Germany has a comprehensive railway network, and if you’re planning to move around the country without a car during the World Cup Finals, you’re best bet is undoubtedly the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways).
The railway scene in Berlin is changing. Throughout the post-war and Cold War period, the city has never really had one railway station it could call the ‘main’ station. Now they are building one. Lehrter Bahnhof is due to be fully opened by 2006 and will become the main station for the whole city. Located adjacent to the government quarter, it’s only a mile or two from the heart of the city, and is sure to become a major transport hub for Berlin.
In the meantime, there are several stations that you might come into, if you arrive in Berlin by train:
Immortalised in the English-speaking rock world by U2’s track ‘Zoo Station’ on their 1991 album ‘Achtung Baby’, Zoo Bahnhof was for years the main transport hub of West Berlin.
Today, most long distance trains stop at Zoologischer Garten. The famous Kurfürstendamm shopping street is just around the corner, as is one of the city’s main tourist sights, the Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) and a major tourist information centre in the Europa Centre.
Known during the pre-unification days as ‘Hauptbahnhof Berlin’ (Berlin Main Railway Station), Ostbahnhof (East Station) is located in the Friedrichshain area of the city in the former easter sector. Most long distance trains stop here, so it’s a more convenient station than Zoo if youa are staying anywhere to the east of Friedrichstrasse and Alexanderplatz.
A fairly new station that might be your first port of call if you are coming into Berlin from Hamburg or Hanover, two of the other World Cup 2006 venues. Spandau is out to the north west of the city, and well-placed for the Olympic Stadium.
Schönefeld Airport Station
Located next to the airport in the south east of the city, the station is a main destination for intercity trains from places such as Leipzig, another of the 2006 host cities.