Jena Paradies station is the main railway station of the city of Jena in the German state of Thuringia. It is on the Saal Railway and is served by Intercity-Express (ICE) trains on the Berlin–Munich route and regional trains to and from Naumburg, Saalfeld and Pößneck. It is named after and adjacent to Paradies ("paradise") Park, which is on the eastern shore of the Saale river.
Jena Paradies station is on the southern edge of the city of Jena on a narrow strip of land between the ring road to the west and the Saale river in the east. In front of the station there are two tram stops and the town’s bus station, so that numerous public transport connections exist.
Jena Paradies station was opened on 15 October 1880 on the Saale Railway already operating since 30 April 1874. Until 1999, it served as a centrally located stop only for regional transport, long-distance trains on the Saale Railway stopped at Jena Saale station. In September 1996, the Jena City Council chose Jena Paradies as the stop for the new ICE service in preference to the remote northerly location of Jena Saale station. Lack of funds at Deutsche Bahn then led to delays and the construction of a temporary station. Two wooden auxiliary platform were built in 1998/1999 south of the old station for about two million Deutsche Marks. It was opened on 26 September 1999, when the stopping point in Jena for ICE trains on the Berlin–Leipzig–Munich route was transferred there from the Saale station.
On 1 March 2002, construction and financing contracts for the new ICE station was signed between Deutsche Bahn, the state of Thuringia and the city of Jena. The new station was to replace the existing regional station in 2004 at a cost of €16.1 million.
The old station building was abandoned, at the beginning of reconstruction in 2003, as the existing island platform did not have the required 370 m length for ICE operations. The construction of the two new platforms between km 27.0 and 27.4 was carried out next to the existing railway line, with rail services continuing to operate. On 18 June 2005, the new facilities were officially opened. The construction cost was around €21 million.
The station is classified by Deutsche Bahn as a Haltepunkte (loosely: "halt"), as it is not a rail junction and, more specifically, it has no sets of points. It consists of two 370 m-long platforms, with a length of 117 metres under cover on each platform. As it is built on an embankment, there is limited space in the single storey building with rooms for two ticket offices for Deutsche Bahn and a bakery, which sells newspapers and other travel-related products in addition to pastries. The adjacent toilets can be used during opening times. These facilities extend over a length of 63 metres. An underpass was built through the embankment under the stations, creating a link between the park and the city.
Travellers wishing to connect with the Holzland Railway (Erfurt–Weimar–Gera), the second line running through Jena, have to use Jena West station, which is 800 metres away or alternatively change at Jena-Göschwitz station, a few kilometres to the south.
The station is the only long distance station in Jena, since the abandonment of long distance passenger operations on the Mid-German Connection and its associated stops at Jena West and Jena-Göschwitz, which was the only place in Jena where it was previously possible to transfer between long-distance trains. Jena Paradies station is used on an average day by about 3,500 passengers, second only to Jena West station, which has more commuter traffic.
The completion of the Nuremberg–Erfurt high-speed line will lead to Jena—along with Saalfeld and the Bavarian station of Lichtenfels—losing their ICE stops in favour of Erfurt.