U-Bhf Oranienstraße (now “Görlitzer Bahnhof”) in 1902, the year the line opened.

On February 18, 1902 the first Hochbahn line, now known as U1, opened for public service in Berlin: Berlin’s U-Bahn network, the heart of the BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe or “Berlin Public Transport Company”) was born. Three days earlier a historic event known as Ministerfahrt (Ministerial Round) took place, marking the official debut of the new transport system.

By now this network stretches over nearly 153 kilometres and covers 174 stations (by the end of 2021 two more are planned to open) placed both under and the over the ground. Siemens & Halske, the company behind the network’s original concept, as well as the great people behind the original Hochbahn/Unterpflasterbahn project (Unterpflaster stands for “sub-pavement”- which explains the name U-Bahn) foresaw this development.

To find out more about the origins and the peculiarities of the original section of this incredible public transport system, take a walking audio-tour of the old eastern Stammstrecke (Core Line) and enjoy “Take The U Train: Berlin’s Oldest Elevated Railway Line Part I” (you can also listen to it at home following the route on Google Streets or on a regular Open Street map).  The audio-tour is available via Voicemaps.

It is a downloadable 120-minute long series of recordings telling the story of the line’s genesis, its designers, engineers as well as critics and supporters, and explaining why its winding viaduct is a marvel of engineering and its stations a thing of beauty even if some of the eastern U1 stops (like “Kottbusser Tor”) might seem uninviting.

Let me take you back in time to the days when none of today’s comforts were obvious and when the arrival of the new city railway line was considered by a blessing by some and by a curse by others. We can safely say that history and time proved the latter group wrong.

You can listen to the audio-tour while walking/driving along today’s U1 line (start at U-Bhf Warschauer Straße and end at U-Bhf “Gleisdreieck”) or you can enjoy it as continuous listening from home or any other location. To download use VoiceMap app (you can listen to the tour while walking with recordings triggered manually or triggering automatically per GPS) or visit their page online.



  1. Congratulations to one and all! The next time I’m in town I hope I remember to purchase this to accompany my U1 ride from end to end. And sidebar: I like that Kotti, and perhaps it’s everything and everybody else around the station that provides great(er) interest for the Kotti. 😉

    • Thank you! It was one of the most complicated things I have done so far, which makes me feel really proud to see it completed:) The technical side of the tour was quite a challenge (steel viaducts and GPS systems do not go together well) but it seems to work. You can also download the tour just to listen to it as a podcast, following the route on the map (or in your photo collection:-)) . Anyway you do it, I would be very happy if you could leave a short review afterwards! Greetings from (frosty) Berlin!

      • It’s like a different kind of “baby”, isn’t it, B? 🙂 I look forward to downloading the tour just to listen to it: I need more “Berlin” in an every day capacity 😀 Congratulations again!

Comments are closed.