Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


After on April 25th, 1945 the whole public transportation system in Berlin came to a halt and the city went up in flames, it was indeed short of a miracle that the first trams, buses and trains could take up their service less than a week after Germany´s surrender.

On May 13th, the same day Berlin´s first Soviet Commander, General Nikolai Bersarin signed an order (Order No. 6) to re-establish the S-Bahn and U-Bahn traffic in Germany´s capital, the first passengers used the bus line – “Linie T” – from Onkel Toms Hüte to Schönow.

The first U-Bahn trains set off on May 14th, 1945 in Neukölln: along one section of the future U7 (then still known as Linie C I) with the service running between the stations Hermannplatz and Bergstrasse. Another fast resurrected line was part of the future U8 (Linie D) from Boddinstrasse to Schönleinstrasse. Due to the devastation inside the tunnels and at the stations themselves, the service on both lines could only be held on single tracks and as a to-and-fro model.

As for the street-trams, the damage done to the network was particularly heavy. Many coaches were used by the residents to build tank barriers in the streets. Understandably, after May 2nd the rolling stock of the tram department was quite badly decimated as well.

Yet, the first trams could pick up their passengers as early as on May 20th. The first tram lines to re-establish their service in Berlin were No. 28 (Tegel to Tegelort), 128 (Tegel to Heiligensee) and 87 (from Elsenstrasse in Treptow to S-Bhf Schöneweide and then to Spittelmarkt in Berlin-Mitte).

The S-Bahn, with its partly pulverised viaducts and many additional damages of varying degrees, needed a bit longer: the first S-Bahn trains started running between the stations Wannsee and Schöneberg along the so called Wannseebahn or the S1 today. It opened on June 6th, 1945, however, the trains ran only twice a day: in the morning and again in the evening.

All in all, the war left Berlin´s transportation system in ruins, too: the lines were damaged in 437 places, 144 underground stations and tunnels suffered direct hits, the same happened in 33 cases along the elevated lines. Almost all Berlin buses were gone: first they were seized by the Nazi authorities to deliver goods and transport German troops between the front posts. Later, whatever was left of the 980 vehicles (BVG bus stock in 1939) after the Battle of Berlin, was sequestered by the Soviets and moved to the USSR or they ended up in Bavaria. In May 1945 Berlin had 18 working buses left.

The photo below, showing a young woman on a (most probably) S-Bahn train, was taken somewhere in Berlin soon after the war´s end. Its author was a well-known German photo-journalist Gerhard Baatz.

gerd baatz woman on the s-bahn 1945 or 1946


  1. auntyuta
    May 5, 2015

    Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
    Very interesting about the transport system in Berlin shortly after the end of the war. Thanks for sharing!

    • notmsparker
      May 5, 2015

      Thank you, Uta! I am quite sure Peter and you tell us so much more about it. That would be a great topic for your blogs, wouldn´t it? And we could learn from your experience much more than I have from the books and sites I used.

  2. The Emu
    May 5, 2015

    Interesting reading your historical accounts Uta, they disclose a part of post war that is not usually read about, you show the personal side, well done.


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