As a nation-state, Germany did not come into being until the creation of the German Empire in 1871 from the various German-speaking states such as Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Baden and Württemberg. By then each of the major states had formed its own state railway and these continued to remain separate, albeit working increasingly closely together, until after the First World War. After 1815 the territory of Bavaria included the Palatinate, or ''Pfalz'', which was west of the Rhine and bordered on France and is now part of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The Royal Bavarian State Railways (''Königliche Bayerische Staats-Eisenbahnen'' or ''K.Bay.Sts.B.'') was founded in 1844. The organisation grew into the second largest of the German state railways (after that of the Prussian state railways) with a railway network of 8,526 kilometres (including the Palatinate Railway or ''Pfalzbahn'') by the end of the First World War.
Following the abdication of the Bavarian monarchy at the end of the First World War, the 'Royal' title was dropped and on 24 April 1920 the Bavarian State Railway (''Bayerische Staatseisenbahn''), as it was now called, was merged into the newly formed German Reich Railways Authority or Deutsche Reichseisenbahnen as the Bavarian Group Administration (''Gruppenverwaltung Bayern''). The management of the Bavarian railway network was divided into four Reichsbahn divisions: Augsburg, Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg. The former Palatinate Railway formed the Ludwigshafen division. On 1 October 1933 the only group administration within the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft, the ''Gruppenverwaltung Bayern'', was disbanded.
== The three Bavarian main lines ==
With the nationalisation of the Munich-Augsburg route in 1844 the Bavarian state railway era began. In the beginning the Royal Bavarian State Railways concentrated on the construction of 3 main lines:
* The Ludwig South-North Railway (''Ludwig-Süd-Nord-Bahn''), 548 km long and built between 1844 and 1853. It ran from Lindau near Lake Constance via Kempten, Augsburg, Nuremberg and Bamberg to Hof, Germany near the present Czech border and linked to the Saxon railway network.
* Ludwig's Western Railway (''Ludwigs-West-Bahn''), which was 100 km long, built from 1852 to 1854 and opened in sections. It ran from Bamberg via Schweinfurt and Würzburg to Aschaffenburg with a link into the state of Hesse.
* The Bavarian Maximilian’s Railway (''Maximilians-Bahn'') which ran from Ulm to Augsburg and from Munich to Kufstein with a branch to Salzburg in Austria. It was built from 1853 to 1860 and was 188 km long.
In the following years the state railway network was continually expanded. Gaps were closed and from the middle of the 1880s the countryside was opened up with an extensive branch line network. These were known as the ''Lokalbahnen'' or 'local lines'.
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