves angry?
They mined too deep... ;)

I had not thought of the Rhine gorge being an unstable environment, but it must be in a fault zone of some kind, just like the Lake District or Snowdonia are.
 

k-c-p

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Slat gets unstable when weather changes between wet and cold. In wet weather water gets into little cracks and when it freezes it will loosens the material. As lot of fences and barriers are already in place on both sides of the Rhine to protect rail lines, road and towns. There were some wooden barriers in the area but the are mowed down by the hughe amount of rubble descending on it.

last info taken from article of public TV station SWR:
Loose rubble should be brought down in a controlled fashion. They will try putting rubber bags into cracks. Air will put pumped into these bags for them to expand and break loose more weak stone. If this does not work, Plan B it to put a wrecking ball on a helicopter. And option C: Blasting.
 

Taunton

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last info taken from article of public TV station SWR:
Loose rubble should be brought down in a controlled fashion. They will try putting rubber bags into cracks. Air will put pumped into these bags for them to expand and break loose more weak stone. If this does not work, Plan B it to put a wrecking ball on a helicopter. And option C: Blasting.
Three options already in prospect. Meanwhile Railtrack, at Teignmouth, spend countless years arguing about how to handle a comparable unstable slope above the line ...
 

30907

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Three options already in prospect. Meanwhile Railtrack, at Teignmouth, spend countless years arguing about how to handle a comparable unstable slope above the line ...
...meanwhile dealing with landslips as and when (though less dramatically).
 

k-c-p

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Neither the bag solution nor the wracking ball worked to bring down more rubble. So plan C will come into play.

Preparations are under way for a blasting operation on Saturday.

Info taken from this news report.
 

YorkshireBear

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Three options already in prospect. Meanwhile Railtrack, at Teignmouth, spend countless years arguing about how to handle a comparable unstable slope above the line ...
Two didn't work either. Ideas mean nothing.
 

k-c-p

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Two rounds of blasting took place. Original plans to reopen the line around Easter have been scrapped. No end of the cleanup in sight.

Freight operators have complained because the huge detours their trains have to use which mess up staff and rolling stock rotas. After Easter (until end of April) DB will cancel a few ICE/IC trains between Cologne and Frankfurt to open space for more freight traffic on the line running on the left of the Rhine.
 

k-c-p

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This posting by the "Network of European Railways" (a lobby organisation of private operators) lists three corridors and the additional distances (there is also a map in the article):
  • via Siegen and Gießen: +50km
  • via Trier and Saarbrücken: + 140km
  • via Altenbeken, Kassel and Fulda: +300km
 

30907

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This posting by the "Network of European Railways" (a lobby organisation of private operators) lists three corridors and the additional distances (there is also a map in the article):
  • via Siegen and Gießen: +50km
  • via Trier and Saarbrücken: + 140km
  • via Altenbeken, Kassel and Fulda: +300km
"Up to" 300km for the last is creative - a very rough check using roads suggests that Mannheim-Emmerich (NL border) is more like +200km. Far enough!
 

LSWR Cavalier

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A lot of stuff is transported on barges on the Rhein, that is a good strategic alternative. People living near the line get a bit sick of noisy trains 24/7.
 

eastwestdivide

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This posting by the "Network of European Railways" (a lobby organisation of private operators) lists three corridors and the additional distances (there is also a map in the article):
  • via Siegen and Gießen: +50km
  • via Trier and Saarbrücken: + 140km
  • via Altenbeken, Kassel and Fulda: +300km
Thanks for that. Scenic trip down the Mosel for the middle one!
A lot of stuff is transported on barges on the Rhein, that is a good strategic alternative. People living near the line get a bit sick of noisy trains 24/7.
Not sure you could rustle up enough barges at short notice (if at all) for the volume of freight that you see on the banks of the Rhine.
 

XAM2175

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A lot of stuff is transported on barges on the Rhein, that is a good strategic alternative. People living near the line get a bit sick of noisy trains 24/7.
Even putting aside the overall volume of freight being carried by rail along the Rhein, I hardly think it can be considered a "good" alternative given the amount of trans-shipment that would be required in porting it to barges. Tedious even with containers, let alone all the other stuff.

Scenic trip down the Mosel for the middle one!
I was just thinking that myself :E Quite elegant as a diversion too, looking more closely - not much required in the way of conflicting movement needed to get from the Mosel line at Koblenz Mosel yard to the bridge at Urmitz and thence Neuwied and points north on the right Rhein line, nor in the reverse direction either.
 

CW2

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Presumably they are diverting as much as possible onto the (predominantly passenger) left-bank of the Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz? There is probably a strong case to remove some stopping passenger services temporarily to allow the freights to run.
 

Watershed

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Presumably they are diverting as much as possible onto the (predominantly passenger) left-bank of the Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz? There is probably a strong case to remove some stopping passenger services temporarily to allow the freights to run.
The article linked to above complains that DB Netz (I think this is the German equivalent of Network Rail) is only offering very significant diversions, and not via the left bank, which is at capacity.

Unsurprisingly the freight industry association suggests cancelling passenger services so their trains can continue to run. I think that's going to happen shortly.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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One certainly hopes passenger trains are not affected, when they are already cancelled on the other bank.

Barges can take a of stuff, but slowly, and not if there is too much or too little water. There must be buffer stores somewhere, otherwise goods in the shops might be getting short.
 

k-c-p

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DB announced today that the line will partially reopen on May 2. Single tracking will be place while further cleanup and stabilisation works (for instance installing 2100m² of nets) takes place. Most freight trains will be able to return to the routes on both sides of the Rhine. Passenger trains should run at least an hourly service. (German press release: https://www.deutschebahn.com/pr-fra...ntal-Zuege-rollen-ab-dem-2-Mai-wieder-6115648)

The local news broadcaster quotes some figures on the effects of the closure on freight trains released by the ministry of transport: 85 of 114 daily freight trains usually running on the line could be diverted using the line on the left of the Rhine, 29 have to take a longer detour. (German article: https://www.swr.de/swraktuell/rhein...tert-nach-felssturz-wieder-geoeffnet-100.html).
 

raetiamann

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If my memory serves me correctly the right bank is signalled to allowing for running either line.
 

duesselmartin

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Yes it is after recent modernisation.
The Cologne to Düsseldorf freight route is also closed for engineering. Should be some interesting divertions.
 
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