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Kaiserberg motorway junction in Duisburg: meeting point of two motorways, three railway lines and the Ruhr shipping route in a confined space

Photo: Christoph Reichwein / dpa

The demolition of a motorway bridge during the autumn holidays has massive consequences for rail customers between the western Ruhr area and the Rhineland. From Friday evening, there will hardly be any trains around Duisburg for two weeks. In local transport, many commuters have to switch to replacement buses, while in long-distance transport, trains are diverted over a wide area – in large cities such as Düsseldorf, Essen and Bochum, significantly fewer ICEs run as a result.

The background to this is the demolition of a bridge at the Duisburg-Kaiserberg motorway junction. The bridge of the A3 leads over eight railway tracks. While cars and trucks can drive past the construction site on narrowed lanes, nothing works below it in rail traffic. At the same time, Deutsche Bahn wants to modernize several lines around Duisburg.

From September 29 (21:00 p.m.) to October 13 (21:00 p.m.), replacement buses will therefore run around Duisburg. All in all, the closures have an impact on a good dozen lines.

Neuralgic traffic junction

In long-distance traffic, Deutsche Bahn plans to divert many trains around the western Ruhr area. For example, ICEs and ICs will run from Dortmund via Wuppertal to Düsseldorf or directly to Cologne. The travel time will be extended by 20 to 40 minutes, the railway announced. In Duisburg, Oberhausen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Düsseldorf Airport, not a single long-distance train stops during the autumn holidays. In Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, Essen and Bochum, at least some ICEs and ICs are to stop.

At the Kaiserberg intersection, there is more traffic than almost anywhere else in the Ruhr area - on road, rail and in water: 130,000 vehicles have used the junction of the A3 and A40 last day, according to Autobahn GmbH, and the trend is rising. The cross from the sixties is a neuralgic congestion point and is currently being extensively modernized. But it is precisely below that the trains run on the two east-west connections between Duisburg and Dortmund, which are important for the Ruhr area. A side canal of the Ruhr, which is important for shipping, and several smaller roads also run in the area.

In the foreseeable future, the construction work at the Kaiserberg motorway junction will lead to massive problems in rail traffic several times. It is already clear that tracks in the area will have to be closed in the coming year, both during the Easter holidays and during the summer holidays, the railway said.

Rail union fears bus driver shortage for diversion routes

Starting next year, several main lines nationwide are to be completely renovated, which will also lead to longer travel times. For these major projects, a closure of more than half a year is even planned. The Hamm-Duisburg-Cologne route is scheduled for 2027, and the construction of new tracks for the Rhine-Ruhr Express local transport link, which has been underway since 2017, is still not expected to be completed by then.

A central problem of the general renovation from the point of view of the railway and transport union (EVG): the lack of bus drivers. "Sufficient vehicles have been ordered for the replacement service," EVG boss Martin Burkert told dpa. "But as far as the staff is concerned, the situation is much more difficult." You can read more about this here.