|Line number:||6032 Anhalter Bf–Schöneberg
|Voltage:||750 V DC|
The Wannsee Railway (German: Wannseebahn) is a suburban railway in Berlin running from Potsdamer Platz via the Ring line station of Schöneberg to Wannsee station on Großer Wannsee, a lake after which it is named. Today it is a section of the Berlin S-Bahn line S1.
The original section of the Wannsee Railway was built in 1874 and branched off at Zehlendorf from the Potsdam trunk line and rejoined the line at the current Griebnitzsee station. After the opening of the Lichterfelde West station on the trunk line in 1872 to serve the new suburb of mansions only (villa colony, German: Villenkolonie) of Lichterfelde-West, the new emerging suburbs of Schlachtensee, Wannsee and Düppel sought their own rail connection.
The official opening of the extension was made on 1 June 1874. Unlike the new Lichterfelde West station, which was completely financed by the builder of the villa colony, Johann Anton Wilhelm von Carstenn, the planning and construction of the new stations was carried out by the railway company and the Prussian government.
On 1 October 1891, the new Wannsee Railway opened as the first suburban route in Germany, separated from the main line and having its own fare structure. Separate tracks for long-distance and suburban services were built between Potsdamer Bahnhof (near the current Potsdamer Platz station) and Zehlendorf and between Wannsee and Potsdam. To the west of Potsdamer Bahnhof a separate station for Wannsee line services called Wannsee Bahnhof was established.
From 13 July 1900 to 1 July 1902 the first trials of 750 volt direct current electrication with top-contact third rail were carried out between Berlin and Zehlendorf mixed with continued operation of steam trains to Potsdam.
In 1903 services of special trains (later called bankers’ trains, German: Bankierszüge) ran non-stop from Berlin to Zehlendorf. The mixing of stopping and non-stopping trains on the first section of the Wannsee line to Zehlendorf caused problems. Therefore, from 1907 these trains ran on the main line to Zehlendorf, where they switched to the suburban tracks. Between 1911 and 1912 the old at-grade connection to the Wannsee track at Zehlendorf was replaced by a grade-separated crossing.
On 1 March 1933, Schöneberg station opened near the original Ring line station of Ebersstraße to enable interchange with the Ring line. This was previously only possible via a long walk between the stations at Ebersstraße and Kolonnenstraße.
The Wannsee railway was operated until 1933 with steam trains. From 15 May 1933, the 18.61 km long line was converted to electric operation. At the same time new stations were built at Sundgauer Straße and Feuerbachstraße. The 12.06 km length of the mainline tracks between Berlin Potsdamer station and Zehlendorf was also fitted with third rail, for use by the bankers’ trains, which were also modified for electric operation.
After the North-South Tunnel was completed in 1939, the S-Bahn operated through the tunnel for the first time on 6 October on the line from Wannsee to Friedrichstrasse and Oranienburg. The bankers’ trains continued to operate to the Potsdamer mainline station until 1944.
At the end of World War II the north-south tunnel was flooded due to bombing of the ceiling of the tunnel under the Landwehr Canal. There was also damage to the passage under the Spree. The trains of the Wannsee railway had to operate until the summer of 1946 to the above-ground Ring line and suburban stations at Potsdamer Bahnhof; passengers then transferred to the underground Anhalter Bahnhof station to travel further north.
It was only after the complete repair of the tunnel sections allowing continuous operations through the tunnel in November 1947 that Wannsee railway trains resumed services to Oranienburg. After the construction of Berlin Wall in 1961 the line was cut back to Wannsee–Frohnau while trains no longer stopped at the East Berlin underground stations (except for Friedrichstrasse station, which functioned as a border crossing and transfer to the Stadtbahn).
After a strike by West Berlin employees of the East German Railways in 1980 passenger service were not resumed on the Wannsee line. It continued to serve, however, as a connection to the Wannsee depot for the remaining West Berlin S-Bahn trains operating through the north-south tunnel on services between Lichtenrade or Lichterfelde Süd and Heiligensee.
After West Berlin’s takeover of the western S-Bahn network on 9 January 1984 it was decided to put the Wannsee line back in operation. Extensive work was required at stations in particular. It was reopened as line S1 on 1 February 1985. Today, the Wannsee line is again an important link from the south-western residential areas to central Berlin. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall it forms part of the S1 line between Wannsee and Oranienburg. Traffic has increased steadily, so that, in addition to the 10-minute interval basic service, for several years extra services have operated in the peak hour.
- Udo Dittfurth, Michael Braun (2004). Berliner S-Bahn Museum, ed. Die elektrische Wannseebahn: Zeitreisen mit der Berliner S-Bahn durch Schöneberg, Steglitz und Zehlendorf (The Wannsee electric railway: time travel on the Berlin S-Bahn through Schöneberg, Steglitz and Zehlendorf) (in German). Berlin: GVE Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89218-085-2.
- "Berlin-Zehlendorf – Berlin-Wannsee – Griebnitzsee (Wannseebahn)" (in German). beefland. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
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