Harman Patil (Editor)

U2 (Berlin U Bahn)

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U2 (Berlin U-Bahn) berlinbarwickdestaticimagesffc2058320pxu2

U2 is a line of the Berlin U-Bahn. The U2 line starts at Pankow S-Bahn station, runs through the eastern city centre (Alexanderplatz) to Potsdamer Platz, the western city centre (Wittenbergplatz, Zoologischer Garten) and finally to the Ruhleben terminal station.


The U2 has 29 stations and a length of 20.7 kilometers (12.9 mi). Together with the U1, U3, and U4 lines, it was part of the early Berlin metro network built before 1914. The route between Potsdamer Platz and Zoologischer Garten was the western section of the Stammstrecke, Berlin's first metro inaugurated in 1902.


The line starts in what was West Berlin at Ruhleben and runs on a causeway between Rominter Allee and the railway line (also called the "Olympic" or "Grunewald train") to Spandau. On the bend approaching Olympischen Straße, the line descends into tunnel to run beneath that road. Subsequently, the U2 pivots towards the national highway to Theodor-Heuss-Platz, where it runs in a curve to Kaiserdamm. Under Kaiserdamm, which becomes Bismarckstraße at Sophie Charlotte-Platz, the tunnel leads straight to Ernst-Reuter-Platz. Here again, it swings to the southeast, following the course of Hardenberger Straße towards Zoologischer Garten station. In the tunnel, it passes the foundations of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in a tight arc, then follows Tauentzienstraße where the track emerges via a ramp to the elevated railway section after Wittenbergplatz - east of the intersection Kleist-Courbierestraße.

The elevated railway reaches its full height at Nollendorfplatz station where all four lines of the small-profile network meet. In the underground part of the station, there are four more lines. The U2 continues above ground to the east of the Bülowstraße. After that U2 makes a curves over a long viaduct on the southernmost point of the route, passes through Gleisdreieck station and then runs straight across the Landwehrkanal and returns into tunnel between Mendelssohn Bartholdy-Park and Potsdamer Platz stations.

While the railway company intended it to continue along Leipziger Straße, this route was not built and it continues instead along Mohrenstraße, Markgrafenstraße and Niederwallstraße to the River Spree in Berlin Mitte. After passing the Märkisches Museum station, it goes under the River Spree in a tunnel, and runs through Klosterstraße to Alexanderplatz station.

After leaving Alexanderplatz, the track turns under Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße and through the station of the same name. The line then runs north underneath Schönhauser Allee and through Senefelderplatz station. Before reaching Eberswalder Straße station, the line emerges from tunnel and on to an elevated viaduct through to the Schönhauser Allee station, an S-Bahn interchange. From there the line runs beyond the former city limits and the elevated railway descends again into a tunnel to Vinetastraße and before reaching the terminus at Pankow.


The increasing traffic problems in Berlin at the end of the 19th century led to a search for new efficient means of transport. Inspired by Werner von Siemens, numerous suggestions were made for overhead conveyors, such as a suspension railway, as was later built in Wuppertal, or a tube railway as was built in London. Finally Siemens and some prominent Berliners submitted a plan for an elevated railway on the model of New York. These people opposed Siemens' suggestion of building an overhead railway in the major street of Friedrichstraße, but the city of Berlin opposed underground railways, since it feared damage to one of its new sewers.

Finally, after many years and negotiations, Siemens proposal for an elevated railway line from Warschauer Brücke via Hallesches Tor to Bülowstraße was approved. This was only possible, however, because it passed through poor areas. The richer residents of Leipziger Straße pressed the city administration to prevent the line using their street. Siemens & Halske carried out all construction work and also owned the line. The first sod was turned on 10 September 1896 in Gitschiner Straße. The construction work had to be carried out quickly because the contract with the city of Berlin, signed with the granting of the concession, specified that the line had to be finished within two years, or a penalty of 50,000 marks would be payable.

The railway engineers developed a design for the supporting columns for the elevated railway, but it was unpopular and the architect Alfred Grenander was asked to submit an artistic solution for this problem. For the next 30 years Grenander was the house architect for the elevated and underground railway.

After tough negotiations with the city of Charlottenburg it was decided to extend the line to Knie along the Tauentzienstraße, but instead of being elevated it would be a subsurface (cut-and-cover) railway. The management of the city of Berlin board of works regarded the idea of an underground railway sympathetically. Since the underground caused no apparent damage to the new sewer, an underground branch could be built from a junction at Gleisdreieck (German for "rail triangle") to Potsdamer Platz, Berlin’s then city centre. The national government granted permission for the planning changes on 1 November 1900.

