Regional and Local Transport Between the Palatinate (De) and Alsace (Fr)
W Schreiner, Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar, DE
Between 1974 and 1981 all railway-lines crossing the border between the Palatinate Region (Germany) and Alsace (France) were closed down. As there existed no bus-lines there was no longer any means of public transport available. Although there was no heavy demand on public transport facilities in 1991 the Land Rheinland-Pfalz started an initiative to reopen the line from Winden to Wissembourg thus permitting the tours from Neustadt/WeinstraBe to connect to trains to Strasbourg at Wissembourg, and to reopen the line from Worth to Lauterbourg thereby creating an opportunity to connect the railway net-works of the two regions.
The reopening of both lines made it possible to develop new bus-lines crossing the former border-line and to introduce tariffs and paymodes in different currencies, permitting tourists and inhabitants to make use of public transport. Tourist organisations of both regions created special offers for day-excursions.
At the moment the local transport authorities in co-operation with the local train operators prepare the introduction of direct ?Excurslon-Trains' between Strasbourg and Neustadt/Weinstrasse via Wissembourg at the week-ends and intend to introduce new tariff-offers. When in 2005 the line Neustadt/Weinstrasse - Wissembourg (Weisenburg) and the line from Wissembourg to Strasbourg both celebrate their 150th anniversaries the public transport authorities in both regions hope that they will have been able to have started a new area in public transport between both regions.
The concept includes leaflets in both languages (French and German), information by radio and television. In co-operation with the local tariff-organisations (Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar [VRN] and Region Alsace) it is intended to develop special excursion tickets (compare day-return-tickets), which make it possible to introduce direct ticketing between local tariff organisations without disregard to the regulations between the two national railway companies (DB/SNCF).
The 1997 reopened line via Wissembourg connects the regions of the Palatinate and Alsace which are very interesting for tourists, and will in future connect the two high-speed lines Paris - Strasbourg and Paris - Frankfurt, with an option to offer corresponding services to the ?Rhine-Rhone High-Speed line? which is being planned, while the Woerth-Line (reopened in 2002) permits the creation of Regional-Express-Trains along the Rhine-valley (not inn view) between Mainz (Mayence) and Strasbourg via Speyer (Spire). The start off for these Express-Trains is planned for the year 2007 etc. when the line Lauterbourg-Strasbourg has been renovated.
Association for European Transport