Instants in tempo: Berlin Hauptbahnhof
I love Berlin, and I love train stations.
These two preoccupations always converge at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central train station). Looming overhead is the large glass roof, like the temple of transport hanging over scurrying passengers; trains pass overhead as the shops reside below; tempting scents from baked goods and grilled bratwurst waft from neighbouring stands; calm measured station announcements and excited conversations in the air is punctuated by screeching brakes of trains entering the station.
I’ve always had a love of transport infrastructure and fascination with transport logistics. I’ll always set aside some time to hang out at the central train station. I’ll come here to observe and, even surrounded by noise, to meditate. I’ll wander through each floor, across the platforms, up and down on the escalators between levels. I’ll watch residents head out to work, going shopping, meeting friends, returning home to their families; it’s easy to pick out new visitors to the city, as they step out into the grand hall towering over the tracks, eyes wide and shiny in anticipation of their visit to the German capital.
From around the city, region, and the country, there are S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains; regional trains; and Eurocity, InterCity, and InterCity Express trains. Converging at this Hauptbahnhof focal point are trains from all corners of the country and beyond.
And if you’ve just arrived on a train and stepped out onto the platform, you might see the overhead sign that greets you: “willkommen in Berlin”.
You might wonder why your welcome is sponsored by Bombardier – they produce trains for Berlin’s S-Bahn urban rail network.
Above all, this place represents my kind of hope: a hope for people from the outside to see what an energetic place this is, and a hope for residents to accept and embrace new ideas from the outside.
I made all of the photos above with a 4th-generation iPodTouch in 2012 and 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5hi.
11 Responses to “Instants in tempo: Berlin Hauptbahnhof”
To be honest I think that even though the Central Railwaystation is something classic it is at the same time pretty damn ugly 🙂
Some time ago I saw an article about how also modern buildings in Berlin are just too plain and too ugly
Hi, Timo, and thanks for your comment. I think the saying “beauty being in the eye of the beholder” is particularly applicable. Arguably, everything that’s stemmed down from the Bauhaus movement from modern furniture design to elements of present-day architecture might’ve been called “plain and ugly” by comparison to all that came before Bauhaus. Personally, I have no problems with Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof: it is like my grand temple of transport, for lo, there I shall pay my respects to the logistics and the flow of all things and people who pass through the station. 😀
Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts! I love train stations too, and I think the Berlin Hauptbahnhof is a particularly nice one.
Hi, Ramin, and I definitely agree with you about Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof. I think there’s a lot of visual poetry (as well as history and stories) to be found at train stations. Given the amount of time I spent in Heidelberg (and in Mannheim), there might be some interesting things to be found with the train stations in each town. 😉 Thanks for reading and for your comment!
Henry, I’ve rolled through Munich’s Hauptbahnhof on numerous occasions, but never made it to Berlin’s. Still, you’ve evoked visions of Munich, particularly with your mention of “baked goods and grilled Bratwurst” (something that Shawn has often succumbed to when we first return to Germany after a trans-Atlantic voyage).
Aside from your architectural shots, I also appreciated your closing reflections that this place could offer “a hope for residents to accept and embrace new ideas from the outside.”
Hi, Tricia. Given where you live now, it’s no surprise you’ll pass through München Hbf a lot. I also know Munich’s Central Station station very well, especially the “back” platforms for the BOB (Bayerische Oberlandbahn) trains to Oberbayern. I also have stayed in a number of inexpensive hotels in the area south from M Hbf. The largest train station which I’ve yet to pass through is in Leipzig – I must visit the town, even if it’s just to stop and marvel at Leipziger Hbf! 😉 There is definitely something very “universal” among German train stations where smells (and the munchies or tasties) are concerned, from Mannheim to Hamburg, from Bielefeld to Freiburg. Given how much Berlin Hauptbahnhof reminds me of a grand glass temple (to transport), I gain a little bit more perspective (hope, even) every time I’m there. 🙂 Thanks for reading and for your comment!
Henry, Leipzig is an interesting city. Though we didn’t journey there via train, our visit coincided with the 20th anniversary of the demonstrations that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a thrilling time to be there, among tens of thousands of others, many of whom had been marching on the streets an in the square in 1989. I was lucky to have a local friend host us and share her insight into how life has changed.
That’s a great story, Tricia. Some point to the demonstrations in Leipzig as a rallying cry for people in other cities to begin their own demonstrations against the GDR/DDR. I’m glad to read you consider Leipzig as an interesting city; I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Thanks again for your comment!
Living in Gran Canaria but hailing from London, I miss trains. There has been talk of a railway over here. But I think the cost of building one is just too expensive. Especially in los días de crisis.
Hi, Matthew. I do love the London Tube, and it’s easy to see why you’d miss that, too. But a railway on the Islands? What do the authorities have in mind, and just how expensive would it be? Thanks for reading and for your comment!
[…] always loved train stations, and Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is no exception as these Instagram shots […]