The first major railway in Western Germany was the Köln-Mindener Eisenbahn, built in the 1840s - completed in 1847. Strictly speaking, the railway ran from Deutz - it would a few more years before a bridge was built across the Rhein to connect Deutz with Köln. It ran across the district via the Emscher valley to Dortmund.
In 1848 a branch lines were built to Duisburg harbor and to Ruhrort, connecting the latter with Oberhausen.
A so-called 'Trajektanstalt' was used to connect Ruhrort with Homberg on the left bank of the Rhein. This involved lowering goods carriages hydraulically onto boats to transport them across the river. Until 1907, a ferry was used to transport passengers.
In 1862, it reached Duisburg via a line from Mülheim and Essen.
An attempt to connect to central Duisburg via a branch from its line to Essen failed after opposition from other two railways. Finally it reached Duisburg via another route in 1879.