Dodging summer construction in Berlin

Posted in: Berlin Planning


Berlin Cranes
Ah, the summer skyline of Berlin. Photo: Steve Parker.

You may have heard it said before: in northern climes, there are two seasons – winter and construction. Unfortunately for summertime visitors to Germany’s capital city, Berlin is no different. Streets, tram, and even train lines are repeatedly slimmed down or rerouted completely as crews take advantage of the warmer weather and decreased traffic to perform necessary repairs.

Unlike locals who may have seen notifications of intended or current detours, tourists – unaware of where to find information, stuck behind a language barrier – are often taken completely by surprise. And unlike locals who are familiar with their immediate options for alternative transport, tourists may feel stranded if they are ordered to disembark the vehicle stations before their final destination.

Construction projects

Here are the major “highlights” of the Berlin public transport construction scene and some tips for avoiding delays or detours before you head out.

U6 between Friedrichstrasse and Französische Strasse
Through Fall 2013

The line is broken right in the center between the aforementioned stations. If you are headed northward from Friedrichstrasse, no problem. If you’re headed southward to Kreuzberg or trying to get to the center from the area around Checkpoint Charlie, you’ll find yourself taking a 500 m walk above ground between the stations. Surely you meant to visit Gendarmenmarkt anyway, right?

U8 between Boddinstrasse and Hermannstrasse
Through Summer 2014

Intensive repairs to both lines and stations mean there will no longer be a southern connection to the Ring lines. To get to or from the Ring, you’ll have to switch to the U7 at Hermannplatz (headed southward) or Neukölln (northward).

S1 now to Potsdam Hbf, S7 to Wannsee
Through at least October 2013

Due to line improvements, the S1 and S7 trains have temporarily traded their final destinations. It is still possible to connect at Wannsee between the two trains.

Tram M6 between S-Hackescher Markt and U-Schwartzkopffstrasse
Through 2015

The tramline is being rerouted to run over Hauptbahnhofand is therefore out of service between these central stations for the foreseeable future. No replacement bus service. The BVG recommends using the tram lines M1 or 12 or the S-Bahn in combination with the U6 to reach this area.

Tram 12 between Mitte (am Kupfergraben) and U-Eberswalder Strasse
Through mid-October 2013

Replacement bus service will run from mid-September to mid-October while a bridge running above the lines is repaired. Alternatively, take Tram M1.

Know Before You Go

The BVG and S-Bahn make it easy to research their connections (including any possible detours) right on the web. Be sure to look up your route to your intended destination as well as your route home, as many temporary summertime construction projects affect connections only after 10 p.m.

BVG website 
S-Bahn website 

If you’ll be traveling with a smart phone, you can download the appropriate app for your device from this page. This free application may prove a real lifesaver on nights and weekends.

Once you know which area you’ll be staying in and which lines are most important to you, you can have a quick look at the construction overview pages of the Bahn [1] [2], the BVG, and the S-Bahn. The latter also tweets (in German only) about any immediate issues.

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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