Historisches Lahnstein

Home Back
Lahn Valley Railway

Lahn Valley Railway

A Privotal Role

The rapid development of the railways in the mid 19th century leads to an economic upturn for the towns at the mouth of the Lahn. The opening of the first section of the Lahntalbahn (Lahn Valley Railway) between Oberlahnstein and Bad Ems in June 1858 gives the Lahn valley a modern transport link with the Rhine. In 1864 following the construction of the railway bridge over the Lahn, Niederlahnstein, too, becomes a stop on the new Koblenz-Oberlahnstein line.

Following the establishment of the German Reich in 1871, the Lahn Valley Railway becomes a central section of the strategically important railway linking Berlin with Metz in Lothringen (Lorraine). In 1878/79 the virtually simultaneous completion of the Hohenrhein Lahn bridge and the Horchheim Rhine bridge closes the gap in the 805 km long North-South line. Niederlahnstein becomes an interchange station between the Lahn and Rhine lines and is thus a junction for passenger services on two of the most important rail links in the Empire.

These innovations make it necessary to move the railway station, and a new building is erected at today’s location. The magnificent station building which is completed in 1879 emphasizes the town’s newly acquired status and offers passengers impressive waiting and dining rooms.

On Boxing Day 1944 this superb building is completely destroyed in an air raid. In the years that follow, a simple wooden shed serves as the station. In 1960 the newly constructed station building is opened.

The Lahn Valley Railway has now lost much of its former significance. Large quantities of coal were once transported from the Ruhr to the mines and ironworks in the Lahn valley, whilst mineral ores and metal goods were sent back in the other direction. Today the scenic stretch of line between Niederlahnstein and Wetzlar is used predominantly by passengers and commuters. With its numerous bridges and tunnels, historic station buildings and telegraph lines along the track, the Lahn Valley Railway – most of which has never been electrified – still retains much of its old charm.