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Berlin: How to Build a New ‘U-Bahn’ Train Station Below ‘Red City Hall’

So, you want to merge the U-Bahn lines U5 and U55? By connecting those two lines you seem to want to create one long line from Hönow all the way to Berlin Central Station. Is this accurate? O.k., nothing is easier that that. Just follow these steps:

1. Get some money. A little more than half a billion Euro should do. To be precise: You will need 525 million Euro (589 million U.S. Dollars or 471 million Pounds Sterling). Stack up the money in your bedroom until the payment is due. No, you can’t use “some of it” for a “far out party”.

At ‘Rotes Rathaus’ station, some wall panels still need to be installed. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

2. Why dig a tunnel if there already is one? Make use of the existing one between ‘Alexanderplatz‘ and Red City Hall (‘Rotes Rathaus‘). It was built 100 years ago. I promise you: Those 600 meters will save you a whole lot of digging. Take my word for it.

These wooden stairs still have to be replaced. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

3. Draw a complicated plan, just to make sure your tunnel does not end up connecting Red City Hall to Munich. This is about 2.2 kilometers (1.37 miles) only. Stay focused!

The entrance to the huge construction site is located right next to Red City Hall. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

4. Use some of the cash in your bedroom to commission a bunch of guys with a huge tunnel digging machine. Let’s call it ‘Bärlinde‘. A cute name, right? Use that monster to dig two tunnel tubes, one for each direction. Stop talking and start digging. Yes, the machine will apply the tunnel’s concrete walls as well. Easy as pie.

Standing on the platform feels good . But the next train will arrive in more than a year from now. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

5. Make sure you add three U-Bahn stations on the new stretch you are building. One at Red City Hall, one at Museum Island and one at ‘Unter den Linden‘. Yes, mark those spots on your plan. For the stations you will need platforms, fancy walls, escalators and ticket machines.

What in the hell is that? A giant beer tap? Photo: Imanuel Marcus

6. Don’t forget to lay train tracks in both tubes. This is an U-Bahn tunnel, for crying out loud.

7. Oh, you encountered water? And you are surprised? Why do you think they call Museum Island an island? Because it is located in desert sand? Get your facts straight. Oh, you don’t know how to build a tunnel right through the water? Use an enormous ice machine. Freeze the water in the future station. Then start digging out the space you need. Once the concrete walls are done, melt the ice.

This is where 50,000 passengers will go. Yes, per day. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

8. Oh, now you have one station which is not being needed anymore? Yes, ‘Französische Straße‘. Tell me about it. Just close it down. Lock it and throw away the key. But don’t do it before the entire project is ready to rumble.

The U-Bahn trains need to be cleaned somewhere. This is the place. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

9. You’re done? Now show off. Write a million press releases and social media posts. You did it! Thanks to your effort, less cars will be congesting Berlin and polluting its air. Some 50,000 passengers will be using the new ‘Rotes RauthausU-Bahn station alone, every goddamned day.

10. Yes, I know. You need to sell some bad news first: The new subway line U5, in its entirety, will not be in service until late 2020. Sure, the stations are not quite ready. Well, eat a cookie and just wait. And give all that cash to the construction workers, planners and architects you commissioned. Yes, every penny. You wanted fancy looking stations, right?