Köln Hauptbahnhof

Köln Hauptbahnhof

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Köln Hauptbahnhof is the central railway station in Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

The station is an important local, national and international hub, with many ICE
InterCityExpress
The Intercity-Express or ICE is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and neighbouring countries. It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn...

, Thalys
Thalys
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

 and Intercity
Intercity (Deutsche Bahn)
Intercity is the second-highest train classification in Germany, after the ICE. Intercity services are loco-hauled express services, usually over long-distances. There are Intercity routes throughout Germany, and routes generally operate with a two-hour frequency, with multiple routes giving a more...

 trains calling there, as well as regional RegionalExpress
RegionalExpress
The term Regional-Express denotes a type of regional train in Germany and Austria .It is best compared to a semi-fast train, as it calls at fewer stations than Regionalbahn or S-Bahn trains, but stops more often than InterCity services...

, RegionalBahn
RegionalBahn
The Regionalbahn is a type of local passenger train in Germany.-Service:Regionalbahn trains usually call at all stations on a given line, with the exception of RB trains within S-Bahn networks, these may only call at selected stations...

 and local S-Bahn trains. EuroNight
EuroNight
EuroNight, abbreviated EN, denotes all main-line national and international night train services within the European inter-city rail network. Unlike the equivalent day-running counterparts EuroCity and InterCity trains, the EuroNight trains tend to run during the nighttime and are equipped with...

 and DB NachtZug
DB NachtZug
City Night Line is a category of night trains in Europe. They were originally operated by the former railway company CityNightLine AG...

 night services also call at the station. It has frequent connections to Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 by way of the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line, which starts in southern Cologne. On an average day, about 280,000 travellers frequent the station, making it fifth busiest station in Germany.

The station is situated next to Cologne cathedral
Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...

.

There is another important train station in Cologne, the Köln Messe/Deutz railway station across the river Rhine, just about 400 metres away from Köln Hauptbahnhof. The stations are linked by the Hohenzollernbrücke
Hohenzollernbrücke
The Hohenzollern Bridge is a bridge crossing the river Rhine in the German city of Cologne. It crosses the Rhine at kilometre 688.5. Originally, the bridge was both a railway and street bridge, however, after its destruction in 1945 and its subsequent reconstruction, it was only accessible to rail...

, a six-track railway bridge with passenger walkways on each side. Frequent local services connect the two stations as well.

History


By 1850 there were five different stations at Cologne railway companies. On the west bank of the Rhine there were the Bonn-Cologne Railway Company  (German, old spelling: Bonn-Cölner Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, BCE), the Cologne-Krefeld Railway Company (German, old spelling: Cöln-Crefelder Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, CCE) and the Rhenish Railway Company
Rhenish Railway Company
The Rhenish Railway Company was along with the Cologne-Minden Railway Company and the Bergisch-Märkische Railway Company one of the railway companies that in the mid-19th century built the first railways in the Ruhr and large parts of today's North Rhine-Westphalia.-Foundation :The...

  (German: Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, RhE). On the east bank there were the Bergisch-Märkische Railway Company (German: Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, BME) and the Cologne-Minden Railway Company
Cologne-Minden Railway Company
The Cologne-Minden Railway Company was along with the Bergisch-Märkische Railway Company and the Rhenish Railway Company one of the railway companies that in the mid-19th century built the first railways in the Ruhr and large parts of today's North Rhine-Westphalia.-Founding :The founding of the...

 (German, old spelling: Cöln-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, CME).
In 1854 a controversial decision was taken to locate a new rail and road bridge next to the cathedral, as a bridge could be connected to the existing freight and temporary passenger station on the banks of the Rhine (Rhine Station at the street of Trankgasse). The city agreed to the proposal in 1857 and made available the ground of the former Botanical garden to the north of the cathedral and on the site of part of the old University of Cologne
University of Cologne
The University of Cologne is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with over 44,000 students, one of the largest universities in Germany. The university is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an association of Germany's leading research universities...

, suppressed by the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1798. The railway track was laid at ground level from the bridge over the Rhine and crossing the street of Eigelstein west of the station at ground level and running through the medieval city wall.

