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Berlin: Changes on ‘U-Bahn’ Train Lines 1, 2 and 3 due to Construction Work

Berlin’s main public transport provider BVG just started a major renovation effort on ‘U-Bahn’ train tracks. As a result, traveling on the U1, U2 and U3 lines will rather complicated for a while. A temporary U12 line is in service. Wait a second. WHAT?

Berlin, August 15th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Berlin’s U-Bahn is the equivalent of the Paris Métro, the London Underground or Tube and the New York Subway. It has 9 lines. Four of them, the U1, U2, U3 and U4, are narrow-gauge lines, and the other five regular gauge lines. On those narrow trains, the seats were installed lengthwise because there is no room to fit them crosswise. But this has little to do with the construction project that commences today. So, why did you mention it?

U1 + U2 = U12

The fact of the matter is that the public transport provider BVG is renovating tracks on the narrow-gauge lines. It will take until December. Why in the hell does it take that long? Well, this is a big endeavor. In order to make it easier for passengers to deal with the consequences, an ‘U-Bahn’ line U12 will be in service temporarily. It is a mixture between the U1 and U2. Does the U2 include Bono and ‘The Edge’? Fortunately, it does not.

Today, on Monday, August 15th, 2022, the first renovation phase begins. Ties on the elevated railway need to be replaced. Besides, a connective track between the U1 and U2 lines will be prepared. This leads to changes that apply until September 18th, 2022. During this construction phase, the U2 only goes from Pankow to Gleisdreieck station. What am I supposed to do if I want to go all the way to Ruhleben? Well, you hop on the U12. WHAT?

Bus to Uhlandstrasse

The U12 is a temporary line that uses part of the regular U1 and U2 routes. It goes from Warschauer Strasse all the way to Ruhleben. This means, U2 passengers coming from Pankow, who intend to go towards Ruhleben, need to change from the U2 to the U12 at Gleisdreieck. Now I lost you. I don’t understand a single word. Neither do we. Welcome to the club.

The BVG explains the three construction phases in this video (in German).

There is more: During the first renovation phase, Bülowstrasse station is not being used at all, meaning the trains do not stop there. And the U1 is not in service. Why would that be? What if I want to go from Warschauer Strasse to Gleisdreieck? Then you use the U12. Whatever. The fact that the U1 does not run has implications for the stretch between Wittenbergplatz and Uhlandstrasse. Here, buses will have to be used. Really? Get lost.

Construction Break

According to the BVG, a construction break will be taken from September 19th to 25th. What do these people need a break for? They probably calculated some extra time in case the schedule cannot be kept. It wouldn’t be the first time. Right. During the break, the U1 will be moving back and forth between Warschauer Strasse and Gleisdreieck. What about Uhlandstrasse and Kurfürstendamm? No U-Bahn service. Damn. And why don’t those trains go from Gleisdreieck to Wittenbergplatz during the renovation break? We do not have the faintest clue.

Three stations will not be used for a while. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Then, from September 26th to October 27th, 2022, the second construction phase is scheduled to happen. According to the BVG, the U1, U2 and U3 will be moving just like in phase one, with one exception. Wait. In the first phase, the U1 will not be in service at all. What do they mean? We don’t know either. In phase two, there will be a shuttle service on the U2 line, between Potsdamer Platz and Gleisdreieck. What kind of shuttle? Horses? Helicopters. Just kidding. Trains. This means U2 passengers have to leave their train at Potsdamer Platz and change into the shuttle, or they are required to change from the shuttle into those regular U2 trains, if they are on their way towards Pankow. Am I supposed to understand this?

Back on Track

Ready for the third phase? Leave me alone. It is scheduled to take place from October 28th to November 6th, 2022. What is it this time? Will any lines be in service? The U2 is back on track, in the truest sense of the word, meaning it will be in service in its entirety, from Pankow to Ruhleben. What is the flip side of the coin? The U1 only goes from Warschauer Strasse to Gleisdreieck, and the U3 from Nollendorfplatz to Krumme Lanke. What do I do between Gleisdreieck and Nollendorfplatz? You walk. Or you take the U2. So, that’s it? Yep. Over and out.

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