Frankfurt U-Bahn

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Frankfurt U-Bahn
Underground station Westend on Lines U6 & U7.
Owner RMV
Locale Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Transit type Rapid transit/Light rail[1]
Number of lines 9[2]
Number of stations 86[2]
Daily ridership 321,000 (2012)[2]
Annual ridership 117.3 million (2012)[2]
Website VGF
Began operation 4 October 1968[3]
Operator(s) Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt (VgF)
Character Mostly underground, with significant sections at-grade (including at-grade intersections), with some street running (U5 line)
Train length 50–105 metres (164–344 ft)
Headway 5-15 minutes (daytime)
System length 64.9 km (40.3 mi)[2]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(standard gauge)
Top speed 80 km/h (50 mph)
System map
U-Bahnnetz Frankfurt

The Frankfurt U-Bahn, together with the Rhine-Main S-Bahn and the Frankfurt Straßenbahn, forms the backbone of the public transport system of Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany. Its name derives from the German term for underground, Untergrundbahn. Since 1996, the U-Bahn has been owned and operated by Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt (VgF), the public transport company of Frankfurt, and is part of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) transit association.

The U-Bahn opened in 1968,[3] and has been expanded several times. It consists of three inner-city tunnels and above-ground lines in the suburbs. About 59% of the track length is underground.[citation needed] The above-ground sections operate at different standards from traditional rapid transit systems due to the independent expansion of at-grade rail for those sections – they are more like light rail[1] (Stadtbahn) due to their not being fully grade-separated.[4]

The network consists of 86 stations on nine lines, with a total length of 64.85 kilometres (40.30 mi).[2] Eight of the nine lines travel through the city center (line U9 being the exception). In 2012, the U-Bahn carried 117.3 million passengers,[2] an average of approximately 321,000 passengers per day.


Planning began in the 1950s to replace the overburdened streetcars with a more robust public transit system. The various local political parties put forward plans for a full U-Bahn, a streetcar system with an underground section downtown (i.e. a Stadtbahn), and an elevated railway, respectively. Eventually politics, in the form of the 1964 municipal election, resolved the issue in favor of the U-Bahn project that began as a light rail/Stadtbahn network using tunnels in Frankfurt's city core, but which in the future would be transformed into a fully rapid transit U-Bahn network.[citation needed]

The U-Bahn opened on 4 October 1968, with the underground route from Hauptwache to Nordweststadt.[3]

Soon after the opening, there was criticism of the design of gradual network expansion because the separated by fencing aboveground sections and the adjacent tunnel ramps cut the affected neighborhoods. Moreover, soon showed that the tunnel ramps planned in the Eschersheimer Landstraße and the Friedberger Anlage, unlike originally remained no temporaries, but had to be operated for decades. Therefore, they went in the 1970s through to build the tunnel equal with their final planned length. Where a further construction was not possible until the planned end state, ended rail lines temporarily underground stations. 1974 was the second underground route from Theaterplatz to Konstablerwache in operation, which was extended in 1978 and 1980, the main train station to Bornheim.

With the commissioning of the third main line of Bockenheim to the zoo in the autumn of 1986 the inner-city tunnel network was largely completed. The inauguration was accompanied by violent protests against the concept seemed free downtown. Unlike originally planned, the remaining tram lines were not shut down in the old town, but continue to operate and later even expanded. This was followed by many years, partly dogmatically guided local political disputes on the further expansion of the subway. After the local elections of 2005, the new black-green coalition in Romans stopped the construction-planning for the construction of the so-called DII-distance from Bockenheim to Ginnheim and told to build no further subway lines more.

Since summer 2008, the route network is also expanded again. Since this time, the previously pure tunnel U4 operates from its former end point at the Seckbacher Landstraße in Frankfurt-Bornheim further to Enkheim, which uses existing tracks over the operation depot East. As being last enlargement was followed in December 2010, the commissioning of the U8 and U9 for Riedberg. Construction of the extension in 2011 adopted the U5 from the main station in the European Quarter is scheduled to begin in 2015 and last at least until of 2019.

Current routes[edit]

The U-Bahn consists of nine lines, U1 to U9, running on three primary sections based on the three tunnels, with a shorter fourth section in the suburbs:

