The Vennbahn (literally railway line of the fagnes ) is a railway line Belgian whose course penetrates by places the German territory . Vennbahn was built at the origin by the Prussian State to connect the industrial center of Rothe Erde , in the west of Aachen, the town of Luxembourg by the shortest way. The inauguration of the line took place the November 4th 1889. This one was quickly reserved for the transport of coal and ore of Fer. This way also made it possible to disenclose various rural regions and to stimulate their economy, the such Western Eiffel and the plate of the High Fagnes, also making it possible to the inhabitants to go to seek work in industrial centers from now on accessible. The course with various recoveries was modified, in particular to allow the setting of certain sections double track, and to reduce the curves (before rays of less than 300 meters) and the slopes (before up to 1,7%).
The First World War gave to Vennbahn a new importance on the Western Front. Starting from the August 2nd 1914, the line allowed the massive routing of troops towards the belt of forts of Liege. Several junctions were built starting from Vennbahn during this war, connecting it in particular to the line Liege - Luxembourg (valleys of the Amblève and the Salm), so that this one represented soon a node of North-South transport strategic on the Occidental face. The Traité of Versailles allotted to Belgium the Prussian cantons of Eupen and Malmedy, where they were from now on known under the name of rédimés Cantons or of Territory of managed Eupen-Malmedy until 1925 on behalf of the Ministry for the Colonies by the Baltia lieutenant-general following the example African German Territories of Ruanda - Urundi, also occupied by the Belgian army. Article 27 1° of the Treaty defined a clear layout of the border and the way of Vennbahn on several occasions crossed this border between the two countries. One was thus undoubtedly in the case envisaged by article 372 of the Treaty of Versailles: when, in consequence of the layout of the new borders, a line connecting two parts of the same country crosses another country, or when a line of junction on the basis of a country finishes in another, the conditions of operating will be regulated by an arrangement concluded between the interested railway administrations. In addition, article 35 had provided that a composite commission of seven members, five allied, a German and a Belgian would be made up to fix the new line on the spot - border between Belgium and Germany. The United States not having ratified the Treaty of Verasilles and France refusing that one modified of it even more the small detail, the commission of delimitation reduced to six members could not thus validly any more make any decision. However this Commission of delimitation put itself at work, including in the Belgian territory all the zone including/understanding the cadastral pieces of the ground of the railroad, which singularly complicated the layout envisaged by article 27 1° and created portions of Belgian territory isolated in Germany and allemandes in Belgium. Article 371 of the Treaty had for its part provided simply that the ways of railroad, the stations and installations technical and the immediate surroundings would be allotted to the country where they would be located. The commission of delimitation thus unnecessarily deviated from articles 27 1°, 371 and 372 of the Peace treaty of Versailles and even of article 35 which had created it. One can justifiably wonder on his legitimacy and the value of the atlas of 129 sheets in which she consigned to Aachen on November 6th, 1922 the whole of her work. Signed this document: the president of the commission, French lieutenant-colonel THILO, British colonel WHITLOCK, Italian lieutenant-colonel PELLISONE, the Japanese commander SAKAÏ, landrat (to advise regional government) German HELMAN and the director at the Belgian ministry of colonies MAURY.
Many enclaves, whose village of Mützenich and surroundings of Roetgen, are today cut German territory, without this situation not posing a particular problem for these inhabitants but well for the first-aid organizations of one or the other country. Vennbahn was managed by the National company of the Belgian Railroads, created in 1926. This poses problem for the resale of pieces of ground on which only sovereignty was allotted illegitimately to Belgium but not the property of these same grounds which could not be removed Royal Railroads of Prussia. The property of the private individuals and the companies German was guaranteed by general principles of right. No one cannot, indeed, private being of its property that with the help of a Juste and prélable allowance and one needs then an act authenticates in due form to operate and note the transfer of property.
The importance of goods transport strongly decreased after the war. The zone customs of the way of railroad, before single, from now on was divided into four. The layers of the Lorraine were part from now on of the France. The exchanges with Belgium remained limited. The Luxembourg, left the customs union with Germany, intensified its commercial exchanges of raw materials in direction of the France. The new customs tariffs of these 3 countries with the Germany also contributed to this decline.
During the Second world war, Vennbahn was a major goal at the time of the Bataille of the Ardennes. The majority of the railway Bridge S and the Tunnel of Elcherath between Burg-Reuland and Lommersweiler were destroyed. The rebuilding took time and, in the south of Malmedy and Saint-Vith, was quite simply not undertaken. Industry and the forestry developments gradually ceased using these means of transport. The Belgian army still used a time these installations for the routing of heavy material towards the camp of military training of Elsenborn. After the total repairing of the septentrional part of the network, an attempt was made exploit it at tourist ends starting from 1991. This one however ended of November 12th 2003.
Rothe Erde in Aachen (a) zum Ortsteil Walheim liegen keine Schiene N mehr, die Trasse dient heute als Radweg. Eine Wiederaufnahme of Betriebes für den Personenverkehr zwischen Stolberg in Deutschland und Eupen in Belgien STI dagegen noch möglich und wird von der Bevölkerung sowie von den Verkehrsplanern immer wieder gefordert. -->
Between the Gare S of Montjoie - Kalterherberg and Sourbrodt from now on are established since 2004 a course of Draisine S under the name of “RailBike”, which does not certainly answer the criterion of an exploitation shoed in the direction aimed by articles 371 and 372 of the Peace treaty of Versailles.
Moreover a serious difficulty of security of the old Prussian mines crossed by Vennbahn arises. On the assumption of Belgian sovereignty, this crossing generated in each one of them a Belgian mini-concession in the shape of mining ribbon and thus an accident risk that the Walloon region, become qualified for the management of its basement, will be able to make endorse by the Belgian State. Indeed, the Federal minister for Finances holds the whole of these mines under sequestration since the war of 1914 - 18 and thus prevents the dealers and beneficiary to complete consolidation work exigible for withdrawal from these old Prussian concession minings which continue to exist in the Belgian basement whereas the German part was removed by it for a long time. The Belgian State should thus take this work in load. It may find it very beneficial to basically re-examine the layout of its German border in the direction of a simplification. It is enough for him to recognize German sovereignty on the part of Vennbahn wedged in Germany and on the mines which it contains. It also remains at the Belgian government to seek an arrangement with the governments German and large-ducal so that, together they make correctly apply article 372 of the Peace treaty of Versailles by their respective dealers of railroads.
Clauses of the Peace treaty of Versailles applicable to Belgium and Vennbahn.
Art 27 - The borders of Germany will be given as it follows:
1° With Belgium:
Belgian common point at the three borders, Dutchwoman and allemande and towards the south:
North-eastern limit of the old territory of neutral Moresnet, then the limit is circle of Eupen, then the border between Belgium and the circle of Montjoie, then the north-eastern limit and is circle of Malmedy up to its point of meeting with the border of Luxembourg;
Art 31 - Germany, grateful that the treaties of April 19th, 1839, which established before the war the mode of Belgium, do not correspond any more to the current circumstances, grants the abrogation of these treaties and engages as of now recognizing and observing all conventions, whatever they are, that will be able to pass the principal allied and associated powers, or some of them, with the Governments of Belgium or of the Netherlands, for the purpose of replacing the aforementioned treaties of 1839. If its formal adhesion with these conventions or some their provisions were required, Germany engages as of now giving it.
Art 32 - Germany recognizes the full sovereignty of Belgium on the whole of the disputed territory of Moresnet (known as Moresnet neutral).
Art 33 - Germany gives up, in favor of Belgium, with straight and titles on the territory of Prussian Moresnet located at the west of the road from Liege to Aachen; the part of the road in edge of this territory will belong to Belgium.
Art 34 - Germany gives up, moreover, in favor of Belgium, with straight and titles on the territories including/understanding the unit of the circles (Kreise) of Eupen and Malmédy.
During the six months which will follow the implementation of this treaty, of the registers will be opened by the Belgian authority with Eupen and Malmédy, and the inhabitants of the aforesaid territories will have the ability to express their desire in writing there to see whole or part of these territories maintained under German sovereignty.
It will be up to the Belgian government to carry the result of this popular consultation to the knowledge of the Company of the Nations, of which Belgium commits itself accepting the decision.
