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Railway ferries at Storebælt

The first railway ferry crossed Storebælt in 1883; the last one did on the 31st of May, 1997. During that period the Storebælt ferries was an integrated part of the danes' mental concept of a longer train journey. Now the traffic has been overtaken by fixed link across the Belt - partly bridge, partly tunnel.

Everything goes faster with the tunnel: this is undoubtedly good for the railway as a business; and the passengers will learn to live without the opportunity to have a walk and a bit of food on the ferry. But for the railfan, the large ferry terminal stations and their diversity of interesting and frequent shunting manoeuvres can never be replaced. And definitely not by another 15-20 kilometers of plain double track, be it ever so much on a bridge or in a tunnel.

I'm preserving the track maps of the old ferry stations in this historic track map edition. It shows the layout just before domestic freight traffic were moved to the bridge in late April, 1997. Passenger traffic stayed with the ferries for little over a month after that.


[scalable pdf for printing] [ps.gz]

The old station at Nyborg featured a couple of very wide track fanouts where the angle between the outermost tracks was close to 90 degrees. At these points I've been forced to give up any attempt to resemble the actual geometry and draw a purely schematic maps. I've marked these areas with a pink bacground. Inside these, long lines do not necessarily symbolize long real pieces of track; they're long because that's the only way I could draw all the swithces in an otherwise clear fasion.
(A): The outermost sections of the old and new stations overlapped each other. Early in the rebuilding a section of the old exit - which I've suggested in gray lines here - was removed and the exit tracks thereafter made a very tight curve to immediately align with the position of the new ones. The old connection between the main tracks were interrupted to make room for a signal that guarded the new station's tracks against movements in the old one. Instead new connections were built farther out; these are also used for the new station.
(B): Some of the shunting tracks in the exit end of the old station ended rather abruptly, close to where the new station is built. I suspect they have had a more natural continuation previously, but I do not have any maps or photos predating the construction work on the new station.
(C): The old central station at Nyborg. Both local and intercity trains called here.
(D): This track led to the Nyborg workshops just north of the harbor track fanout. I do not know if these will be retained after the rest of the station is abandoned and perhaps connected to the new habor track (J).
(E): The old ferry station at Nyborg. Train that connected to the ferry but wasn't themselves taken aboard originated on these platforms; they would then make their first regular stop at the old central station (C). Intercities that had been ferried over would not call at the ferry station but proceed directly to the central station.
(F): This ferry berth was normally used for ferries carrying passengers. Three modern »intercity« ferries - Dronning Ingrid, Kronprins Frederik, and Prins Joachim - with 4 parallel tracks on the train deck was delivered in 1979 and 1980, and were used for the hourly passenger departures. Each of those trips usually had an intercity train on board, often split into two parts, and some trips also took a »lyntog« express intercity train. Much freight were also carried on these trips but older ferries such as Asa-Thor continued to carry freight between the other 3-track berths at night.
(G): These tracks a bit away from the ferry station mostly served as conventional harbor tracks.
(H): The new station at Nyborg, with passenger platforms and a freight track grill.
(I): This track was used for working vehicles to the new station and line before the entry section at (A) had been rebuilt. It was later paved over by the access road to the new station.
(J): At this point in time this track was still stub-ended, but I supose it is meant to provide access to the harbor tracks after the rest of the old station area has been commercially developed as anything but rail.
(K): Incidentially a long siding tracks serving a couple of freight customers passed close by the new line. So the new station connects here, and the innermost customer (Danisco Foods, by the way) are now served from the other side than they used to be.
(L): This set of switches connects the tracks on the fixed link between the West Bridge and the East Tunnel. Technically they form an automatic remote controlled signalling station named Sprogø after the island midway in the Belt where bridge and tunnel meet.
(M): The new station at Korsør.
(N): This connection track were used for work vehicle access to the eastern part of the new line before the branch point at (O) were finished.
(O): The branch point between the old and new line is farther from the old station at the Korsør side than in Nyborg. In the transition period it was signalled as a separate station named Svenstrup.
(P): This short freight siding is probably the only part of the old Korsør station that is going to survive the fixed link.
(Q): This track was interrupted already several years before the fixed link, to make room for a catenary pole. Electrification was added to the old Korsør station rather as a temporary measure until the fixed link would be finished. Only two tracks leading to the regional train platform at (S) had any catenary; the rest of the station, including the freight arrival and departure tracks, had none. (Old Nyborg was never electrified at all).
(R): The 3 tracks that are shown in gray here had already been torn up somewhen during the winter of 1996-97.
(S): The »intercity« ferry berth at Korsør. Local trains to Korsør would terminate at the two platforms south of the berth. Intercity trains that was carried on the ferry would not stop in Korsør at all but roll directly up to the berth. The other platforms were very seldomly used.
(T): The old station building at Korsør, as far away from the platforms actually used as possible!
(U): Harbor tracks at Korsør. Not much used in the 1990's.


This page was last updated: October 10th, 2001.
Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net>