HISTORICAL INFORMATION ON THE BEUEL RAILWAY STATION
On this page you will find further information on the Beuel railway station from the Bonn-Rechtsrheinisch e.V. Monument and History Society.
The Beuel railway station
The listed goods station in Bonn-Beuel from the 1870s is in a unique state of preservation: for example, the extensive track systems and the loading road are not only operational to this day, but also in use. Particularly rare is the fact that the goods shed can still be approached via its access track. However, the entire ensemble is endangered by the planned construction of a new S-Bahn line.
Location and architecture
The Bonn-Beuel freight station was built in the 1870s by the Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft (Rhenish Railway Company) at the Right stretch of the Rhine built between Cologne and Koblenz opposite the passenger station building. The site is relatively narrow but very long, stretching between the railway line and Königswinterer Straße.
In addition to several storage and administration buildings and a historic goods shed with loading ramps, the goods station site includes numerous sidings, stabling and loading tracks as well as a loading road. The goods shed is an elongated half-timbered building with brick walls. It was designed by a freelance architect and differs significantly from other goods sheds in the Rhineland, which were all built according to Prussian standards after the nationalisation of the railway in 1880.
Beuel develops into an industrial location
With the commissioning of the goods station in the 1870s, Beuel, which had previously been rather rural, developed into a prosperous and affluent industrial location. The division of the Beuel railway station complex with the reception building on the western side of the tracks and the goods facility on the eastern side divided the surrounding area into a middle-class quarter with partly splendid residential buildings and an industrial quarter with workers' housing estates. This division still determines Beuel's cityscape today, so that the station complex represents the historical core of modern Beuel in terms of settlement history.
Numerous factories settled near the railway station, many of which were built from 1900 by means of the Industrial railway Beuel-Großenbusch were directly connected to the goods station. From the goods station, however, direct track connections were also made to directly adjacent factories, such as the chemical factory L.C. Marquart OHG, laid out.
Even before the First World War, the goods station building was greatly expanded so that the immense turnover of goods could be handled. In order to ensure direct loading via head and side ramps as well as via the loading road, numerous sidings, stabling and loading tracks were built.
The Beuel freight station during the Second World War
During the Second World War, Beuel's industry and especially the goods station were the target of air raids. An elaborate air-raid shelter with an airlock was installed in the petroleum cellar of the central goods station building to provide protection for the railway workers. The Reichsbahn line and the reception building in the passenger station were badly hit during bombing raids, the administration building and the locomotive shed of the Industrial railway Beuel-Großenbusch completely destroyed. The historic goods shed, on the other hand, was almost spared war damage. The air-raid shelter under the goods shed building was not dismantled until 1958; however, the steel doors and lettering have largely been preserved to this day.
Loss of significance
From the beginning of the 1960s, freight handling on the tracks in Beuel declined. In 1965, the industrial railway ceased operations with its own locomotives; thereupon, the federal railway continued to serve the tracks of the industrial railway with a small locomotive until 1994. Around 1997, the loading of general cargo in Beuel was abandoned and the goods station building became inoperable. Shortly afterwards, with the closure of the siding to the Marquardt Chemical Works the handling of goods at Beuel station. The freight station site, which had been completely preserved and hardly changed until then, was thus left to decay.
At the end of 1999, Deutsche Bahn AG rented the central freight station building to a wholesale company for vintage car spare parts, whose management wanted to reactivate the derelict siding belonging to the building for the delivery of overseas containers. This extremely unusual reversal of the general development was realised against numerous resistances after two years and local cargo handling was thus resumed in the freight station. In the meantime, freight traffic was also re-established on a small scale on the industrial railway under the direction of the Rhein-Sieg-Eisenbahn GmbH (RSE), which still uses part of the goods station site today.
While all other freight stations in the Bonn / Rhein-Sieg region were operationally closed and ultimately demolished between 1995 and 2010, the Beuel facility was spared from decay and deconstruction for the time being due to the initial activity of the vintage parts wholesaler and the new management of the industrial railway. As a result, the remaining local rail freight traffic automatically concentrated on Beuel. Other companies now also began to load goods in Beuel once again. Wood, steel, cars, container freight and building materials have since been transhipped in Beuel again. In the meantime, even the Deutsche Bahn AG uses the facility as a logistics centre for maintenance measures on the Right stretch of the Rhine.
In 2004, the Lidl group acquired large parts of the freight yard site in order to open a discount store there. This was followed by years of bitter struggle by the supporters of the freight yard against Lidl's building plans. In 2011, Lidl finally gave up the fight and sold the site back to Deutsche Bahn, a process that is probably unique in Germany.
Historically interesting is the fact that the Beuel freight station presents itself today in a unique state of preservation. For example, the extensive track facilities (including head and side ramps) for local freight traffic are not only almost completely preserved and operational, but still in use and additionally accessible via the loading road. Particularly rare is the fact that the goods shed can still be approached via its access track. For these reasons, not only the goods shed but the entire goods transport facility has been listed since 2009.
Plans for the construction of the S 13 suburban railway line
There are currently plans to build a controversial new S 13 suburban railway line between Troisdorf and Bonn-Oberkassel, which would irrevocably destroy the unique state of preservation of the entire site. For the new stop in Bonn-Beuel, the historic loading road would have to largely disappear and all tracks and ramps of the freight station would have to be dismantled. Although the central freight station building is to be relocated according to the current planning status and rebuilt barely two metres further east, local rail freight traffic or even a loading facility within the framework of the historic facility would then finally be history after more than 140 years. This would mean the loss of an ensemble of monuments that is unique in Germany.
The object "Güterbahnhof Beuel" is part of the registered monument "Bahnhofsgebäude Bahnhof Bonn-Beuel" (LVR-Amt für Denkmalpflege im Rheinland, No. 29949 / Denkmalliste der Stadt Bonn, laufende Nr. A 3191).
(Florian Kalff and Anne Stollenwerk, Rheinischer Verein für Denkmalpflege und Landschaftsschutz e.V., 2014, with the kind support of the Nordrhein-Westfalen-Stiftung Naturschutz, Heimat und Kulturpflege)