Hamburg, Germany

From nycsubway.org


Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and the second largest port in Europe. Hamburg, like most German cities, has an extensive rail and bus system. A majority of the commuter rail lines, as well as the DB Intercity trains, all find their way to the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (Central Rail Station). The Hauptbahnhof itself has a marvelous glass arched ceiling and it is the major transportation hub for the city. All three of the U Bahn lines meet at the Hauptbahnhof (U1, U2, U3), and several S Bahn lines (S1, S2, S3, S11, S21, S31) also converge at the busy station. Hamburg also has several regional rail lines that are powered by diesel engines that either pull or push a variety of single level or bilevel coaches. Naturally these lines (R70, R10, R20, R30, R40, R50) all find their way to the Haupbahnhof. At one point Hamburg had several tram lines that traversed the streets, but regrettably the last line was closed in 1978. The Hamburg Strassenbahns (street cars) were unique because they utilized trolley poles, as opposed to pantographs that can be found on top of most trams in Germany and Europe.

Another rail station that must be noted is the Damtor Hauptbahnhof. It is located just across the Alster Lake from the main Hauptbahnhof. This is a smaller version of the main station that is located downtown. Damtor can be reached by taking the S Bahn (S11, S21, S31) or the regional (R70, R60) lines. Many DB trains including the ICE stop at this station also. Standing on the platform at Damtor really gives you that true European experience. It has an arched glass roof like the main Hauptbahnhof, and the echoes that this station can produce are a railfan's dream. The echoes include the normal brake-screeching of trains, the loudspeaker announcements, and of course the German DB all aboard conductor's whistle. Damtor can also be reached by taking the U1 line to Stephansplatz, an underground station, and walking along the edge of Planten Un Blomen (Hamburg's Botanical Garden) to the main entrance.

Hamburg is serviced by 3 subway lines, or U Bahn lines. All of these lines run both above and below ground. The above ground portions are either ballasted elevated structures for a more quiet operation, or private tree lined embankments. Hamburg has a mixture of both modern and historic U Bahn stations. The U Bahn as well as the S Bahn fares are on the honor system. A passenger has the choice of several different fare options based on need. The ticket vending machines, all in German, give the rider options of single rides, three hour excursions, all day, etc. A tourist's best value may be the Hamburg Card that can be purchased at most hotels and tourist locations. The Hamburg Card can be for one or three days depending on your length of stay. It is valid on both the U Bahn and S Bahn. If anyone is traveling through Germany with a German Railpass check and see if your Railpass includes the S bahn. All S Bahn trains in all German cities are run by the DB (Deutsche Bahn). If you just want to ride the S Bahns there is no need to pay an extra fare. Unfortunately the U Bahns are not included.

Station By Station


Hamburg's U1 line runs from Nortstedt Mitte to either Ohlstedt or Groshansdorf. The U1 splits apart at Volksdorf. Once the U1 leaves form the Nordstedt Mitte it travels south toward the center city. It does make a stop at Ohlsdorf which is a transfer point for the S1 line and the 110 Airport Express. It is not uncommon to see travelers with suitcase at this station. Hamburg unfortunately does not have a direct rail link to the Airport. The 10 minute bus ride from Ohlsdorf to the Airport is pretty fast and inexpensive. There is also an Airport express bus that goes to the main Hauptbahnhof also. As you continue on the U1 south you reach Kellinghusenstrasse, a transfer point to the U3 line. The U1 continus south to Jungfernstieg which is located at the southern portion of the Binnen Alster or inner Alster. Above this station you will find a picturesque view of the Alster lake as well as many fine shops. If you look across the Binnen Alster you can see several trains crossing the bridge between Damtor and the Hauptbahnhof. If you have the time, a ride on an Alster boat is highly recommended. Not only will you get a great view of the city, but you will get to pass under the railroad bridge as you pass from the Binnen Alster to the Aussen Alster. After Jungfernstieg the U1 travels east toward the Hauptbahnhof and then back up towards the north east past the neighborhood of Wandsbek before it reaches Volksdorf. At Volksdorf the U1 branches off into two lines. Ohlstedt is north and only three stops away, but Groshansdorf is six stops further and runs on a beautiful tree lined right of way. This line, at one point featured double track operation, but has been reduced to a single track operation due to low ridership. It has some two track bypass stations along the way.


The U2 line runs from Niendorf Nord in the Northwest and heads south to the city in much the same way that the U1 does. The U2 comes south a little bit more to the West than the U1. The U2 stops at Hagenbecks Tier Park which is the location of the Hamburg Zoo. This is a popular destination on weekends. As you travel south on the U2 you have a transfer opportunity for the U3 line at Schlump. Schlump is both an underground and outdoor station. The U2 then follows along much the same as the U1 with stops at Jungfernstieg and the Hauptbahnhof. The U2, unlike the U1 and U3, stops at the northern end of the Hauptbahnhof before heading back north east towards its terminus at Wandsbek Gartenstadt. If you don't ride the U2 all the way to the last stop make sure you go at least as far as Barmbek.


