Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Potsdamer Platz Persistence (2)

 The Big Railways

This map (sorry it is not clearer) shows thhe state of Berlin's standard gauge main and suburban lines before the Second World War. Noteworthy is the "Ringbahn", a sort of outer circle; and a fair selection of terminals just inside or at the "Ring".

A proposal to link stations in the north with those in the south was first mooted in 1911 but the link was not complete until sfter World War 2.

The history of railways in the city is complicated by several external political nasties. There was the rise of the Nazi Party and the man with the silly moustache who had plans to make Berlin into "Germainia", capital of the world. Iy never happened.

The bombing and shelling of Berlin by the allies (UK, USA and then USSR) had by far the biggest effect on the Railway's/

Then along came the division of Germany between the four big guys; US, USSR, GB and France.

Then the USSR declared unilateral independence and, effectively, Germany became East and West but with Berlin totally surrounded by East! 

Then came the Berlin Wall and the saddest and most frustrating situation with West Berlin continually under threat from the Soviets.

But we have a long way to go to get there. Here is an elragnement of part of the map.

We can pick out what appear to be FOUR stations in the general Potsdamer Platz area.

There is Potsd Bf - Potsdamer Bahnhof

On its right and a little to the south is Anhalter Bf

Then tacked on to Pitsd Bf we have Wannseebf

and just across the main track is Potsd Ringbf

Potsdamer Bahnhof
was the very first station to arrive in Berlin, this in 1838.
In 1872 it was enlarged and significantly rebuild ...
... and given a slightly grander facade in about 1909.

But in 1891 it was struggling to cope and two so-called "wing" stations were added for some suburban services.

The Ringbagnhof was added to the west of the main lines ...

... to separate out trains running to and from the Ringbahn.

On the Western side appeared the Wannsee Bahnhof.

This was to be the terminus for the Wannseebahn suburban line, which runs to the Wannsee (lake) thus providing the line's name.
Here is a hyper enlargement of an old street map showing all three termoins sitting on the southern edge of Potsdamer Platz.
The black line is the S-Bahn of which more anon.

Anhalter Bahnhof

While all this was going on, a second terminus was being constructed a couple of Streets away.

The station opened in 1842 ...

Thirty years latet there was a massive rebuilt creating what was intended to be the very bestest station in Germany, if not in Europe. A huge overall glass roof was part of the structure ...
... and became far grander (although still less busy) than its neighbour.

But, if you wander south from Potsdamer Platz today you will see nothing of its eponymous terminus, but you will see a park which replaced the station and its approaches.

And the other terminus, the Anhalter Bahnhof? There is just a small lump left.

The grandest of the two termini suffered badly during WW2 ...

... with just a small section now retained for old times' sake.
Keen explorers have been able to find bits of platform in nearby undergrowth ...
... but these will nyt last long - indeed they may be gone now anyway.

So what happened to the trains. In simple terms (although it is actually far from simple) they went underground in the North South S-Bahn tunnel.

To Be Continued

Hornby - A Travesty Of Truth

Yesterday evening's programme on Yesterday was very disappointing. It was, supposedly, a review of the 10 most important products in the Hornby range.

Except on many, many occasions history had been re-written by the programme makers.

Hornby, apparently produced the very first plastic train set to be sold by Marks and Spencer in the 1950s.

WRONG. The innovation was from Rovex, later Triang, who bought the Hornby name when the Liverpool company went bust.

Hornby produced the first model of Stephenson's Rocket.
WRONG. It was a Triang development released just as the word "Hornby" was being added to Triang products.

Hornby produced the Minic Motorways OO scale (roughtly) slot car system.
WRONG : A Triang product though and through.

Whilst you wouldn't expect a general interest programme on the Yesterday channel to go into the tortured commercial background of Triang and Hornby, at least mention could have been made that Frank Hornby's vision died with the collapse of Dublo etc and that Triang continued its developments policy and became the "new" Hornby.

 Next Potsdamer Platz blog : Wednesday 15th February 

1 comment:

  1. The 1930s building *is* the rather fabulous station at Wannsee, not the long-gone Berlin terminal.