The total length of the elevated and underground railway was now 10.1 km. The largest part of the route, approximately 8 km, would be established on viaducts and connect eleven elevated stations. In addition there would be 2 km of underground line with three underground stations. The planners believed that 8-carriage trains would not be needed and therefore designed it with 80 m-long platforms, sufficient only for 6-carriage trains.

The first 6 km of the line was finished in 1901 and on 15 February 1902 the first train ran on the line from Potsdamer Platz to Zoologischer Garten, then to Stralauer Tor and back to Potsdamer Platz. This allowed many prominent Berliners to participate in the opening trip, including the Prussian minister for public works, Karl von Thielen. On 18 February 1902 the first stage of the Berlin U-Bahn was officially opened (Stralauer TorPotsdamer Platz). In March the line was extended to Zoologischer Garten and on 17 August it was extended by 380 m from Stralauer Tor to Warschauer Brücke. There were at that time only two lines:

  • From Warschauer Brücke to Zoologischer Garten via Potsdamer Platz (with reversal).
  • From Warschauer Brücke directly to Zoologischer Garten.
  • On 14 December the line was extended to Knie. The section between Gleisdreieck and Knie (now Ernst-Reuter-Platz) is now part of U2.

    The new Gleisdreieck

    One of the most dangerous places of the entire U-Bahn network was found at the triangular rail junction at Gleisdreieck, which connected the main route between Warschauer Brücke and Zoologischer Garten with the branch line to Potsdamer Platz. This branch was protected only by signals, so that train-driver inattention could easily lead to a disaster, as happened on 26 September 1908. A U-Bahn train ran into the side of another train, forcing two carriages off the track. One carriage fell over the viaduct and 21 passengers died. As a result, it was decided to change the configuration at Gleisdreieck.

    Construction began in May 1912 to replace the rail triangle with two lines built as a grade-separated cross with a new Gleisdreieck interchange station at the intersection. These lines now form part of U1 and U2. The new works were carried out largely with full services operating, although services were briefly interrupted on each line. On 3 November 1912 the new Gleisdreieck station was opened but construction was not completed until August 1913. The connecting track from the Pankow direction to the Warschauer Straße direction continued to operate until the completion of works for construction supply vehicles.

    World War 2

    After their takeover of power, two stations were renamed after people highly regarded by the Nazi party. On April 24, 1933, the former Reichskanzlerplatz (today known as Theodor-Heuss-Platz), received the name Adolf Hitler Platz. The former Schönhauser Tor (today known as Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz), was renamed on May 1, 1934 after Horst Wessel, a Nazi Sturmführer who was killed in a clash in 1930.

    In the autumn of 1943, as the bombings of Berlin by Allied Forces rose sharply, many people took refuge in U-Bahn stations. The official regulations stated that at the sound of an air raid siren, all the metro stations must be closed, however this was rarely the case and many people mistakenly believed that they were protected from the attacks. For example, the entrance to the station at Senefelderplatz was collapsed by a bomb in attacks that occurred on November 3 and 4 in 1943. In 1944, as the air raids continued, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe had trouble keeping the U2 line in operation, as many stations were affected such as Gleisdreieck, Nollendorfplatz, Olympiastadion, Potsdamer Platz, and Klosterstraße.

    In 1945, the situation deteriorated further and the U-Bahn operated only as a shuttle between some stations. On April 25, 1945, the entire U-Bahn came to a standstill.

    The construction of the Wall

    The closure of the sector boundary between the two parts of Berlin - the Berlin Wall - resulted in line A also being split into two, as it crossed the city from east to west. On the orders of the then GDR Interior Minister Karl Maron, trains on the section of line A (now U2) in East Berlin terminated at Thälmannplatz station (now Mohrenstraße).

    Lines C and D (now U6 and U8) of the West Berlin BVG were left alone, but the stations located in the eastern sector were closed (the Geisterbahnhöfe). Connections were not allowed from the eastern section of line A and lines C and D at city centre stations or at Alexanderplatz.

    Maron had originally assumed that the West Berlin BVG would terminate their trains on the western section of line A at Potsdamer Platz, however in fact the trains were terminated one stop earlier, at Gleisdreieck. Tracks to allow trains to change direction here had been built in the early 1950s as a precaution. Therefore, the East Berlin BVG used the turning facilities at Potsdamer Platz and occasionally even ran their trains through under West Berlin.

    The splitting on line A and the closure of those stations on lines C and D under East Berlin caused the final split in all-sector Berlin transport, as the trams and buses hadn't crossed the sector border since 1953. The Berlin S-Bahn was in whole Berlin under the direction of the GDR-controlled Deutsche Reichsbahn and therefore could not count as a common means of transport.

    The Line A (U2) in East Berlin

    The split of the U-Bahn network left only two lines under the direction of BVG-Ost.