The U3 line starts at Barmbek which is a major hub for the Hamburger Hochbahn. At Barmbek you can also transfer to the S1 line. Barmbek in itself is a railfan's delight. At the southern end of the station you can see the U2 and S1 approach the station. At the northern section of the station you can see the HHV's main shops. Depending on which line you take you will get a different view of the shops and outdoor storage tracks. There are several intricate switching layouts and trestles crossing one line to the other. I would compare it to Broadway Junction for those familiar with the New York City Subways. After the U3 leaves Barmbek it heads toward Kellinghusenstrasse and the U1, and then towards Schlump and the U2. The ride between Barmbek and Schlump is a very scenic ride. The elevated portion slips through some treelined streets with some five story houses on both sides. Here you will see some older German architecture that is still intact. The U3 dips underground at Schlump and has an underground stop at St. Pauli which is within walking distance of Hamburg's famous Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn is famous for its bars and adult entertainment. The U3 resurfaces at Landungsbrucken. Landungsbrucken is one of the main tourist destinations in Hamburg. Here you can disembark the U Bahn and take any number of boat tours. If you are adventurous you can head over to the Elbtunnel and take that to the otherside of the Elbe River.

Once you come back up, head to the shore and watch the U3 line snake its way along the harbor front with Hamburg's skyline and Michel (St. Michael's Church as your back drop. The Elbtunnel is quite unique. Cars and pedestrians descend in elevators to the bottom of the tunnel. Both then exit the elevators and walk or drive under the river and take another series of elevators back up to the surface on the otherside.

Now that you have gotten off of the U3 at Landungsbrucken walk along Hamburg's picturesque harbor. You may see fishing boats, tour boats, sail boats, a Mississippi River paddle boat, or even the QM2 may be docked there. As you stroll along towards the Baumwall station you may want to take in some sun, have a cup of coffee or glass of beer, or maybe pick up a souvenir. You can get back on at Baumwall or walk a little further towards Rodingsmarkt. You can get on at Rodingsmarkt and continue your ride. After the U3 leaves Rodingsmarkt it goes back into the subway. If you look out the back of the train you will see the Michel. If you look out the front you can see Hamburg's beautiful Rathaus (City Hall) before you reenter the subway. The U3 makes stops at the Rathaus and Monckebergstrasse (Hamburg's shopping area) before it stops at the southern area of the Hauptbahnhof. The next stop is Berliner Tor which is a transfer point for the U2, S1, S2 & S21 trains. If you get off at this stop you can see all of the lines come to the surface as they criss cross. A wonderful place to take some pictures of trains. The U3 line then heads out to Mummelmannsberg, its eastern terminal.

Photo Gallery

Image 63993
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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Landungsbrücken

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Mundsburg

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Berliner Tor

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Berliner Tor

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Landwehr (S1)

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Baumwall

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Rodingsmarkt

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Lübecker Straße

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Wartenau

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Location: Hasselbrook (S1)

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Location: Hoheluftbrücke

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Location: Rathaus

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Location: Rathaus

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Barmbek (S1)

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Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Barmbek (S1)

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Photos By Location


Norderstedt Mitte, Richtweg, Garstedt, Ochsenzoll, Kiwittsmoor, Langenhorn Nord, Langenhorn Markt, Fuhlsbüttel Nord, Fuhlsbüttel, Klein Borstel, Ohlsdorf, Sengelmannstraße (City Nord), Alsterdorf, Lattenkamp (Sporthalle), Hudtwalckerstraße, Kellinghusenstraße, Klosterstern, Hallerstraße, Stephansplatz, Jungfernstieg, Meßberg, Steinstraße, Hauptbahnhof-Süd, Lohmühlenstraße, Lübecker Straße, Wartenau, Ritterstraße, Wandsbeker Chaussee, Wandsbek Markt, Straßburger Straße, Alter Teichweg, Wandsbek Gartenstadt, Trabrennbahn, Farmsen, Berne, Meiendorfer Weg, Volksdorf, Buckhorn, Hoisbüttel, Ohlstedt, Buchenkamp, Ahrensburg West, Ahrensburg Ost, Schmalenbeck, Kiekut, Großhansdorf


Niendorf Nord, Schippelsweg, Joachim-Mähl-Straße, Niendorf Markt, Hagendeel, Hagenbecks Tierpark (Zoo), Lutterothstraße, Osterstraße, Emilienstraße, Christuskirche, Schlump, Messehallen, Gänsemarkt, Jungfernstieg, Meßberg, Steinstrasse, Hauptbahnhof-Nord, Berliner Tor, Lübecker Straße, Uhlandstraße, Mundsburg, Hamburger Straße, Dehnhaide, Barmbek, Habichtstraße, Wandsbek-Gartenstadt


Barmbek, Saarlandstraße, Borgweg, Sierichstraße, Kellinghusenstraße, Eppendorfer Baum, Hoheluftbrücke, Schlump, Sternschanze, Feldstraße, St. Pauli, Landungsbrücken, Baumwall, Rödingsmarkt, Rathaus, Mönckebergstraße, Hauptbahnhof-Süd, Berliner Tor, Burgstraße, Hammer Kirche, Rauhes Haus, Horner Rennbahn, Legienstraße, Billstedt, Merkenstraße, Steinfurther Allee, Mümmelmannsberg

Page Credits

By Richard Panse.

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