Original station


The original Central Station (German: Centralbahnhof) was built beginning in 1857 to the plans of Hermann Otto Pflaume on behalf of the RhE, which had in the same year acquired the BCE. The station was opened on 5. December 1859 together with the Cathedral Bridge
Cathedral Bridge
The Cathedral Bridge was a railway and street bridge crossing the river Rhine in the German city of Cologne. It was owned by the Cologne-Minden Railway Company and named after the Cologne Cathedral, which is located on the same longitudinal axis...

 (German: Dombrücke, later the site of the Hohenzollernbrücke
Hohenzollernbrücke
The Hohenzollern Bridge is a bridge crossing the river Rhine in the German city of Cologne. It crosses the Rhine at kilometre 688.5. Originally, the bridge was both a railway and street bridge, however, after its destruction in 1945 and its subsequent reconstruction, it was only accessible to rail...

). The Central Station was a combined terminal and through station: it included four terminal tracks for the RhE running to the west, while the CME had two through tracks connected to its line on the eastern side of the Rhine by the Cathedral Bridge.

The central station quickly reached capacity, but the RhE as operator had only limited interest in developing the station, as this would have mainly benefited competing companies. Serious planning for an enlarged station was therefore only taken after the nationalisation of the railways in the 1880s.

New station


For the planning of the new central station two options were considered:
  • Construction of a major railway station in an open area north of Venloer Straße and reclassifying of the original station as a minor station, or
  • Replacement of the central station with a new building at the same place with an increase in platforms and the construction of two secondary passenger stations (Cologne West
    Köln West station
    Köln-West is a passenger railway station situated on the western border of Innenstadt, Cologne in western Germany. It is served by regional services and - via Hans-Böckler-Platz/Bf West U-Bahn station - 3, 4 and 5 lines of the Cologne Stadtbahn....

     and Cologne South
    Köln Süd station
    Köln-Süd is a passenger railway station situated at Luxemburger Straße and the southern border of Innenstadt, Cologne in western Germany. It is served by regional trains of Deutsche Bahn and trans regio. Nr...

    ) on the urban railway on the model of Berlin Stadtbahn and a rail freight bypass.


While the German government argued for the second option, opinion in Cologne was split. On 9 January 1883, the Cologne City Council
Cologne City Hall
The City Hall is a historical building in Cologne, western Germany, located off Hohe Straße in the district of Innenstadt, set between the two squares of Rathausplatz and Alter Markt. It houses part of the city government, including the city council and offices of the Lord Mayor. It is...

 decided by one vote, finally, for the second option under a plan by the engineer E. Grüttefien of Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. Construction began in 1889. The tracks were raised by six metres with half the new space created under the track filled with earth and a new entrance building was built to the design of Georg Frentzen, an architect from Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

.

In 1894, the large tripartite platform hall was completed. The central hall had a roof span of 64 metres covering today's platforms 2 to 7 and outside it were two 13.5 metre-wide aisles, for platforms 1 and 8. The 255 metre-long hall included a two-story waiting room building, with easy access to all platforms. The station included four terminating platforms facing east and four facing west on either side of the waiting rooms and one through platform on the northeast side and one on the southwest side.

During the restructuring of the all the rail tracks in the Cologne area (about 1905-1911), most notable for the construction of the new South Bridge and the four-track Hohenzollern Bridge, the waiting room building was removed and all the platforms were rebuilt as through platforms. Advantage was taken of the previously unused space beneath the tracks. Only the first and second class waiting rooms in Trankgasse and Johannisstraße (streets) survived the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and subsequent modifications and are now used as a restaurant and the Alter Wartesaal events centre.

Reconstruction and new construction


For several years after World War II, there was debate as to whether the main station should be rebuilt on the site of the Gereon freight yard—now the site of MediaPark
MediaPark
The MediaPark is a urban regeneration neighborhood in Cologne, Germany, completed by the turn of the millennium. It was set up to accommodate companies of the media and communication industry, as well as cultural institutions, a hotel and some apartment buildings. The MediaPark is situated in...

. Therefore, the reconstruction of the main railway station was a slow process and for a decade Cologne station included temporary structures.

