Thursday, March 06, 2014

Wandertag - 6 March

Peter & I try to schedule a regular "Wandertag" for ourselves every couple of weeks. "Wandertag" is the word our daughter's school uses for field trip days. Literally translated, it means "wandering day". I love that term.

Today, we had the opportunity to check out part of the U-Bahn line being built right under Unter den Linden, the main street that passes through the heart of Berlin. If you come to Berlin anytime soon, you will see the massive construction project cluttering up Unter den Linden and pretty much causing a traffic nightmare for tour buses or taxis that have to pass through the area.

The U55 has a troubled financial history, dating back to the start of work on it in the 1990s when the German capital moved to Berlin from Bonn and many government buildings went up in the area of the Reichstag, where there was little public transportation. After many economic fits and starts construction of the short line was completed in 2009. There are only three stations open on the line so far: Brandenburger Tor, Bundestag, and Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Eventually, the line will be extended so that passengers can travel from the Berlin Hauptbahnhof straight through the heart of Berlin Mitte to Alexanderplatz, and vice versa, without having to transfer around so much.

As Peter & I were walking, we noticed the entrance to the Brandenburger Tor station and, having heard so much about how modern it is, we decided to go see what the newer ones look like. When you get down to the platform, everything still seems so shiny & new it's a little disconcerting. It even still has that "new train station smell" to it. Not a spot of graffiti or plastered sign in sight. This Wikipedia article notes groundwater problems that delayed the opening of the Brandenburger Tor station, and those problems seem to have continued as there are some patches of plaster with visible signs of water damage.

The line is expected to be completed by 2017.

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