The Anonymous Widower

Projekt U5

Projekt U5 is Berlin’s latest extension to the U-Bahn network.

In the excellent project description on this Internet, it is described as a Gap Closure.

The project “gap closure U5” connects the traditional line U5 from Hönow to Alexanderplatz with the U55 between Alexanderplatz and Brandenburger Tor. It includes the construction of a 2.2 kilometer tunnel stretch and three new underground stations: Rotes Rathaus, Museumsinsel and Unter den Linden.
It looks like it is about the same size of London’s Northern Line Extension.
  • Berlin U5 Missing Gap – 3 stations – – 3.22 km.- €525 million
  • Northern Line Extension – 2 stations – 2.2 km. – £560 million

Both projects are for completion in 2020.

The Berlin U5 seems to have better hoardings.

 

 

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Walking Around Berlin’s Museum Quarter

I took these pictures as I walked around Berlin’s Museum Quarter.

There is a lot of construction going on.

I spent about an hour in the Historical Museum finding about my Jewish ancestor, who  Ibelieve came from Konigsberg.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Gothic Railway Fantasy

They don’t build bridges like the Oberbaum bridge in Berlin anymore.

Thinking about it, London’s only fantasy bridge is Tower Bridge.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Trip To The Berlin Olympic Stadium

My father hated both extreme-right and extreme-left politics with a vengeance and I can honestly say, that I never heard him tell a racist joke.

My father also liked his sport and always claimed he’d first been driven to White Hart Lane in a pony and trap, before the First Wold War. He said, that you used to give a kid, a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

He also used to like his athletics and one day told me with great joy, how the black American athlete Jesse Owens had annoyed Hitler by wining three gold medals.

So as I was in Berlin, I had to visit the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

I arrived at the S-bahn station and walked through to the U-bahn station from where I returned to Central Berlin.

These are some of the npictures that I took.

It was a cold walk, but would be very pleasant in the sun.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

A Trip To Berlin-Grunewald Station

Berlin-Grunewald station is not far from Berlin-Spandau on the S-Bahn.

According to my easyJet guide. it is a pleasant place to walk and you might even see wild boar.

But I went to pay my respects at Gleis 17.

Wikipedia says this about the infamous platform.

Starting on 18 October 1941 the adjacent goods station until February 1945 was one of the major sites of deportation of the Berlin Jews. The trains left mainly for the ghettos of Litzmannstadt and Warsaw, and from 1942 directly for the Auschwitz and Theresienstadt concentration camps. On 18 October 1991 a monument was inaugurated at the ramp leading to the former freight yard. The Deutsche Bahn had a memorial established on 27 January 1998 at the historic track 17 (“Gleis 17”), where most of the deportation trains departed.

I wonder how many of the Jews from Germany, with whom I share a common ancestor perished in the various ghettos and camps.

Gleis 17 is a sombre place and there was only one other visitor; a German actor.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Riding The Berlin U-Bahn And S-Bahn

Berlin has a population of approximately 3.7 million. Only London is a more populous city in the European Union.

So it has an extensive U-Bahn and S-Bahn network as this map shows.

Thjs picture shows the system map.

Superficially, it does not look unlike the London tube map will look. with the addition of Crossrail and Thameslink!

Berlin’s basic layout consist of a North-South and East-West route, whih are mote like Thameslink than Crossrail, with a circular route going round the city centre, in much the same way the London Overground does.

A network of other lines, which are both U-bahn and S-bahn cross in a random manner all over the place.

I didn’t find it as easy to navigate as some cities, like say Paris. But then it may be that I know Paris better than Berlin.

Ticketing

Ticketing is based on trust and I bought a forty-eight hour pass for my stay in the city.

There are no gates and you just walk on, unlike in London, Birmingham, Paris or Glasgow.

My ticket was checked just once in the forty-eight hours.

When I bought the ticket, I had a brief discussion with the guy in the Tourist Office, who spoke excellent English.

I asked if I got a discount for my Bahncard. He said various cities have different systems and many Germans carry some form of Bahncard.

But as every city is different, there seems to be little cross-benefits. Certainly, the guy in the Tourist Office wished the system was simpler.

Despite the fact, that a Bahncard is a National discount and the S-Bahn is run by Deutsche Bahn, there is no discount.

Riding the S-Bahn

This paragraph describes some of the unique features of the Berlin S-bahn.

