CEREMONIES were held in Berlin on September 9 to mark the start of work on the German capital’s future central station. Transport Minister Matthias Wissmann, Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen, DB Chairman Dr Johannes Ludewig and Thyssen AG Chairman Dr Ekkehard Schulz laid the foundation stone for the new Lehrter Bahnhof.

Costed at DM800m, the station is now scheduled to open in 2003. It will be served by the existing east-west Stadtbahn which reopened in May after a major upgrading and the four-track north-south tunnel now under construction across the city. The station is also designed as a terminus for the proposed Transrapid maglev line to Hamburg - should it ever be built.

Covering an area of 70000 m2, with rail, metro, light rail and bus services on five levels, the Lehrter Bahnhof lies at the heart of Berlin’s massive Pilzkonzept (RG 5.97 p379). Ludewig says it will become the rail crossroads of Europe, with international services envisaged to most major cities in western, eastern and central Europe. By 2010 the station is expected to be handling 50 million long-distance and 86 million regional passengers a year.

The first 705m bored tunnel section for the north-south link was holed through on August 24, between the Reichstag and Lenne-Dreieck, under the city’s Tiergarten. DB Project GmbH Knoten Berlin plans to bore 1·2 km of the 3·5 km tunnelled section on the 9 km link, costed at DM4bn. o