The first building occurred in 1953 with the demolition of the long building on the western side, which was replaced by a modern building with baggage handling facilities and a hotel. The old station building (which had been only slightly damaged during the war and temporarily repaired) was demolished in 1955. On 23 September 1957, the new station hall with its shell-shaped roof was opened to the design of the architects Schmitt and Schneider. The main station building was built on the northern side of the station following the demolition of an originally built-up area between the streets of Maximinenstraße, Domstraße, Hofergasse and Hermannstraße and the shifting of Goldgasse with the building of Breslauer Platz as a second entrance plaza.

In the course of building the S-Bahn up until 1991, the entire railway line, railway station and the Hohenzollern bridge were supplemented by two independent S-Bahn tracks. First, in 1975 two additional platforms were built (10 and 11) and then the additional tracks were built on the Hohenzollern bridge for the S-Bahn line.

In 2000, a shopping centre was opened at the entry level—including the area under the S-Bahn tracks. The so-called colonnade includes 70 shops and restaurants with over 11,500 square metres of retail space and 700 employees.

Operational usage


The station has to cope with a very high daily load; even though some ICE services now call at the Köln-Deutz station, though its platforms are divided into three sections each, are still remarkably crowded all over the day, and a major extension of the station is impossible because of its unique surroundings. Connections to the local Cologne network Stadtbahn
Stadtbahn
A ' is a tramway or light railway that includes segments built to rapid transit standards, usually as part of a process of conversion to a metro railway, mainly by the building of tunnels in the central city area....

 are made by two subterranean stations, Dom/Hbf and Breslauer Platz/Hbf at the respective ends of the station. The station has 11 main line passenger track platforms, of which two are used for S-Bahn
S-Bahn
S-Bahn refers to an often combined city center and suburban railway system metro in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark...

 services; the two subterranean Stadtbahn
Stadtbahn
A ' is a tramway or light railway that includes segments built to rapid transit standards, usually as part of a process of conversion to a metro railway, mainly by the building of tunnels in the central city area....

 stations have two tracks each. Its IATA code is QKL.

The station's building also hosts a large shopping mall, the Colonaden.

Long distance trains



Regional trains


S-Bahn trains


Several Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn lines call at the station:
Köln-Nippes — Köln Hbf — Langenfeld — Düsseldorf Hbf
Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof
is the Hauptbahnhof for the city of Düsseldorf in Germany, state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia.-History:The station was opened on 1 October 1891 opened as Düsseldorf Central Station...

 — Ratingen Ost
Ratingen Ost station
Ratingen Ost is a railway station situated in Ratingen in western Germany. It is served by the S6 line of Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn....

 — Essen Hbf
Essen Hauptbahnhof
is the Hauptbahnhof for the city of Essen in western Germany. It is situated south of the old town centre, next to the A 40 motorway.It was opened in 1862 by the Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn...

 (Wuppertal-Vohwinkel
Wuppertal-Vohwinkel station
Vohwinkel station is the most western station in the city of Wuppertal. It is placed in the district of Vohwinkel. It is a triangular station, built at a railway junction.-History:...

 —) Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof
is the Hauptbahnhof for the city of Düsseldorf in Germany, state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia.-History:The station was opened on 1 October 1891 opened as Düsseldorf Central Station...

 — Neuss
Neuss Hauptbahnhof
is the central railway station and Hauptbahnhof for the German city of Neuss.-History:Neuss station was opened in 1853, along with the line from Aachen. A rail connection to Cologne followed in 1855. In 1875/76, the second station building was built. The current station building was opened at the...

 — Dormagen
Dormagen station
Dormagen station is a station in the city of Dormagen in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, on the Sülz Valley Railway. It is served by the Rhein-Münsterland-Express , operated hourly, and S-Bahn line S 12, operated at 20 minute intervals. It has three platform tracks....

 — Köln HbfBergisch Gladbach
Bergisch Gladbach station
Bergisch Gladbach station is a terminal station and forms the public transport hub of the city of Bergisch Gladbach, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has been the terminus of line S 11 of the Rhine-Sieg S-Bahn since 1 June 1975. This service now runs via Cologne, Neuss and...

