From Podbielskiallee, I decided to walk to the next station. I strolled through more of Berlin’s pleasant suburbia, along a wide boulevard.
The U-Bahn tracks, above ground until this point, dive back underground. They weren’t far beneath my feet though, as I was reminded occasionally when I heard the roar of a passing train through the vents in the central reservation of Schorlemerallee. Berlin is built on a swamp, which precluded the use of deep tunnels for the most part, so the tunnels are “cut and cover” type, with the trains running just below street level.
A few minutes later and I was at Breitenbachplatz. Take your choice of entrances: the original staircase, or a more recently added building with lift access. I went with the former for the selfie pic.
The real prize, though, is underground. The platforms are ornately decorated with friezes on the walls, carefully designed patterns around the lights in the ceilings and – yes! – massive columns spread along the island platform.
I spent last weekend in Berlin, easily one of my favourite cities to visit. I checked out landmarks, visited museums, loitered in gay bars and generally soaked up the cultural vibe.
Berlin is renowned for its excellent public transport system. The city is criss-crossed by a dense network of rail routes: the U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn between them cover most of the city and parts beyond. Until now, though, I had always ridden the system purely for practical reasons: to get from A to B (or should that be Ä to ß?).
On Saturday morning, however, I decided to put my Station Master hat on and take a ride on the U-Bahn just for the hell of it, and to provide some content for this blog and its increasingly broad remit.
I chose to ride on line U3, for several reasons. First, it’s relatively short (just 7.5 miles) and I reasoned I could cover its 15 stations easily in one morning. Secondly, its one of the oldest parts of the network (opened in 1913) and I thought it may yield some historical secrets. I was right on both counts.
I was amazed to find that my train, when it pulled in to the station, was only two coaches long. Yes, it was Saturday morning and fairly quiet (despite the short length, nobody had to stand at all), but for someone more accustomed to the never-deserted London Underground, it was startling. The train I was riding on dated back to the early 1970s, which perhaps explains why every surface was covered by a mahogany veneer.