History of the U-Bahn

Berlin’s first independent railway has a colorful history. For years, the two Berlin-based companies AEG and Siemens competed to construct the city’s first railway line (either underground or elevated). Engineers were inspired by the Wuppertal suspension train, the underground in London and the high-speed rail network in New York. Finally, the company of Werner Siemens won the contract to erect an elevated railway line along the demolished tariff wall (Zollmauer). Construction began in 1896 and just two years later the elevated railway viaduct was completed. After tough negotiations with the city of Charlottenburg, a decision was made to not build an elevated track at Tauentzien Strasse, but rather an underground section that connected with today’s Ernst-Reuter-Platz. Thus, in 1902, the main train route ran from Ernst-Reuter-Platz to Warschauer Bridge, although another popular route led from what is now the park at Gleisdreieck to Potsdamer Platz.

Siemens & Halske proposal (elevated railway)

Sammlung Mauruszat
from: Hochbahngesellschaft Berlin: Zur Eröffnung der Erweiterungslinie vom Spittelmarkt über den Alexanderplatz zur Schönhauser Allee, Berlin 1913

AEG proposal (underground railway)

from: Bousset, J.: Die Berliner U-Bahn, Verlag von Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, Berlin 1935