Berlin main station is the main railway station in Berlin, Germany.
Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, city planners began work
on a transport plan for reunified Berlin. One element of this became
the „Pilzkonzept” (mushroom concept), in which a new north-south railway
line intersecting the Stadtbahn was to be constructed. The name derived
from the shape formed by the new line and existing lines, which vaguely
resembles a mushroom.
Upper level with the east-west running tracks.
In June 1992 the federal government decided that the new station should be built on the site of Lehrter Bahnhof. While close to the centre of Berlin and government buildings, the area was still not heavily populated. The following year, a design competition for the project was held, which was won by the Hamburg architecture firm Gerkan, Marg and Partners.
The design called for five levels. The highest level, on a bridge 10 metres above street level, was to have platforms for both long-distance and S-Bahn trains on the existing Stadbahn. The lowest level, 15 metres underground, was to have platforms served by new tunnels to Potsdamer Platz under the Spree and the Tiergarten, forming a new north-south line running to the northern part of the S-Bahn ring around central Berlin. Platforms for the planned extension to U-Bahn line 5 were also included, as were platforms for the cancelled Transrapid maglev train.
The building work took place in several stages. In 1995 the construction of the Tiergarten tunnels began, and this work was finished in 2005 with the completion of the last station tunnel. The tunnels provide four tubes for long-distance and regional services and two tubes in a separate alignment for the U-Bahn, in addition to a road tunnel ventilated by a 60 metres (200 ft) high tower completed in 2004. During its construction, the course of the Spree had to be diverted (1996–1998). Water leaks in the tunnels caused over one year’s delay to the construction work.
Construction of the bridges for the new S-Bahn route began in 2001. These needed to span not only the entire length of the station, but also the adjacent Humboldthafen port, and are 450 metres (1,480 ft) long. Because of the alignment of the S-Bahn they are curved, and each pair of tracks has a separate bridge. Bridges of this type had never been built before, and represented a special challenge for the Egyptian engineer Hani Azer, the chief construction engineer since 2001.
The main station hall is spanned by a similarly curved glass roof with a surface area of about 85 metres (279 ft) by 120 metres (390 ft), which was installed in February 2002. A photovoltaic system was integrated into the glass surface. The steel and glass construction was a difficult task for the engineers, particularly as the glass roofs were shortened by approximately 100 metres to speed up construction.
Over the first weekend of July 2002 the bridges and main station hall were brought into service so that traffic could be diverted onto the new alignment. The old Lehrter Stadtbahnhof S-Bahn station was closed and rapidly demolished to make way for further new building. On 9 September 2002 the station was renamed „Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Lehrter Bahnhof”.
The main concourse, supported by two towers, will provide roughly 44,000 square metres (470,000 sq ft) of commercial space. Construction of the towers began in 2005. On two separate weekends, 29 July and 13 August 2005, structural frames were installed, supporting the structure above the east-west tracks. This was built using a new technique: the frames, each weighing 1250 t, were lowered by steel cables at a rate of 6 metres (20 ft) per hour; the remaining 20 millimetres (0.79 in) gap between the bow frames upon completion of the lowering process was subsequently closed.
Berlin Hauptbahnhof has railway tracks on two levels, running perpendicular with each other. The level between them is used for entry and exit from the building, and for shopping.
During summer 2003 a survey commissioned by Peter Strieder, Berlin’s Senator for City Development and Traffic, and Deutsche Bahn director Hartmut Mehdorn was conducted among Berlin residents with the intention of selecting a name for the station. Of the three possibilities listed on the survey, the majority of participants opted for Lehrter Bahnhof; nevertheless, the station remained „Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Lehrter Bahnhof”, an option that was not listed. It was decided early in 2005 that the station would be renamed „Berlin Hauptbahnhof” on the date of its opening, May 28, 2006, to avoid confusing rail passengers. On the same day, Berlin Papestraße station, which was rebuilt as the city’s second-largest station, opened officially under its new name, Berlin Südkreuz (South Cross), similar to the existing Ostkreuz and Westkreuz stations. It is also on the new north-south route. Although it was intended to open a further station as Berlin-Nordkreuz (North Cross), the name Berlin-Gesundbrunnen was retained for what became Berlin’s fourth biggest railway station for commuter and long distance trains, located in a more northern part of Berlin, where the circle and north-south-line of the S-Bahn cross each other.
Lowering of the western bridging segments during the construction of Berlin Hauptbahnhof. This was the first time in the world that this construction method was used.
In 2005 the bridging segments, which cross over the roof of the station, were lowered. This was the first time, this unique method to build later office rooms was applied.
On 26 May 2006 the station was ceremonially opened by Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrived together with transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee in a specially chartered InterCityExpress from Leipzig. A „Symphony of Light” was performed immediately following the dedication. Reamonn and BAP performed at the station, and there were also events at the other new stations: Gesundbrunnen, Potsdamer Platz and Südkreuz. Berlin Hauptbahnhof officially went into operation on 28 May 2006.
The opening ceremony was marred by an attack by a drunken 16-year old wielding a knife, who stabbed members of the public leaving the ceremony. Forty-one people were wounded, six seriously, before the youth was arrested. According to police, the youth says he cannot remember his act of violence and is still denying it. One of the first stabbing victims was HIV-positive, leading to worries that other victims may have been infected, although this did not prove to be the case. The youth was charged with attempted murder, and was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted manslaughter in 33 cases in 2007.
Information taken from the site en.wikipedia.org