Art 35 - A composite commission of seven members, of which five will be named by the principal allied and associated powers, one by Germany and one by Belgium, will be made up, fifteen days after the implementation of this treaty, to fix the new line on the spot - border between Belgium and Germany, by taking account of the economic situation and the transportation routes.
The decisions will be made in the majority of the voices, and will be obligatory for the interested parts.
Art 36 - As soon as the transfer of sovereignty on the territories above concerned is final, Belgian nationality will be definitively acquired automatically, and other than German nationality, by the German nationals established on these territories.
However the German nationals who would have been established on these territories subsequently to August 1st, 1914 will be able to acquire Belgian nationality only with one authorization of the Belgian government.
Art 37 - During the two years which will follow the final transfer of sovereignty on the territories allotted to Belgium under the terms of this treaty, the old German nationals of more than eighteen years and benches on these territories will have faculty to choose German nationality.
The option of the husband will involve that of the woman and the option of the parents will involve that their older children of less than eighteen years.
The people having exerted the right of option above envisaged will have, in the twelve months who will follow, to transport their residence to Germany.
They will be free to preserve the real goods which they have on the territories acquired by Belgium. They will be able to carry their movable property of any nature. It will be imposed to them, of this chief, no right either of exit, or of entry.
Art 38 - The German Government will give, without delay, at the Belgian government the files, registers, plans, titles and documents of any nature concerning the administrations civil, military, financial, legal or different of the territory transferred under sovereignty from Belgium.
The German Government will restore in the same way at the Belgian government the files and documents of any nature removed during the war by the German authorities in the Belgian public administrations, and in particular at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Brussels.
Art 39 - The proportion and the nature of the financial expenses of Germany and Prussia which Belgium will have to support, at a rate of the territories which are yielded to him, will be fixed in accordance with articles 254 and 256 of part IX (financial Clauses) of this treaty.
Art 371 - Subject to particular stipulations, relating to the transfer of the ports, water ways and railways located in the territories on which Germany yields its sovereignty, as well as financial provisions concerning the dealers and the service of the retirement pensions of the personnel, the transfer of the railways will take place under the following conditions:
1° the works and installations of all the railways will be delivered complete and in good state;
2° When a network having a rolling stock with him clean is yielded by Germany to one of the allied and associated powers, this material will be given complete, according to the last inventory at November 11th, 1918, and in normal state of maintenance;
3° For the lines not having a special rolling stock, the fraction to deliver existing material on the network to which these lines belong, determined by commissions of experts will be indicated by the allied and associated powers, and in which Germany will be represented. These commissions will have to take into account the importance of the material registered on these lines, according to the last inventory at November 11th, 1918, the length of the ways, including the shunt tracks, the nature and the importance of the traffic. They will also indicate the engines, cars and coaches to be yielded in each case, will fix the conditions of their reception and will regulate provisional arrangements necessary to ensure their repair in the German workshops;
4° the provisioning, furniture and the tools will be delivered under the same conditions as rolling stock.
The provisions of the paragraphs 3° and 4° above will be applied to the lines of old Russian Poland, put by Germany at the width of the German way, these lines being comparable with detached parts of the network of the Prussian State.
Art 372 - Subject to the particular stipulations contained in this treaty, when, in consequence of the layout of the new borders, a line connecting two parts of the same country crosses another country, or when a line of junction on the basis of a country finishes in another, the conditions of operating are regulated by an arrangement concluded between the interested railway administrations. If these administrations would not manage to agree on the conditions of this arrangement, the conflicts would be settled by commissions of experts made up as it is known as with the preceding article.
1) Die deutschen Bemühungen um die Bahnstrecke Roetgen - Kalterherberg im Jahre 1920
2) Das Vennbahnsystem. Vorgeschichte der Vennbahn Aachen-Malmedy-Ulflingen - Karl Josef Hefty man, Berndorf
Historische Hintergründe und Zukunftsaussichten der Vennbahn
- Bericht vom ruinösen Zustand der Vennbahn
- Chart of Vennbahn around Montjoie
- Vennbahn: Damals und Heute/Yesterday and today/Vroeger in naked Herausgeber: Verkehrsamt DER belgischen Ostkantone 1991
|Random links:||Ali Soilih | Famed L.A. | Simon Lemalu | Lophocampa | Wojtek Fibak | Ville_de_vacances,_Ohio|