TTK and their partner PTV Transport Consult GmbH were commissioned to determine the feasibility of a proposed rail link between the center of Aachen and the communities of Würselen, Alsdorf and Baesweiler to the north. The original vision would have seen trains leaving the city on a new alignment before joining the existing Herzogenrath-Stolberg rail line, necessitating dual-voltage vehicles. The proposed alternative was an express bus system with dedicated infrastructure. TTK recommended that a third option be included, consisting of a conventional tram line following the B57 road.
In a preliminary analysis, these three scenarios were rated according to their potential performance, travel times, availability of funding and construction cost. On that basis, only the conventional tram scenario could be recommended for further consideration.
In stage 1 of the study, multiple variant alignments were developed and examined with regard to their technical and operational feasibility. The routes were modelled and simulated using the timetable software OpenTrack, showing the project to be generally possible. In order to cover a greater potential demand, TTK recommended the extension of the line beyond the city center to Aachen’s main railway station.
Stage 2 included a more detailed analysis of technical feasibility as well as the development of service patterns for four different alignments. All variants were found the be possible. Finally, a simplified economic analysis was conducted according to the standardized scheme for public transport projects in Germany. Two of the alignments were shown to have a benefit-cost ratio greater than 1, thereby fulfilling the requirements for GVFG (law on financing of urban transport) subsidies.
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