After an enforced break due to the coronavirus, a second catalogue of suggestions for the reactivation of German railway lines was published by the Society Of German Transportation Companies (VDV). In this catalogue, the Wiehl Valley Railway is ranked among the top three of all examined lines.
"During the development of our second re-activation programme we scrutinised the viable lines once more. Regarding the line from Osberghausen to Waldbröl, we decided to bump it up drastically into the category 'urgent'. The line from Hermesdorf to Morsbach was bumped up into the category 'high'", explained Dr. Martin Henke, general manager of the railway traffic division of the VDV of this pleasing result of the examination. "Based on the number of inhabitants of the local authority area served by the lines, the line Osberghausen – Waldbröl ranks third out of 238 suggestions for re-activation nationwide with more than 60,000 persons. Also the fact that Waldbröl is counted among the 120 mid-size regional centres of Germany without connection to the railway network emphasises the importance of this line.
The existing track infrastructure, the high potential for good linking of railway and bus, the relief potential for the road network, as well as the development of the upper Berg County railway as an attractive connecting route, militates for a speedy re-activation of the Wiehl Valley Railway. The branch to Morsbach as its logical extension in conjunction with the possibility of a joint operational management, also pulls up this line in the categorisation.", Dr. Henke further explained.
This is how modern local public transport in the Wiehl valley could look like: DB-Lint at the barrier-free platform of Wiehl Stn., which is already fit for local public rail transport.
This fantastic result is not a complete surprise for the Society For The Preservation Of The Wiehl Valley Railway. "We always said that the Wiehl valley railway has a high development potential in terms of traffic for the southern region of the upper Berg county. Even the feasibility study from a few years ago came to this conclusion", says Gerhard Mansel, chairman of the 'Society For The Preservation Of The Wiehl Valley Railway', "but that we got a top 3 ranking nationwide surprises and delights us so much the more."
Besides a variety of reasons for reactivation named in the list of suggestions such as . climate protection, better development of the region, relief for the road network, better tourism development of the region and opportunities for rail cargo, one of the strongest arguments for a speedy re-activation is the currently largely improved funding of federal promotional instruments. First and foremost to name is the massive increase of funds by the law concerning federal financial grants for the improvement of transport facilities of the communities (GVFG), but also of the regional funds. By the modified 'GVFG' re-activations of railway lines can be promoted with up to 90% of the costs for infrastructure borne by the federal government. "Given these strong arguments for an imminent re-activation of the Wiehl Valley Railway and an announced amendment of the assessment process, a new feasibility study for the re=activation of the Wiehl valley railway is the order of the moment", Gerhard Mansel appealed to the responsible policymakers and administration managers.