Line 48 Vennbahn
In August 2007 I did a cycling tour through the ardennes following the railway lines. I headed my way down from the Netherlands to Aachen, via line 48 downwards into the ardennes. Then towards the Meuse river via line 163 and 150. Then I headed back home following line 128 and 126.
Railtracking line 48 was really cool! A part of the track had been changed into a beautiful cycle track. There a lots of steep hills the line follows, and were the railway was build there are almost no normal roads. So it was not possible to follow the line exactly, I might have missed some beautiful spots. But I biked the whole distance from Aachen to Sankt Vith in one day, a staggering 120 kilometers. I did a short revisit in 2014, added some photo's.
The line from Aachen to Monschau was opened at the end of June 1885. The part from Monschau to Weismes was opened in December 1885 as part of the railway to Malmedy. The part from Weismes to Sankt Vith was opened in 1887. After the first world war according to the Versailles treaty the line became Belgian property. For a large part the line went through Germany, this was solved by turning the line into a Belgian enclave.
On the part from Aachen to the junction at Hahn new stations were erected in 1949. Only eleven years later all passenger traffic stopped. The line was closed in 1983 and torn up in 1985. In the nineties a cycle track was build on a large part of its remains. However a small branch of the line was still held into service untill a few years ago to serve the industry in Aachen Rothe Erde.
The branch L48A to Stolberg and the line untill Weismes was used by the company Vennbahn, which exploited touristic trains. With its demise in 2002 the part from Stolberg to Sourbrodt was put out of service. Since july 2004 parts of thism line are used for railbiking.
On the part from Sourbrodt to Weismes there has been passenger traffic untill 1952. The freight traffic on this line was only abandoned at the start of 2007. In the end of 2007 the line has been broken up, which is rather quick after it being put out of service.
The part from Weismes to Sankt Vith had passenger traffic untill 1954 and freight traffic untill 1982. The tracks were removed in 1986. Somewhere in the last years a cycle track with information signs was build by the RaVeL company.