    The first was the entire Line E (now U5) from Alexanderplatz to Friedrichsfelde, which was opened in 1930.

    The second line was the eastern part of the line A, in principle opened the 1908-1913 through the city center and to Pankow.

    Both these lines crossed in the center of East Berlin at Alexanderplatz, where there was a connection to the S-Bahn. The other two lines in the district centre were under the control of West BVG. The stations located in the Eastern sector were closed and bricked-up, treated as (ghost stations). These stations were patrolled by GDR security forces to stop East Berliners escaping to the West via the U-Bahn.

    The underground transport system played a less important role in East Berlin than in West Berlin. The focus in the East was more on the extensive suburban train and tram networks. In 58 years (1930-1987) only one new subway station (Tierpark) was built in the eastern part of the city, while the S-Bahn expanded along with many new tram routes.

    Plans were made for line C (now U6) to capitalize on East Berlin territory and to extend line A through the city centre in a tunnel along the Friedrichstraße, but were not put into action.

    The Kaiserhof station (now Mohrenstraße) was originally named after a luxury hotel that had been severely damaged during World War II, at the intersection of Willhelm and Mohrenstraße in the heart of the government district. When East Berlin fell under communist administration after the Second World War, the Wilhelmplatz square as well as the station were renamed on 18 August 1950 to Thälmannplatz, after the communist leader Ernst Thälmann.

    With the erection of the Berlin Wall from 13 August 1961, the line ceased to run between East and West Berlin and the station became the terminus of the line in East Berlin. Because the square was overbuilt by a housing estate and the Czechoslovakian Embassy, on 15 April 1986 the station and corresponding street (Wilhelmstraße) was renamed Otto-Grotewohl-Straße, after the politician Otto Grotewohl. On 3 October 1991, following German reunification, the station was renamed Mohrenstraße. The line was reconnected on 13 November 1993 and simultaneously reconfigured, forming a new U2 line between Vinetastraße in the east and Ruhleben in the west.

    After the 1953 Uprising, the East German government sat mainly in the old government quarters in Wilhelmstraße, it was decided the station should reflect the new Socialist order. The station was completely redesigned and is unique due to its 1950s design, in the style of Socialist Classicism in Berlin.

    The city center stations, Hausvogteiplatz, Spittelmarkt, Rosa Luxemburg-Platz and Senefelderplatz were remodeled in the 1960s, the walls retiled all for show as U6 ran through without stopping. In 1987, the stations at Markisches Museum and Klosterstraße, as part of the rebuilding for the celebration of 750th anniversary of Berlin, were remodeled with a view to showcase the socialist economic system with advertising space and artistic representations of the urban development of historic buses and trams. The Alexanderplatz station has not changed and is still preserved almost in its original condition, as was Potsdamer Platz which had lain unused for 32 years.

    New Station: Bismarckstraße

    Due to the S-Bahn boycott and closure of the tram, the U-Bahn was expanded in West-Berlin. However, this affected only the more modern large network profile (today's U6 to U9). The small-profile construction projects in power were limited to the construction of new interchanges on new subway lines.

    In the area of today's U2 this happened in 1978 in Charlottenburg, the Deutsche Oper (German Opera) and between the existing stations and Sophie-Charlotte-Platz.

    During the construction of the line 7, a tangential line that connects several district centers with each other outside of the actual city center, several existing lines were crossed . These included the lines 4, 2 (now U3), and 1 (now U2). The intersection of the latter was in Bismarckstraße / Wilmersdorfer Straße, 380 meters west of the station Deutsche Oper. Despite the short distance to the station, a new interchange station was built to provide the required transfer possibility .

    Before the beginning of work for line 7 and the Bismarckstraße station, the shuttle line from Deutsche Oper to Richard-Wagner-Platz (in the timetable called 'line 5') was closed. This connection took over after its completion, the new line 7.

    As the already 70-year-old tunnel of Line 1 consisted only of weak reinforced concrete, the SNB simply removed the existing tunnel and built it again as a completely closed reinforced concrete frame. As the station was constructed, there was an underground station tower to attach the station to street level. The line 7 received a 110 meter long and 11.6 meter wide platform. For the small line profile, however uncomfortable two side platforms, each of which was 4.5 meters wide, were built. For the construction of a center platform, the tracks were pulled apart and the line was shut down for a long time. The new station went under the name of Bismarckstraße, together with the extension of line 7 on 28 April 1978 in operation.

    Reopening of the Wall

    After the opening of the border on 9 November 1989, the line was not set up to handle the high volume of cross-border traffic. While Friedrichstraße station was easily restored for S-Bahn service, a quick restoration of the broken line A after 28 years was not possible.