While in the first decades of this tariff zone the trains were steam-drawn, and even after the electrification of large parts of the network, a number of lines remained under steam, today the term S-Bahn is used in Berlin only for those lines and trains with third-rail electrical power transmission and the special Berlin S-Bahn loading gauge. The third unique technical feature of the Berlin S-Bahn, the automated mechanical train control, is being phased out and replaced by a communications-based train control system, but which again is specific to the Berlin S-Bahn.

So the London Overground with its mix of 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail electrification is more of a standard railway than the Berlin S-bahn.

These are a few pictures.

Note how several stations on the main East-West route have impressive train sheds.

Riding The U-Bahn

These are a few pictures.

Note how most stations seem to have an island platform between the two lines.

A Sensible Place For A Full S-Bahn/U-Bahn Map

Travel on the London Underground/Overground and most Mational Rail stations and versions of Harry Beck’s iconic map are everywhere.

Not so in Berlin, where maps tend to be small and fairly unreadable.

However, they dp put maps on the articulated section between cars on the S-bahn.

It certainly allowed this visitor to stand by the map and read it.

Step-Free Access On The U-Bahn and S-Bahn

Lifts are provided at some stations, but German railways in particular don’t score highly on step-free access. A lot of their trains also have a couple of steps up into the train.

Using a wheel-chair on most German trains would be a nightmare.

Interchange Between U-Bahn And S-Bahn

The U-Bahn is run by the city of Berlin, whereas the S-Bahn is run by Deutsche Bahn.

And in some stations it shows, with a walk of perhaps a hundred metres between separate S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations.

London would definitely call them Out-of-Station-Interchanges (OSI).

My local OSI between Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction stations is about a hundred metres with step-free access at the Junction end.

It’s not good, but it’s certainly better than most interchanges between U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about a holiday in Berlin, choose your hotel carefully, near to a station with good step-free access.

You may also be better off if you have special mobility needs to use the trams, which mostly appeared to be step-free.

 

 

 

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Berlin Hauptbahnhof is a spectacular station built in the last few years.

As the pictures show, it is a multi-level station.

  • The upper-level is covered by a large train-shed and has several through platforms, including those for the S-Bahn.
  • In the basement there are another set of platforms.
  • As many as three separate escalators to get to the long-distance trains in the bottom level.

The station has sixteen platforms, which makes it just one platform bigger than London Bridge station.

Numbers of passengers per day will probably be similar, when London Bridge is finished, with Thameslink and the Southeastern Metro at full capacity.

On the other hand, London Bridge has two very high capacity Underground Lines, whereas Berlin Hauptbahnhof has only one of a lower capacity.

Gluten-Free Food

The one thing, where London Bridge station is better, is that it has a Leon, with a good selection of gluten-free food.

As with most German stations, there is little gluten-free food except for McFonalds fries in Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Trip To Spandau

This morning I have taken the U7 line to Spandau Rathaus and explored the town.

I am actually writing this in a pleasant coffee house called Croissant, where I have enjoyed a mug of cappuccino and a chocolate brownie, that was marked gluten-free.

According to my guide book, there are things to see at Spandau, but it was just too cold for a full explore.

I shall soon be leaving to visit the Olympic Stadium.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Hotel To Avoid

My hotel in Berlin is definitely one to avoid.

These are current anoyancies.

  • The television can’t receive BBC World.
  • The glasses are small thin plastic things in plsstic bags, that break easily. McDonalds provide better ones!
  • There is no plug for a laptop by the desk.
    That doesn’t matter as the desk isn’t big enough for a laptop.
  • The doors are heavy steel ones that are hard to open and hit you as you go through.
  • There is no place to put clothes

I shall be glad to leave tomorrow.

I will mot return or use another of this group’s hotels.

I’ll name the hotel, when I get back to Blighty and I have put my vitriol on Trip Advisor. I can’t fo that now, as I haven’t got my account details with me. You always forget something!

These are a few pictures I took.

In some ways for me, the non-existent glasses was worst.  Because of my stroke, I like to drink out of a glass, as I can’t use a straw.

This hotel is totally unsuitable for solo travellers like myself, who need to charge devices. It would also be terrible for a couple, as the average woman would have no place to put everything.

C would have gone potty.

If I were to give the average Premier Inn 7 out of 10, I would give this Metro One hotel by the Hauptbahnhof in Berlin, a score as low as one.

 

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments