When this image was taken (2006), Ostkreuz had hardly changed since the 1920s (see article). This view faces eastward along Platform D, with Platform F visible above the train
|Location||Friedrichshain, Rummelsburg, Berlin
|Opened||7 February 1882|
Berlin Ostkreuz (German for "East Crossing") is a station on the Berlin S-Bahn suburban railway and the busiest interchange station in Berlin. It is in the former East Berlin district of Friedrichshain, now part of the borough of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. A smaller part of the station is in Rummelsburg, part of the borough of Lichtenberg. The station is a Turmbahnhof (“tower station”, that is a two-level interchange) with the Berlin–Frankfurt (Oder) railway (“Lower Silesian–Markish Railway”) and the Prussian Eastern Railway on the lower level and the Berlin Ringbahn on the upper level. It is used by a total of around 100,000 passengers every day on nine lines, entering or leaving.
The station has been undergoing complete reconstruction since 2006 while train operations at the station have continued. Work under the current plans was original projected to be completed by 2016, but it has been delayed and it is now expected to be completed in 2018. While in the past it was exclusively used as a Berlin S-Bahn station, with the completion of the current work, it will also be a stopping point for regional services.
A railway crossing point in the area later called Ostkreuz was created in 1871 with the commissioning of the Ringbahn which crossed the tracks here of the Lower Silesian–Markish Railway, which was opened 1842, and the Eastern Railway, which was extended to Belin in 1867. In 1872 this crossing was supplemented by two connecting curves from the Ringbahn to the tracks towards the city. At this time, however, there was no station and the trains ran on all lines without stopping.
With the commissioning of the Berlin Stadtbahn in 1882, platform A was built between the connecting curves, this went into operation on 7 February. The station was called Stralau-Rummelsburg. Two other platforms, B and C, were opened in 1896 on the outer sides of the two connecting curves. In 1900 and 1901, the station complex was rebuilt and then extended. The trains of the Ringbahn have stopped at Stralau-Rummelsburg since 1 May 1903, when platform F was added. In the same year platforms were developed on the suburban lines to and from Lichtenberg (Eastern Railway, platform D, opened on 1 October), and to and from Erkner (Silesian Railway, platform E, opened on 18 April).
Renovation work was carried out from 1923 to designs by Richard Brademann. A pedestrian bridge was built over platforms D and E with exits to Hauptstraße and Sonntagstraße and buildings for selling tickets at both ends. Electrical equipment was gradually added in 1928 and 1929 and in the following year Berlin S-Bahn services started.
On 15 March 1933, the station was renamed Ostkreuz, following the renaming of Westkreuz a few years earlier. According to the Germania plan of the Nazis for the reconstruction of Berlin as capital of the Third Reich, a major station would have been built at Ostkreuz as the Ostbahnhof (east station). The planned nine mainline platforms would have been east of the Ringbahn. The S-Bahn services would have used three low-level platforms instead of two platforms and another new platform was intended as a replacement for platform A on the connecting curve from the city to the southern Ringbahn.
In the Second World War, the station area was severely damaged by bombing. Nevertheless, from June 1945, the operation of trains was gradually resumed. The two S-Bahn tracks of the Silesian Railway were dismantled after the end of the Second World War for war reparations, so with the reconstruction of the S-Bahn line (initially as a single track) in January 1948, trains stopped at a temporary platform on the mainline tracks.
The outer platforms on the northern and southern connecting curve to the Ringbahn were closed in 1966 due to structural defects and were later demolished. Scheduled passenger services ended on the northern Ringbahn curve in 1994. Until May 2006, the northern curve was occasionally used even for stock transfers and excursions. Then the tracks were removed gradually during the reconstruction.
Rebuilding the station
The station was greatly in need of renovation for decades and was not capable of handling peak hour traffic partly due to its narrow stairs. For a long time there proposals to restructure it in order to make the stairs and passages more usable. In the mid-1950s, the Berliner Zeitung surveyed its readers for ideas to improve the situation. As a result, Deutsche Reichsbahn announced in early 1956 that the stairs from the Ringbahn platform to the low-level platform D would be widened by one metre. However, a complete renovation of the station would be necessary after this "small solution" was carried out. Planning for more extensive remodelling continued. In 1957, the construction of a second Ringbahn platform west of the existing platform to relieve congestion was considered. In 1959, it was announced that the reconstruction of the railway station would begin in 1962 or 1963. This would involve the construction of a six metre-wide tunnel below the lower platforms to connect with both the station’s entrance hall and the broad steps down from the lower platforms. Provision was made for the construction of escalators. It was expected to cost 7.5 million marks. In 1986, Erich Honecker announced the beginning of the "complex reconstruction" of the Ostkreuz S-Bahn junction for the period up to 1990.
The Reichsbahn ultimately failed to implement this scheme because of its complexity and high cost. No major changes occurred at the station for decades and it was referred to ironically as Rostkreuz ("Rusty Crossing").It is now partially protected as a monument, so that compromises to preserve the historic buildings have had to be made to the proposed redevelopment of the station complex.
Concrete plans for rebuilding Ostkreuz station were included in a project for "improving the Berlin railway node" after German reunification. This project was classified in the federal railway development act (Bundesschienenwegeausbaugesetz) as an “absolute priority" and it aimed to improve the performance of the networks of the long-distance, regional and S-Bahn railways in Berlin and to improve urban transport significantly.
The project includes not only the actual Ostkreuz station, but also the railway tracks running west–east between Ostbahnhof and Nöldnerplatz and Rummelsburg, including the rebuilding of Warschauer Straße station, and the tracks running north–south to Treptower Park Station.
Almost all of the works at Ostkreuz will have been rebuilt by the end of construction, but it is being carried out while trains continue to operate and it will therefore take up to ten years. All major facilities of the station, such as platforms, stairs, bridges and rail tracks, are being rebuilt or built from new. Among other things, twelve lifts and 17 escalators are being installed and new improvements are being made to entrances paths from all four surrounding neighbourhoods.
On 30 October 2006, the Federal Railway Authority gave planning approval for the first stage of the project. On 19 September 2012, the planning approval was issued for the second stage. This mainly comprises the railway infrastructure along Hauptstraße to Schlichtallee including the southern overpass over Karlshorster Straße.
Prior to the rebuilding, the trains on the line to Erkner stopped at one platform and the trains on the lines to Strausberg, Ahrensfelde and Wartenberg via Lichtenberg stopped at another platform. In future, the two lower platforms will each be served by train running in the same direction. The northern platform will be served by all trains running towards the city centre, while the southern platform will be used by trains running in the opposite direction. For this purpose, a bridge structure will be built east of the platforms at the intersection of the Erkner and Lichtenberg lines. The platforms are being moved a bit to the east to be under the Ringbahn platforms.
The Ringbahn platform has been rebuilt at the old location, but it is now much wider and has been given a train shed.
After completion of the work, line S9 from Berlin Brandenburg Airport will return to its 2009 route, but it will no longer stop at Ostkreuz. Line S9 formerly used the wedge-shaped platform A, but this will not be replaced.
Regional platforms are planned in the low-level part of the station on both the Silesian railway (south of the S-Bahn) for trains running east–west and as the terminus of the Eastern Railway (north of the S-Bahn). In addition, a regional platform is being built on the Ringbahn in the high-level part of the station.
Originally a 132 metre-long train shed was planned for the regional platform of the Ringbahn. Instead, a normal canopy is to be built due to the comparatively small rail service that will use this platform.
Provision has been made for the building of a section of tunnel below the rail tracks for the planned extension of the Berlin city ringroad (construction phase 17). This is 130 metres-long and consists of 3,000 m² of reinforced concrete floor, supported by 20 to 30 metres-deep diaphragm walls. As a result, it will be possible to build the road tunnel without further interruption of rail traffic.
The tram line that now runs on Boxhagener Straße will in future run directly to Ostkreuz and stop in the northern area under the Ringbahn platform. The aim is to shorten the transfer times and to stimulate feeder traffic from the surrounding residential areas. However, a separate planning approval process is still required for this. The commissioning of the new line is planned for 2016. New tram route 22 is to be established on this tram line as far as Kosanke-Siedlung (southeast of Berlin-Rummelsburg station).
There are plans to extend U-Bahn line U1 to Ostkreuz. This would increase the significance of Ostkreuz as a major hub. U1 could thus become a major east-west line, which would connect large parts of Kreuzberg to the eastern Ringbahn. The project would be realised after 2020.
Pre-construction work began in the spring and summer of 2006 with the demolition of old buildings and the removal of vegetation. The symbolic ground-breaking ceremony was scheduled for 16 January 2007 but it had to be postponed. Construction started with the building of a bridge for Kynaststraße, running to the east of the station over the railway tracks. In February 2008, a temporary pedestrian bridge was installed connecting the entrances of the station with platforms D and E. It replaced the old heritage-listed bridge, which had to be demolished for the construction, but will be faithfully recreated after the completion of the railway station.
The old platform F on the Ringbahn was partly taken out of service on 31 August 2009 and it was fully closed on September 11. The tracks of the Ringbahn were pivoted towards the provisional regional platform. The concourse for the S-Bahn tracks of the Ringbahn was completed in late 2011 and the station shell was commissioned on 16 April 2012. Regional services on the Ringbahn were due to commence in December 2014, but because of slow work they are now expected to be commissioned at the end of 2015.
In May 2013, the newly constructed platform Rn1 was put into operation. It is being used by S-Bahn services for the next three years during the construction. Later it will serve as a regional platform for services on the Eastern Railway. Platform D, which was taken out of service at the same time, is being rebuilt.
Provision has been made for the planned extension of the Berlin city ring road (A100), with a section of tunnel built under the tracks of the eastern extension of the Stadtbahn completed in the spring of 2012.
According to its medium-term planning of Deutsche Bahn (DB) in April 2007, €62.6 million would be invested in the project by 2010. The investment proposed for 2010 in the federal transport infrastructure plan (Investitionsrahmenplan bis 2010 für die Verkehrsinfrastruktur des Bundes) provided for the expenditure of €143.1 million on the project (2006 costs). By 2005, a total of €9.6 million had been spent on it. Between 2006 and 2010, federal funding of €75.2 million will be invested in it. Beyond this period there was to be a financial contribution of €58.4 million (federal funding from 2011, DB funding and third-party contributions since 2006).
The cost was estimated to be €411 million in 2006. In 2013 the planned cost of the overall project (including the recinstruction of Warschauer Straße station) was set at €411 million, including an additional €6 million for new work at Ostbahnhof.
The roof of the upper regional platform is being funded by the government of Berlin with €1.5 million from funds for overcoming the operational constraints of the Berlin S-Bahn.
The work carried out to enable the extension of the A 100, costing €16 million, was financed by the federal government.
Ostkreuz Station includes several platforms, some of which are no longer in use or have been dismantled.
- Platform A
This triangular platform is on an embankment west of platforms D and E between the curved lines connecting the Stadtbahn with the Ringbahn. The northern curve was already disused and the two curves were dismantled during the reconstruction from the autumn of 2009. The southern curve has been restored but without a platform.
- Platforms B and C
The S-Bahn platforms were located on the outsides of the connecting curves. Platform B was on the track connecting the Stadtbahn to the northern Ringbahn, while platform C was on the southern curve connecting towards Treptower Park. They were removed respectively in 1970 and 1978 due to their dilapidation. After that, trains ran from the northern or southern Ringbahn without stopping, while trains running in the opposite direction from both the northern and southern Ringbahn continued to stop at one side or the other of platform A.
- Platform D
This S-Bahn platform is located at street level on the S-Bahn tracks running east-west on the Eastern Railway to/from Lichtenberg. To the west the tracks connect to the Stadtbahn. The old platform D was taken out of service on 8 May 2013 and was subsequently rebuilt.
- Platform E
This S-Bahn platform is also located at street level and parallel to platform D on the S-Bahn tracks of the Silesian Railway to/from Erkner. To the west the tracks connect to the Stadtbahn.
- Platform F
This S-Bahn platform of the Ringbahn was originally located on a bridge over the tracks of the Stadtbahn and was orientated north–south. It was demolished in the course of the renovation after the opening of the regional platform on the Ringbahn in 2009. By 2011, the railway bridges, the platform and a platform hall had been built. The platform was taken into operation on 16 April 2012.
- Regional platform on the Ringbahn (Ro)
This platform with the Deutsche Bahn internal abbreviation of Ro (standing for Regionalbahnsteig oben, “regional platform upper”) was built in 2009 as a regional platform on the Ringbahn. Until 30 March 2012, it was used temporarily by S-Bahn services, then it was taken out of service and it is being converted for its permanent purpose so that it can be brought back into use by the end of 2015.
- Regional platform on the Eastern Railway (Rn1)
The first of two planned regional platforms on the Prussian Eastern Railway was built from 2012 and became operational on 13 May 2013. Since the time of its construction it has been used by S-Bahn trains.
On the Stadtbahn level north of platform D there is a siding from the mainline tracks of the Eastern Railway to the Berlin Warschauer Straße factory of Talgo. South of platform E are the mainline tracks of the Silesian railway. A connection to the Rummelsburg depot is currently closed for the reconstruction work.
Immediately south of the station is a 50 metre-high water tower. This was built from 1909 to 1912 to the design of Karl Cornelius and served to supply water to the many steam locomotives running from Ostkreuz. Its round trunk is veneered with bricks that are glazed violet. A cylindrical pressure-resistant water tank sits on this; it holds 400 cubic metres and is fully integrated with the roof. The steep pitched roof and the slated polygonal dome exhibit the influence of Art Nouveau. The water tower is now a symbol of Ostkreuz and a highly visible building. It is listed as a monument.
Rail officials’ house
A two-storey residence for railway officials with a hipped roof was built in 1910 in the triangle between the curve to the north Ringbahn, the Stadtbahn and the Ringbahn. Since 1995, it has been listed along with large parts of the station. Its attic burned down in 1998. An outline application by Deutsche Bahn in 2008 for the development of the site was rejected by the conservation authorities. After receiving no undertakings from Deutsche Bahn to protect it, the heritage protection authority adopted an order in March 2010 requiring measures to protect the building from the penetration of rain water and the effects of storms and vandalism. In November 2010, Deutsche Bahn began work for the conservation of the house. The building was completely surrounded by scaffolding and given a solid metal canopy. The repair of the officials’ house is not expected before the end of construction at the station because it would not be practical to use the house during the construction.
There are several restaurants and pubs around Ostkreuz, mainly in Sonntagstraße, that make the area northwest of Ostkreuz a major entertainment destination in Friedrichshain. From 2000 to 2006, under the URBAN II initiative of the European Union, work was carried out in the Ostkreuz neighbourhood. This includes the transformation of wasteland between Persiusstraße, Laskerstraße and Markgrafendamm to Bürgergarten Laskerwiese, one of the neighbourhood Intercultural Gardens in Berlin.
In addition, bus routes 194, 347 and N94, operated by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, stop at the entrance from Hauptstraße/Markgrafendamm.
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- Neues Deutschland. 4 July 1959. Missing or empty
|title=(help), quoted in Mario Walinowski (2005). Züge der Berliner S-Bahn, "Das Blaue Wunder" (in German). Berlin: GVE-Verlag. p. 80. ISBN 3-89218-170-5.
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- Andreas Butter, Hans-Joachim Kirsche und Erich Preuß: Berlin Ostkreuz – Die Drehscheibe des S-Bahn-Verkehrs, Geramond Verlag, München, 2000, ISBN 3-932785-24-X
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Berlin Ostkreuz station.|
- www.stadtschnellbahn-berlin.de - Information about Ostkreuz and reconstruction plans
- Ostkreuz rebuilding blog (in German)
- Ostkreuz guide - Photos of Ostkreuz
- Umgebungsplan - S-Bahn Berlin neighborhood map
|Preceding station||Berlin S-Bahn||Following station|
toward Ringbahn (clockwise)
toward Ringbahn (counter-clockwise)
toward Strausberg Nord
toward Potsdam Hbf
|(move not since winter 2009)|
toward Flughafen Schönefeld