The Tunnels of Prinzenkopf and Reilerhals

(458 m and 503 m long)

Years ago it was hard miner’s work to get through a mountain in order to build a tunnel. Engineers, surveyors and other experts worked on tunnels but also many Italians who had a good reputation as miners. An office in Alf was responsible for all rail work between Kinderbeuern and the rail bridge in Eller, also for building the two tunnels of Reilerhals and Prinzenkopf.

Because of electrification of the Moselle line at the beginning of the 1970’s, all tunnels had to make room for cables and a minimum distance to the roof, which meant that all tunnels had to be sunk to a lower level.

That was problematic for the Tunnel of Prinzenkopf, because the tracks of its rail bridge couldn’t be lowered. So on the Bullay side only the profile of the tunnel entrance could be enlarged and the tracks slowly lowered. The tracks on the slope of the Pünderich brigde could only be adjusted to the lowered tunnel tracks by blasting away centimetre after centimetre.

Entering the tunnel of Reilerhals, the ‘Kanonenbahn’ leaves the Moselle valley, crosses the Eifel and only just before Trier near Schweich rejoins the Moselle.