This line was intended to be more modern than the previous railway lines in the Oberbergische Land. The line from Hermesdorf to Morsbach was opened in 1908 and, with a length of 7.1 km has almost no level crossings, the bridges were made of then state-of-the-art mass concrete and Kömpel tunnel, with a length of 786 m, is exceptionally long for a branch line.
New life on the line
Today, over a century after its opening and more tan two decades after the last train run the line has come back to life. In 2008 the Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn was granted a 50-year licence to operate this line by the courts. Already today the line is accessible by maintainance trains up to the terminal station. Our goal is tourist and freight traffic on this line and local public transport, of course. A ride on a new, environmentally-friendly railcar will take nine minutes from Morsbach to Hermesdorf and another five minutes to Waldbröl. This way the line would be as up-to-date again as a century ago.
The line as a “bridge”
The line not only provides interesting bridges, but is a bridge in itself: once it linked the "Wissertalbahn" (Wissen (Sieg) - Morsbach; opened 1890) to the "Wiehltalbahn", which was opened in 1906. From that time a continuous route between the Agger and the Sieg was established. But only in the twenties of the last century had the line been of real importance for transit traffic when, after the Great War, France and Belgium had occupied the Ruhr and also the Rhineland was under their regime. Back then so many rerouted freight trains went via Dieringhausen, Hermesdorf and Morsbach to Wissen that public transport had to be reduced.
On October 1st, 1908, the raiway line Waldbröl - Hermesdorf - Morsbach was officially opened. By this the last gap in the railway network on the North-South route through the Berg County between the rivers Ruhr and Sieg was closed. Already in 1890 Morsbach had been connected to the international railway network by the line to Wissen (Sieg).
The construction of the line from Hermesdorf to Morsbach was no easy task because of the topography. The ridge between Geinigen and Kömpel had to be overcome by a tunnel with a length of 786 metres. During the construction in 1905 - 1907 also at first Italian immigrant workers were involved. Moreover, five bridges and viaducts were required to span valley crossings.
Pioneer concrete structures
These concrete structures are of special interest from a structural engineering point of view. Concrete back then was already known and used but just like a century earlier with iron and steel experience with this construction material was lacking. The basic static principles had not been understood until 1900 and it is only since then that concrete buildings have become more common. The bridge constructions between Hermesdorf and Morsbach are counted among the pioneer buildings of mass concrete construction in Germany. This pioneer work parallels the work done by “Concrete Bob” McAlpine on the West Highland Railway in Scotland.