• Germany's news in English

Germany's shortest metro line to open in Berlin

DPA/The Local · 5 Aug 2009, 11:58

Published: 05 Aug 2009 11:58 GMT+02:00

The U55 has earned the nickname of Kanzlerlinie, or Chancellor Line, because it runs under the government quarter in Berlin’s city centre to the central train station.

After the reunification of East and West Germany, city planners intended for the U55 to be an extension of the U5, which now ends at Alexanderplatz, through the government quarter and beyond to connect with the U9. But the plans turned out to be too ambitious and construction stopped in 1999 until the federal government gave the city of Berlin an ultimatum – finish the U55 or pay back millions in development funds.

But without enough money to build the entire line, Berlin cut corners, leaving unfinished “ghost stations” along the way. The finished product is the €320-million, 1.8-kilometre shuttle between the main train station and a new stop called Brandenburger Tor, named after Berlin’s most famous landmark just above the station, the Brandenburg Gate.

To make up for the U55’s shortcomings, the city of Berlin has outfitted the three stations with modern conveniences for tourists. The Brandenburger Tor station will serve as an information point for visitors, who will also be able to rent audio guides about the Berlin Wall, which used to divide the city just behind the monument at Pariser Platz. Computers will also direct hobby historians to information on the city’s past.

Story continues below…

Berlin plans to spend another €433 million to extend the U55 underneath Unter den Linden to Alexanderplatz by 2017. Until then, the line may actually get more use than initially expected with S-Bahn lines running on emergency service due to train car safety checks. The checks have spun Berlin commuter traffic into chaos and turned the U-Bahn into the city’s preferred method of public transportation.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd