In Berlin, there is a Siemensbahn railway line that is nearly 4.5 kilometers long that was abandoned (2.7 miles). After a workers’ strike in 1980, it was shut down and no longer used after being built solely by Siemens. The line will be restored and put back into service by 2025 if a current project goes forward.
Beginning in 1847 with the establishment of Siemens & Halske as a manufacturer of electrical equipment, railway vehicles and household appliances, the history of railroads began. Werner Siemens and Johann Halske were the company’s founders.
In order to expand their business, they purchased 494 acres of land north-east of Berlin in 1897, totaling more than 200 hectares. For the benefit of their employees’ social and cultural well-being, the company constructed not only a new production facility but also a research center and residential settlements nearby.
Siemensstadt was the name given to this new neighborhood, which by 1927 had around 55,000 residents. However, because so few employees lived close to the workplace, getting to and from work was a major inconvenience. This is why Siemens built a train station on-site for the convenience of its workers.
Over 200 hectares (494 acres) of land was acquired north-east of Berlin in 1897 as part of their business expansion. Besides the new production facility, they also constructed a research center and residential settlements complete with all the necessary social and cultural amenities for their employees.
About 55,000 people lived in Siemensstadt by 1927, when it was given the name of Siemensstadt. However, because so few employees lived nearby, commuting was a major issue. As a result, Siemens decided to construct its own railway station in order to allow its employees to arrive at work more quickly.
The Siemensstadt-Fürstenbrunn station was built in 1905 as part of the Hamburg and Lehrter Bahn, and it became operational in the same year. Employees loved this station, but it quickly became overcrowded when it came time to change shifts.
There were simply too many employees for Siemens to stagger the start and end times of their shifts, and a new solution had to be found.
When World War I broke out, plans to improve transportation were put on hold, and the era of inflation began, delaying things even more. In 1925, Siemens and Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft found a way to expand the route (DGR).
Siemens agreed to finance the project with DGR’s supervision and then take over management of it in April 1927, signing a contract in the process. The building process began in 1927 and was completed in 1929. At Jungfernheide station, a branch of the Ringbahn was available for people to take to get to Gartenfield.
There were 400 government and press representatives in attendance at the official opening of the new Siemensbahn railway line on December 13, 1929. It was jokingly suggested by DGR’s General Director that Siemens had given his company an early Christmas present because Siemens had paid 14 million reichsmarks to build the railway, while DGR was only paying three million.
It took five days after the official opening ceremony for the government to get down to work. Taking the new route from Jungfernheide to Gartenfeld in less than 10 minutes was made possible thanks to the new route.
Siemens had approximately 90,000 employees who commuted to work via train, with 17,000 of those employees taking advantage of the rail service. Weekend excursions to Tegel Forest were popular among Siemens employees and members of the general public alike.
Transportation by train was severely constrained and many lines were destroyed during World War II. The Spree Bridge was bombed and Soviet troops demolished parts of the route, making it impassable. Service could be resumed in September 1945, but there were significant restrictions.
Damaged lines were gradually repaired over time. As part of the Spree Bridge reconstruction in 1954, Siemans provided steel. However, the route was not fully operational again until the end of 1956.
Siemens had already relocated its headquarters to Munich, so there were fewer travelers by this point. Over time, this was one of Berlin’s least-used routes. The frequency of service was reduced from every five minutes to every 20 minutes due to the use of older trains that were less reliable.
East and West Berlin were separated by a wall on August 13, 1961. Consequently, the number of passengers dropped even more. It was ten years after the Wall went up that the number of passengers on the line was 75 percent lower than it had been before. West Berliners went on a strike, which resulted in a lot of trains running with no passengers.
Trains and other services were cut back as well as jobs were cut as a result of this decrease in passengers. In September 1980, the Siemensbahn came to an end after a ten-day strike by workers. In 1980, the railway line was shut down.
No maintenance was done on the track systems or railway stations after the line was taken out of service. The railway line deteriorated and the tracks became overgrown and decayed as a result of this neglect.
Siemensstadt, on the other hand, was one of six modernist housing estates to be granted World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2008 because of Siemens’ use of renowned architects to construct innovative buildings for its employees.
This year, Siemens opened an R&D facility in Simensstadt and stated that it would be interested in reopening the railway line. A 2025 target date has been set by Siemens and the Berlin Senate in order to reopen the rail line and its stations.
Determine which sections and stations can be saved and rebuilt by surveyors hired by the city of New York City. There’s also the issue of the Spree Bridge, which was largely dismantled a few years ago when the river was straightened so that larger ships could access it.
Additionally, a new route may be developed, bringing the Siemensbahn to a new level of service.
Alexandr and his LiveJournal account are to be commended for sharing these stunning images of this location.
When Alex isn’t writing about his home country, you can find him writing about other places. You can see more of his photos from this location in an article he’s written about it. Check out his Facebook page and his LiveJournal account.
Derelict Siemensbahn Railway
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