Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Geisterbahnhof’

My Munich: Ghost station Olympiastadion

In the vicinity of Munich’s Olympic Stadium is a train station overgrown with brush and weeds. The tracks stretch north and south, but go nowhere.

Munich played host to the Summer Olympics in 1972; physical reminders include the Olympiadorf (Olympic Village), Olympiapark, and the Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium). In 1988, the train station “München Olympiastadion” closed to train service for the final time. Rail tracks which connected the station with the North Ring freight tracks were cut, isolating the station and leaving it to decay.

Since 2001, the Olympic Village has been listed as part of the heritage Olympiapark ensemble which includes the abandoned station. But will the station be left to decay? Or will the station be refurbished in some way to become a living memorial?

Historical maps of the MVV U- and S-Bahn system show how train service from central Munich to Olympic Stadium was utilized. S-Bahn train service carried passengers along the central trunk to Olympic Stadium via Hauptbahnhof, Laim, and Moosach; check out the system maps for June 1972 and June 1988.

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My Berlin: Bornholmer Strasse, first through the Wall

By today’s appearance, it’s easy to overlook the bridge at Bornholmer Strasse (also known as Bösebrücke) as an historic landmark. On the night of 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall opened here first, at the Bornholmer Strasse bridge border-crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin.

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GeistDerBahnhöfe, Südlicher Zugang, Invalidenstrasse, Nordbahnhof, Berlin, Germany,

Fotoeins Friday: Berlin Nordbahnhof, ghost no more

“Geist der Bahnhöfe”

From this photograph of Berlin’s Nordbahnhof, it’s hard to imagine the train station once used for long-distance trains to northern Germany had been closed, known as a “Geisterbahnhof” or “ghost station”. Not only did the Wall divide country and city, but also divided the existing urban train network in Berlin. This transit map from 1989 shows how the green, blue, and purple lines in West Berlin go through East Berlin. To prevent East Germans from escaping to the West, BVG trains in West Berlin would not stop at stations located in East Berlin; all passengers would see were dimly-lit dusty derelict stations guarded by East German border patrols. After the fall of the Wall in 1989, reconstruction led to the reopening of Nordbahnhof on 1 September 1990, a month before German reunification. Today, S-Bahn S1, S2, and S25 trains on the important north-south “central axis” stop here.

Perhaps the title of the photo should be “Geist des Bahnhofes” to account for the grammar, but I prefer my choice. I also would’ve liked the photo a little earlier at 245pm to “slice” the S column, but I might not have had these four well-placed figures in this “late decision moment.” I think the light, colour, and elements converge favourably in composition to reflect the spirit of the station and the resilient people of Berlin.

More, in English and German

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the 90th anniversary of S-Bahn service in Berlin. 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany.

•   Berlin Wall Memorial | Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
•   Inside Nordbahnhof station: Ghost stations exhibition | Geisterbahnhöfe Ausstellung
•   Border station in a divided city, by Rebecca Holland
•   Berlin’s Ghost Stations, by Marcel Krueger
•   Where the wall once stood there is now a park next to Nordbahnhof, by Georg Seebode

I made the image above at the south entrance (Invalidenstrasse) to S-Bahn Nordbahnhof station on 19 October 2012 with the Canon EOS450D (XSi) camera, EF 18-55 IS II lens, and the following settings: 1/800s, f/8, ISO200, 18mm (29mm) focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at, and also appears on Travel Photo Thursday for Budget Travelers Sandbox.

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