Montabaur is a smallish town in Rhineland Palatinate mostly famous among the wider German public due to being home to an ICE stop on the Cologne-Frankfurt line, only some 20 km (12 mi) away from the stop in Limburg-South.
ICE Stadt Montabaur
Montabaur is a sleepy town of some 13 772 inhabitants with little to set it apart from countless towns of its size in Germany. Or at least it was, until the early 2000s. Railways and federalism have something to do with that as do of course politics and media. Back during the discussion about where to build the Frankfurt-Cologne high speed rail line, there were concerns among politicians in Rhineland Palatinate and Hesse about "missing out" on the benefits of the new rail line, which would pass through their states but was—according to some plans—only going to serve its endpoints, Frankfurt and Cologne respectively. A fundamental conflict exists in railroad planning, especially for high speed railroads between deviating from a straight line to serve particular waypoints or simply using the straightest possible line. This is also the reason why Siegburg, not Bonn is served towards the Cologne terminus. While the federal government thus preferred a straight alignment, linking the fifth and fourth largest city of the country in the shortest possible time, the German constitution grants a lot of power to the states and approving transportation infrastructure is just one of many issues where the states have broad powers. The state of Rhineland Palatinate quickly noticed that a line that would cut through their state but not have a station there would bring with it some downsides (noise, impact on nature and so on) but no upsides and thus made it clear that an alignment with a stop—any stop—in the state would be much preferred and would help expedite the planning and approval process. Hesse meanwhile already had its stop in Frankfurt, but local politicians decided that what Rhineland Palatinate could do, they could do too and demanded a stop in Limburg an der Lahn. The federal government was unwilling or unable to stay the course of no intermediate stops and thus the two stations, only some 20 km (12 mi) apart were built. However, both stations have through tracks not connected to any platform where trains can—and do—pass at 300 km/h (190 mph). The new stations in Limburg and Montabaur were to be built somewhat outside the main urban core and while Limburg's old station is still served by regional trains, the old Montabaur station was shut down in 2000 with regional service moved at that time ahead of the opening of the line for ICE service in 2002. Both Limburg and Montabaur have tried to attract transit oriented development towards the area around their stations and it seems that—unlike in France where stations are sometimes built in the middle of literal beetroot fields—they have been moderately successful with this. It is said that both towns are among the municipalities in Germany with the highest rate of BahnCard 100 holders, as many people commute using the ICE and the BahnCard 100 allows unlimited free rides on all trains in Germany for a year. Deutsche Bahn itself considers the stations mostly a success these days and if they do get federal media coverage at all, the quintessence is usually "Look at this successful development around the stations" rather than "How could anybody build stations there"
- 1 Montabaur station. Opened in the early 2000s and replacing the old more centrally located station, this station is indeed served by ICEs, however, despite all the media brouhaha, not all ICEs between Frankfurt and Cologne stop here and those that pass through without stopping can go the full 300 km/h (190 mph) through the station being barely slowed down at all.
- The Montabaur Fighting Farmers play American Football in the second division GFL2 (2018) which they reached after a perfect season in the third tier Regionalliga in 2017, the biggest success in club history.
|Routes through Montabaur|
|Köln ← Cologne/Bonn Airport ←||Köln Mainz||→ Limburg an der Lahn → Wiesbaden|
|Cologne ← Siegburg ←||Köln Frankfurt||→ Limburg an der Lahn → Frankfurt Airport|