Looking at the historical development of the German railroad network, one can identify four stages of development 1 . The primary stage (from about 1815 to 1840) involves the period when the original concept of building railways evolved and the first linkages of local importance were realized. During the following period (1841 to around 1875), connections between all the cities were built. During the third stage, which ended with the First World War, the easting lines were extended into rural areas and a feeder network was established. 2 The final stage, which continues into the present, is characterized by the decline of the German railroad system. This stage began with a period where railroad construction stagnated during the 1920s and led to the first closures of unproductive lines in the 1930s. Although this trend was arrested during the Second World War and its aftermath, these closures continued and were intensified during the last three decades. The connections remaining were adapted to advanced railway technology to meet present and future demands (Figure 1).