    However, the so-called "ghost stations" (closed stations, which were passed without stopping) on the U6 and U8 reopened, so interchange was possible from East Berlin's line A to West Berlin's U6 and U8 at Stadtmitte and Alexanderplatz stations respectively.

    On 1 July 1990, East Berlin's lines A and E were integrated into the western numbering scheme of the BVG. Line A was given the line number "U2". That led to a three-year-long curiosity, since the two U2s were not yet connected. Three months later, on 3 October 1990, the day of Reunification, the Berlin U-Bahn network was largely "Communist free"; station names from the Communist era were mostly replaced by politically neutral names. This involved two stations on the U2 line: "Dimitroffstraße" to "Eberswalder Straße", and "Otto-Grotewohl-Straße" to "Mohrenstraße".

    The Bülowstraße Station, closed from 1972 to 1993, required substantial reconstruction.

    Against the opposition of conservatives, one station was not renamed back to its pre-1933 name: Because there were many Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße's and Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz's in East Germany, the stations name was not changed to 'Schönhauser Tor'.

    In 1991, construction began to close the gap between the two parts of the U2, the section Wittenbergplatz - Gleisdreieck - Potsdamer Platz - Mohrenstraße. Several obstacles and problems had to be overcome:

  • For Nollendorfplatz and Bulowstraße: Both stations hosted their own bazaar, using discarded U-bahn carriages.
  • For Gleisdreieck all the way to Potsdamer Platz: An experimental maglev train ("M-Bahn") was built and had to be dismantled.
  • For Potsdamer Platz all the way to Mohrenstraße: Potsdamer Platz lay directly under the border, numerous security and border fortifications had to be removed in December 1990.
  • Two new stations in late 1990s

    At the reopening of the full U2 line in 1993, a new station had been provided on the line. This time the ramp between Gleisdreieck and Potsdamer Platz railway stations to be built from scratch, since a 120 -meter station must be perfectly horizontal . Therefore, the ramp was redesigned and built a little steeper. A need for this station, however, arose only after completion of the new area around Potsdamer Platz. Planned as Hafenplatz was built in the BVG-house station Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park with two side platforms opened on 1 October 1998. The construction works were done without impeding the operation of U2 . The station, designed by the architects Hilmer, Sattler & Partner is 619 meters from the Potsdamer Platz and 469 metres from the Gleisdreieck

    For decades, there were plans for an extension of the U2 to Pankow S-Bahn station. In 1930, the route had been extended to Vinetastraße. A further extension towards the north no longer came about due to the economic crisis. Also in the expansion plans of the Nazis was always intended that U2 to Pankow station at least, if not even lead to Pankower Kirche. It was the same in the GDR in the late 1980s, there was even concrete announcements about the construction. This was mainly because BVB lacked a small-profile workshop. All trains were both in the large profile workshop Friedrichsfelde and in the Reichsbahn repair shop Schoeneweide, which took over the function of a main workshop, waiting . These states no longer seemed acceptable and so they sought space for a new workshop, since the existing (very small) workshop at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz station did not meet the requirements . This was to be built east of the freight station Pankow, at the Granitzstraße . In connection therewith, the subway should be extended for a station . Until 1988, the tunnel was extended, after the fall of the tunnel has been turned into a reversing facility .

    It was not until the mid 1990s this topic was relevant again. In numerous places in the metro network new interchanges between S-and U -Bahn were provided, this included the extension of the U2 to Pankow. The groundbreaking for this new network expansion took place on 13 June 1997 Peter Klemann senator instead. It was also discussed with construction of a new small-profile workshop, as provided in GDR times. While it renounced its construction, since the current workshop Grunewald can do all the work without capacity problem, but they built the foundations for a connection of a workshop. Extremely difficult ground conditions, the extremely high water table and finds a medieval settlement slowed progress nonetheless significant. Finally, it was only on 16 September 2000, the new building will be opened with the new interchange station to the suburban train. The cost was estimated instead of the 126 million marks to 105 million marks. In the meantime, was provided the name "Bahnhof Pankow", but the BVG decided to rename to "Pankow".

    In the blue, white and yellow held 110 meter long underground station was rare in the Berlin underground network skylights, as well as natural light can penetrate into the station. It was designed by architect Orlando Figallo. During the construction, a generous reception building was simultaneously established with the possible by a lift and escalators convenient connections to the S-Bahn line S2 to Bernau. There are still plans, according to the U2 towards Pankow Kirche or Rosenthaler Weg should be extended. This planning is also provided in the financial scenario in 2030 the Berlin Senate. Thus, a medium-realization, at least in the realm of possibility. Both stations were the first buildings in Berlin's small-profile power for decades.


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