Section Line Route Stations
(and D)
U1Frankfurt U1.svg Ginnheim - Römerstadt - Nordwestzentrum - Hauptwache - Willy-Brandt-Platz - Südbahnhof 20
A U2Frankfurt U2.svg Bad Homburg-Gonzenheim - Ober-Eschbach - Nieder-Eschbach - Bonames - Hauptwache - Willy-Brandt-Platz - Südbahnhof 21
A U3Frankfurt U3.svg Oberursel-Hohemark - Oberursel - Niederursel - Hauptwache - Willy-Brandt-Platz - Südbahnhof 28
(and C+D)
U4Frankfurt U4.svg Enkheim - Schäfflestraße - Seckbacher Landstraße - Bornheim - Konstablerwache -
Willy-Brandt-Platz - Hauptbahnhof - Festhalle/Messe - Bockenheimer Warte
B U5Frankfurt U5.svg Preungesheim - Eckenheim - Hauptfriedhof - Konstablerwache - Willy-Brandt-Platz - Hauptbahnhof 16
C U6Frankfurt U6.svg Heerstraße - Bockenheimer Warte - Hauptwache - Konstablerwache -
C U7Frankfurt U7.svg Hausen - Bockenheimer Warte - Hauptwache - Konstablerwache - Eissporthalle -
Hessen-Center - Enkheim
(and D)
U7Frankfurt U8.svg Riedberg - Niederursel - Hauptwache - Willy-Brandt-Platz - Südbahnhof 19
(and A)
U7Frankfurt U9.svg Nieder-Eschbach - Riedberg - Niederursel - Nordwestzentrum - Römerstadt - Ginnheim 12
Frankfurt U-Bahn network map showing Sections A, B, C.


  • U1 Class: 1966 - 1976
  • U2 Class: 1968 - present
    Deployable to U4 & U6
  • U3 Class: 1980 - present
    Deployable to U6
  • U4 Class: 1994 - present
    Deployable to U1, U2, U3, U8 & U9
  • U5 Class: 2009 - present
    Deployable to U1, U2, U3, U4, U6, U7, U8 & U9
  • Pt-Class: 1979 - present
    As a tramway, it is deployed to U5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Taplin, Michael (March 2013). "Home > World Systems List index > World List F-J - Germany (DE)". Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA). Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "ZAHLENSPIEGEL 2012" [STATISTICS 2012] (PDF) (in German). vgF. December 31, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  3. ^ a b c "History - The history of local public passenger transport in Frankfurt". vgF. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 
  4. ^ Schwandl, Robert. "FRANKFURT am Main". Retrieved 2014-07-27. The Frankfurt "U-Bahn" is not a real metro, but rather a typical German Stadtbahn (like that of Stuttgart, Dortmund or Hanover), i.e. some sections in the city centre were built to full metro standards, whereas others along outer sections have level crossings, in the case of line U5 even some on-street running. 
  • Jens Krakies, Frank Nagel, Stadt Frankfurt am Main (Hrsg.): Stadtbahn Frankfurt am Main: Eine Dokumentation. 2. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-923907-03-6, S. 23–42. (Standardwerk zur U-Bahn und ihrer Baugeschichte)
  • Dieter Höltge, Günter H. Köhler: Straßen- und Stadtbahnen in Deutschland. 2. Auflage. 1: Hessen, EK-Verlag, Freiburg 1992, ISBN 3-88255-335-9, S. 23–42. (Alle ehemaligen und bestehenden Straßenbahnbetriebe in Hessen, außerdem ein Kapitel zur Frankfurter U-Bahn, die 2. Auflage besitzt einen Anhang mit Aktualisierungen)
  • Hans-Werner Schleife, Günter Götz: Lexikon Metros der Welt. Geschichte, Technik, Betrieb. transpress, Berlin/Stuttgart 1985. ISBN 3-613-01068-2 (101 U-Bahn-Betriebe der Welt, einschl. Beschreibung des Frankfurter Betriebs)
  • Walter Söhnlein, Jürgen Leindecker: Die Frankfurter Lokalbahn und ihre Elektrischen Taunusbahnen. GeraMond, München 2000. ISBN 3-932785-04-5 (Die U-Bahn ist nicht zentraler Gegenstand des Buches, als Nachfolgerin der Lokalbahnstrecken wird die Entwicklung der A-Strecken jedoch ausführlich beschrieben)
  • Thomas Hanna-Daoud (Red.): Nahverkehr in Frankfurt. Trambahn, U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Omnibus, Eisenbahn. Strassenbahn-Nahverkehr special. Nr. 7. GeraMond, München 2000. ISBN 3-89724-010-6 (Sonderheft des bekannten ÖPNV-Magazins zu allen Frankfurter ÖV-Netzen)
  • Magistrat der Stadt Frankfurt am Main Stadtbahnbauamt (Hrsg.): Die C-Strecke der U-Bahn Frankfurt am Main. Stadtbahnbauamt, Frankfurt am Main 1986. (Informationen über Planung, Bau und Architektur der C-Strecke in Wort und Bild)
  • Stadt Frankfurt am Main (Hrsg.): Gesamtverkehrsplan Frankfurt am Main. Ergebnisbericht 2004 (pdf). (Studie im Auftrag des Stadtplanungsamts zur zukünftigen Entwicklung Frankfurter Verkehrsnetze)
  • Stadt Frankfurt am Main (Hrsg.): Inbetriebnahme der U-Bahn. Übergabe der Hauptwache und Eröffnung des Nordwestzentrums. Publizität des Presse- und Informationsamts, Frankfurt am Main 1969.

External links[edit]