Transport in the Rhein-Ruhr Region
Tranport in the Rhein-Ruhr region is co-ordinated by the VRR (Verein Rhein-Ruhr). This means that
- throughout the region there is a unified fare system, consisting of five different levels in total
- journeys can be taken by bus, tram or train, or any combination of these forms of transport
The fare levels are as follows in overview
- Short Route : of up to about 3 stations
- Level A : travel within one district (in our case, travel within Duisburg)
- Level B : travel with directly adjacent districts (in our case, this would include travel to Essen and Düsseldorf (although not Düsseldorf South))
- Level C (or D) : travel further afield. Because of recent small changes, I am unsure about the exact differences between C and D, it would be best to enter your destination into the automatic ticket machines in this situation. Formerly C was the top level, but now the top level is D - it could be a bit confusing insofar as many information panels still show only the old fare levels up to C
The actual fares in overview, as of 2008, are as follows
W.r.t. the bottom line in the above table, I am uncertain whether a single journey further afield would be classed as C or D, but you do need a level D day ticket to be able to receive unlimited travel throughout the entire region for a single day.
Very Important - CancellationTramway tickets need to be cancelled (entwertet) before use, otherwise you could be liable for a 40 Euro fine. Some stations have 'entwerters' on the platform, otherwise you will have to cancel your ticket inside the tram itself (where the devices are normally situated by the door).
Trams in Duisburg
There are three tramway lines in Duisburg
Two of them operate primarily in Duisburg
- 901 This runs right in front of our hotel on the Lutherplatz. Eastwards, it goes to Mühlheim (although many only travel as far as the Zoo). Westwards it goes under the city center, travels over the Schwanentor Bridge and then the River Ruhr and the adjacent Harbor, eventually travelling to Obermarxloh.
- 903 This travels from Dinslaken (just North of the city boundary) to Hüttenheim in the South. Transfers between the 901 can be made in the city center and at Marxloh (where the two lines cross over at right angles). This tram stops at the Landschaft Park
- (The 902 is also shown on the above map, but that is a short service that only operates a couple of times a day)
Otherwise there is the U79, which operates with larger carriages and whose stations etc. are indicated by the letter U for U-Bahn (underground railway). It receives this designation because it is a part of the Düsseldorf underground system. It does also travel underground in parts of Duisburg, typically from Duisburg-Meiderich, via the city center (where you can transfer to the other tramway lines), before emerging above ground on its way to Düsseldorf, where it goes underground again - as far as Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof (main station). You could also hear it referred to as the Rheinbahn, which is actually the name used for the entire public transport system in Dusseldorf.
As part of our evening in the Düsseldorf Altstadt, it will usually be mentioned that you can make your own way home, by the U79 if you want. The stop you need is directly adjacent to the Altstadt, on Heinrich-Heine-Allee (but underground). The Heinrich-Heine-Haus, where he was actually born, is to be found on the Bokkerstrasse, a street on which you might end up eating during your visit.
The S-Bahn is run by Deutsche Bahn, the national railway system. Look out for the letter S inside a (green) circle. Trains run every 20 mins weekdays and every 30 mins at weekends (on the lines going through Duisburg anyway). The map above is slightly misleading insofar as although the S-Bahn extends to Köln, the VRR region stops south of Düsseldorf, so travel to Köln will be more expensive.
Nevertheless the map shows the extent of the VRR region. A VRR ticket can take you to Moenchengladbach, Düsseldorf, Wuppertal, Hagen, Dortmund, Oberhausen and the region inbetween.
Since you can travel from A to B using any transport system, in some cases you have a choice
- to Düsseldorf : you could take the S-Bahn, or you could take the U79
- to Essen : you could take the S-Bahn, or you could take the 901 from outside the hotel as far as Mulheim and change to the U18 (this time on the Essen Underground) as far as the Hauptbahnhof or beyond as far as Berliner Platz. The U18 also passes the Rhein-Ruhr Shopping Center
The Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn did make extensive use of double-decker carriages from East Germany, although I believe these are to be phased out from 2008.
I believe the first S-Bahn was the Berlin Stadtschnellbahn, known as the SS-Bahn. I can only make the obvious assumption as to what happened to a name like that, and consequently I have always believed that the 'S' in S-Bahn could stand for either Stadt (town or city) or Schnell (quick).