Wednesday 22 November 2017

Glitzerball im Deutschen Bahnhof

Excitement at fbb Mansions!
Yesterday morning the crowds were out in force (well, Mrs fbb spotted it as she set off to the shops!) to see a significant progress point in the building of the Premier Inn next door to your blogger's extensive estates. The scaffolding came down last week and here the bridge from Harbour Road up to the entrance is being craned into place.
Let's hope it fits!
Strictly Come Dancing Station Part 2
fbb has been straining his brain cells to find out when this posh non-rotatory glitterball was dangled from the roof of the main circulating area at the Basel Badischer Bahnhof, thankfully shortened to Basel Bad Bf.
In fact it (or an equivalent) has been there since the station was built.
Originally it was a rather splendid light fitting. But we race ahead of ourselves.

In March 1838, the Grand Duchy of Baden State Railways started working on a railway line from Mannheim via Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Freiburg im Breisgau. This line was called Badische Hauptbahn (Baden Main Line) or Rheintalbahn (Rhine Valley Line). A Swiss railway commission desired a continuation of the line into Basel and contacted the Grand Duchy of Baden in 1842.
In January 1851, the Rheintalbahn line reached the village of Haltingen, close to the Swiss border. Since the two governments had not agreed about how to build the station in Basel yet, the passengers were transported across the border with hackney carriages.

Haltingen eventually merged to form Weil am Rhein, terminus of Basel Tram No 8

Finally, on July 27, 1852, a treaty became effective between the government of Baden and the Swiss Confederation. This treaty is still effective today.
The first station in Basel was located on the present site of the Messe (exhibition halls - remember?).
It was not long before it became obvious that it wasn't big enough, so a new, grander station was built on the edge of the town about half a mile away. Constructed between 1906 and 1913, this is the building we have today.

Here is the site showing platforms and linking subway under construction with open country beyond ...
... and the former overall roof before trains began to run.
Particularly nostalgic is this snap of the station restaurant. Yum yum!
Alas such luxuries are no longer part of twentyfirst century rail travel. But the station does have a restaurant, no longer run by DB.
Note the "Snack Menu" click to enlarge the graphic) ...
... and say "ouch!".  £20 for a posh burger. Double ouch. Where is the nearest McDonalds?
Ein Big Mac (at the main SBB station) is just £5. Still a bit ouchy but snacks are pricey in Basel.
Nearby, there are loads of trams to observe - and avoid when crossing the road. As No 3 son reports, here you can successfully avoid being squashed by a tram and then be run over by an unexpected bus!
But, remember that treaty with the Grand Duchy of Baden, still in force today? One of the consequences of the 1852 treaty is that Basel Bad station is actually part of Germany ...
... and is run by Deutsche Bahn. It is the only German-owned and run station outside the borders of Germany.

When you arrive by train, you are in Germany. As you walk through the exit subway ...
... you are still in Germany. The subway system was re-fettled in 2014 to provide a new southern entrance/exit.
As you make your way to the main hall, you will find, guess what? There is a customs post.
See "nach Deitschland" and "in die Schweiz" (lower right).
Once again, people pass freely within the Schengen area; but there is a little window where you can pay the tax on imports.
The positive news is that this station, over 110 years old, still retains much of its concrete loveliness.
Even that cloistered walkway still remains largely unspoilt by modernity.
Well worth a visit. fbb is highly jealous of No 3 Son!

 Next Minibus Revolution Mark 2 blog : 23rd November 

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