Franconian Forest Railway

Franconian Forest Railway
Native name Frankenwaldbahn
Locale Bavaria, Thuringia, Germany
Line number 5100, 5010, 6383, 6340, 3800
Line length 88 km (55 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Minimum radius 300 m (984 ft)
Electrification 15 kV/16.7 Hz AC catenary
Maximum incline 2.9%
Route number 840, 841
Route map

Bamberg–Hof railway from Bamberg
31,9 Lichtenfels
see Bamberg–Hof railway
to Hof (Bamberg–Hof railway)
Main Bridge
3,50 Redwitz
7,24 Oberlangenstadt
9,0 Küps
Neuses–Weißenbrunn railway from Weißenbrunn
12,7 Neuses bei Kronach
Rodach Valley Railway from Nordhalben
15,44 Kronach 320 m above NN
20,30 Gundelsdorf
Sonneberg–Stockheim railway from Sonneberg
23,67 Stockheim 343 m above NN
Pressig-Rothenkirchen–Tettau railway from Tettau
29,22 Pressig-Rothenkirchen 376 m above NN
35,12 Förtschendorf 455 m above NN
41,44 Steinbach am Wald 594 m above NN
Ludwigsstadt–Lehesten railway from Lehesten
Trogenbach Bridge (200 m)
47,61 Ludwigsstadt 457 m above NN
Taugwitz Valley Bridge (56 m)
50,56 Lauenstein 410 m above NN
52,8 Falkenstein 375 m above NN
Bavarian–Thuringian border
164,99 Probstzella 365 m above NN
Sonneberg–Probstzella railway to Ernstthal
Link line from Ernstthal
160,96 Marktgölitz 310 m above NN
155,76 Unterloquitz 280 m above NN
from Blankenstein
152,08 Hockeroda 258 m above NN
149,85 Kaulsdorf 229 m above NN
until 1954 Eichicht (Saale)
145,81 Breternitz 216 m above NN
Saale Bridge Breternitz (114 m)
140,01 Saalfeld (Saale) 211 m above NN
Arnstadt–Saalfeld railway to Arnstadt
Saal Railway to Großheringen
Leipzig–Probstzella railway to Leipzig

Source: German railway atlas[1]

The Franconian Forest Railway (German: Frankenwaldbahn), route no. KBS 840, is an 88 kilometre long, electrified, double-tracked main line from Lichtenfels via Kronach to Saalfeld. It is part of the MunichNurembergBam­bergJenaHalle/LeipzigBerlin trunk route. It was completed in October 1885.

The Franconian Forest line branches off from the Ludwig South-North Railway at Marktzeuln. Climbing the ramps from Pressig-Rothenkirchen and Probstzella to Steinbach am Wald the line ascends the heights of the Franconian Forest (Frankenwald). The ramps have a maximum incline of 29 ‰ and, even today, heavy goods trains require an additional banking locomotive at the front or rear of the train.


Trogenbach Bridge Ludwigsstadt, a Class 151 banking locomotive returning to Probstzella

The Franconian Forest Railway leaves the Ludwig South-North Railway, which runs through the Main Valley from Bamberg to Kulmbach, at Marktzeuln and heads into the Rodach Valley to Kronach. From there it switches to the valley of the Haßlach and follows it, getting ever narrower and steeper, to Pressig and onto the watershed between the Rhine and Elbe basins in Steinbach am Wald. Here the line reaches its highest point at 594.54 m above NN and crosses the Rennsteig in a cutting. It immediately begins its descent on the left hand side of the valley towards Ludwigsstadt, where it reaches the Loquitz. After passing the old halt of Lauenstein the line traverses the foothills of the Thuringian Slate Mountains on the left bank of the narrow river valley reaching Probstzella shortly after crossing the Bavarian-Thuringian border. Next the line follows the bends of the River Loquitz, as the valley widens, until the point where the river discharges into the Saale at Kaulsdorf. The railway accompanies the River Saale on the remaining ten kilometres to Saalfeld, crossing it once beyond Breternitz. Parallel to the railway line runs the B 173 main road from Lichtenfels to Kronach and the B85 from Kronach to Saalfeld.


  1. Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (German railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2009. ISBN 978-3-89494-139-0.


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