S-Bahn tunnel closed for three weeks
Bahn renovates tracks under the city for Easter – weeks of failures on the S6 and to central Hesse
During the Easter holidays, passengers in Frankfurt and Offenbach have to be strong: the city tunnel of the S-Bahn between Hauptwache and Südbahnhof as well as Offenbach-Ost will be completely closed for construction work for three weeks. Where otherwise 1100 trains roll a day, the railway replaces tracks, ballast and switches.
“Everyone loves investments, but construction sites are not that popular,” says Klaus Vornhusen, Deutsche Bahn Group Representative for Hesse. However, the infrastructure in the Frankfurt hub would have to function, which is why maintenance is unavoidable. Deutsche Bahn is investing around ten million euros in renewing the route in the Frankfurt and Offenbach city tunnels.
Nine kilometers of track, 4,500 tons of gravel
The rails will be replaced over nine kilometers, 4,500 tonnes of ballast and switches will be replaced at Konstablerwache, Mühlberg and in the underground Abschlachthof branch, where the tunnel branches off to Offenbach and Südbahnhof, explains Oliver Hinkelmann, project manager for the Frankfurt Main Structure at DB Netz. Escape and rescue routes as well as emergency lighting are renewed, overhead lines and the four military chamber gates under the Main are inspected. In the Offenbach City Tunnel, work is also being done on the platforms, fire protection and tunnel walls. In order to be able to work underground, the railway is installing a huge ventilation system at the Ostendstraße station, which extracts construction dust and exhaust gases from below. At the top, 99.6 percent of the filtered fresh air comes out, emphasizes Hinkelmann. “It’s cleaner than the air on the street.” The Ostendstraße station must remain closed from March 27th to April 27th.
The last time the S-Bahn tunnel was closed for several weeks was in the summer of 2018. Klaus Vornhusen explains that there was not enough time for all the necessary work. The Easter holidays have chosen the train because then there are fewer commuters and no schoolchildren.
During the City Tunnel closure, the S1, S2 and S9 from the west only go to Hauptwache, the S3, S4 and S5 from the north to Hauptbahnhof, the S6 to Westbahnhof, the S1 and S2 from the south-east to Offenbach-Ost. S3 and S4 go to Darmstadt from Südbahnhof. Two S-Bahn lines connect Frankfurt and Offenbach-Ost each up to twice an hour via the long-distance railway line. In addition, there are many replacement buses, subways and trams are running more frequently.
The passengers of the S6 and the trains from Central Hesse are also hit hard. The route from Frankfurt-West to Groß-Karben will be completely closed again from March 31 to July 17, until April 3 even to Friedberg. The expansion of the route is in full swing here, because the S6 is to roll on its own tracks from December.
As of this weekend – February 3rd – until March 13th there will be no more weekend trains between Frankfurt-West and Groß-Karben, sometimes not even to Friedberg, announced Wolf-Dieter Tigges, project manager of the S6 expansion. Since construction also takes place during the week, one track remains closed during the day, and the S6 only runs every 30 minutes on weekdays. Buses will be running again as a replacement. After the many problems with the most recent blocking last summer, they now want to promise “better quality”, promises Klaus Vornhusen.
Many regional trains from central Hesse have to be diverted during the Easter holidays, so they are on the road longer or only reach Hanau or Frankfurt-Süd instead of Frankfurt. ICEs are routed via Fulda instead of Friedberg, the ICs from Dortmund end and begin in Friedberg. Even the Cologne-Munich ICE line is affected: the trains only stop in Frankfurt at the airport.
Via branch line to Friedberg shuttle service
Unlike the blocking last summer, Vornhusen says they want to offer more direct connections to Frankfurt Central Station. This time, too, only the RE30 trains run every two hours to get there. Therefore, during the full closure, there should be an hourly shuttle service with diesel trains on weekdays for the first time via the branch line via Rosbach, Friedrichsdorf, Bad Homburg.
The next closures are foreseeable: The end of the year will be necessary for the commissioning of the expanded S6. And the city tunnel must be closed again when the route is connected to the North Main S-Bahn. It should be built from 2024 and roll in 2031. Installing the switches is not possible, says Vornhusen. “For this, there must first be building rights and financing.”
This & passengers know about the alternative offers:
During the Closure of the City Tunnel From March 31st to April 24th between Hauptwache, Frankfurt-Süd and Offenbach-Ost there are these alternatives:
S1 runs up to twice an hour between Frankfurt main station and OF-Ost via Frankfurt-Süd.
S8 runs every 30 minutes between the airport and OF-Ost via Frankfurt-Süd and OF-Hauptbahnhof.
Three replacement bus lines from Offenbach-Ost along the S-Bahn route every 15 minutes, so together every 5 minutes: one line from Mühlberg to Südbahnhof, one line from Mühlberg via Südbahnhof to the airport, one line from Kaiserlei via Frankfurt-Ost and Ostendstrasse to Konstablerwache.
U1, U2, U3, U4, U7, U8 run on accelerated trains.
U4 also runs late in the evening/at night at least every 15 minutes to replace S-Bahn trains between Konstablerwache and Hauptbahnhof.
Trams 15 and 16 run more frequently to Offenbach’s city limits in Oberrad.
During the S6 lock Frankfurt-West to Groß-Karben on weekends from February 3rd to March 13th and every day from March 31st to April 17th there are:
Express replacement buses from Konstablerwache to Groß-Karben (March 31 to April 3 to Friedberg) via Bad Vilbel-Süd, Bad Vilbel train station every 30 minutes.
Standard replacement buses from the main train station via Westbahnhof, Bockenheimer Warte (U4/U6/U7), Hügelstrasse, Preungesheim (U5), Berkersheim to Bad Vilbel (south and train station) every 30 minutes.
Urban bus services: Line 25 runs from Nieder-Erlenbach via Harheim and Bonames (U2/U9) to Preungesheim (U5), line 66 runs from Frankfurter Berg (Am Neuenberg) to Weißer Stein (U1/U2/U3/U8) extended from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m.
From March 31st to April 17th, Monday to Friday, there are hourly shuttle trains between Friedberg and Frankfurt via Friedberg-Süd, Rosbach, Rodheim, Burgholzhausen and Friedrichsdorf.