 Düren
Düren station
Düren station is located to the north of the centre of Düren and is the largest station in the city and the district of Düren. It is located at the intersection of the Cologne–Aachen high-speed line with the lines to Linnich, Heimbach and Euskirchen. Until 1992 it was also connected to the Erft...

 — Horrem
Horrem station
Horrem station is a railway junction in the town of Horrem in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It connects the Cologne–Aachen high-speed railway and the Erft Railway, running between Horrem and Düsseldorf. It is served by S-Bahn line S 12 on the Düren–Horrem–Cologne–Troisdorf–Au route...

 — Köln HbfTroisdorf
Troisdorf station
Troisdorf station is a railway junction in the town of Troisdorf in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the line from Cologne separates into the East Rhine Railway to Neuwied and the Sieg Railway to Siegen. In addition to various regional rail services Troisdorf is served by the S 12...

 — Siegburg/Bonn — Hennef — Au
Au (Sieg) station
Au station is a railway junction in the town of Au in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on the Sieg Railway to Siegen, where the Engers–Au railway branches off to Altenkirchen, where it connects with the Upper Westerwald Railway ....

 (Horrem —) Köln Hbf — Cologne/Bonn Airport — Troisdorf

Local services


Connection to local Stadtbahn
Stadtbahn
A ' is a tramway or light railway that includes segments built to rapid transit standards, usually as part of a process of conversion to a metro railway, mainly by the building of tunnels in the central city area....

 lines is provided by the underground stations Dom/Hbf and Breslauer Platz/Hbf. The former one is located below the southern end, next to the cathedral, the latter at the northern end where it connects to the bus station. Currently, Breslauer Platz/Hbf is closed because it is being rebuilt to link the new North-south line with the existing network. Reopening is scheduled for December 2011. Formerly, all trains stopped at Dom/Hbf and Breslauer Platz/Hbf, but, as the junction for the new line will be between these stations, line 5 trains will only stop at Dom/Hbf and line 16 trains only at Breslauer Platz/Hbf when the line is opened.

Services are offered by the Cologne Stadtbahn
Cologne Stadtbahn
The Cologne Stadtbahn is a light rail system in the German city of Cologne, including several surrounding cities...

 and the Bonn Stadtbahn
Bonn Stadtbahn
The Bonn Stadtbahn is a part of the local public transit system in Bonn and the surrounding Rhein-Sieg area. Although with six actual Stadtbahn lines and three tram lines it is relatively small, two of the Stadtbahn lines connect to the much larger Cologne Stadtbahn .The entire network comprises...

, often referred to as Stadtbahn Rhein-Sieg after the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg
Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg
The Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg abbreviated VRS, is the public transport association covering the area of the Cologne/Bonn Region, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany....

 (VRS - Rhein-Sieg Transit Authority).

London services



Since January 2010, a system of "open access" on European high-speed railway lines now permits different rail operators to apply to run high-speed passenger services. DB Fernverkehr
DB Fernverkehr
DB Fernverkehr AG is a semi-independent division of Deutsche Bahn that operates long-distance passenger trains in Germany. It was founded in 1999 in the second stage of the privatisation of German Federal Railways under the name of DB Reise&Touristik and renamed in 2003.DB Fernverkehr operates all...

 have announced their intention to operate a direct ICE service from Cologne to London St Pancras
St Pancras railway station
St Pancras railway station, also known as London St Pancras and since 2007 as St Pancras International, is a central London railway terminus celebrated for its Victorian architecture. The Grade I listed building stands on Euston Road in St Pancras, London Borough of Camden, between the...

 via Brussels and the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

. The proposal, first put forward in 2007, was delayed by Eurotunnel
Eurotunnel
Groupe Eurotunnel S.A. manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France. The Company operates the car shuttle services and earns revenue on other trains passing through the tunnel...

 safety regulations which required operators to use trainsets which could be divided in the Tunnel in the event of an emergency, allowing passengers to be transported out of the tunnel in two directions. This regulation is now due to be relaxed, and it is envisaged that DB could begin direct London-Cologne services in advance of the 2012 Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the "London 2012 Olympic Games", are scheduled to take place in London, England, United Kingdom from 27 July to 12 August 2012...

.

External links