Arrival at the main stations
Arriving in Berlins main train station,the Hauptbahnhof, is quite an experience. The building in Spreebogen, which is the largest and most modern crossing station in Europe, effectively combines striking architecture with the mobility requirements of the 21st century. Every day, some 1100 long-distance, regional and rapid transit trains call at the 14 platforms on two different levels.
Berlin has an integrated network of trains, trams, and buses. The same ticket can be used on all modes of transport. The U-bahn is the underground train whilst the S-bahn serves as a commuter line and runs above ground most of the time. Use the U- & S-bahn together for the fastest journey. Lines are colour-coded and numbered with the last station indicating the direction. Ticket machines are found on the U- & S-bahn platforms and have instructions in English. Always make sure your ticket is validated (stamped)before getting on the train! You do this at the tall skinny posts on the platform which are either yellow or red. On buses the driver sells the ticket, and on trams you buy your ticket from an interior machine. This is an honour-based transport system with plain-clothed inspectors randomly checking passenger's tickets, and charging an on-the-spot fine of 40€ for those without a ticket or with an unvalidated ticket.
The central band of S-bahn lines link west Berlin with east Berlin, and pass through all the main stations such as Zoo and Alexanderplatz. One should take these lines to Hackescher Markt for Museum Island, or to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof for the palaces (i.e. Sanssouci) and gardens of the Prussian Kings.
Friedrichstrasse station links you to the north-south lines of the S-bahn. Traveling one stop north to Oranienburger Strasse brings you close to the New Synagogue, and the many restaurants and bars of the Mitte district. One stop south takes you to the Brandenburg Gate, and two stops south to the shopping, cinemas and theaters of Potsdamer Platz, the Philharmonie and Kulturforum.
Useful link: timetables, routes, fares and more information
Due to construction delays Berlin Brandenburg Airport is not yet in service. It is scheduled to open sometime in 2014. If your airline ticket states BER check with your airline to see where the flight has been rerouted to, either Tegel or Schönefeld.
Tegel Airport (TXL) – This airport is connected to the city by bus only. You need an AB Zone ticket.
To connect to and from Zoo Bahnhof and the western side of the city use the X9, TXL or 109 buses. Travel time approx. 25 minutes.
To connect to and from Alexanderplatz and the eastern side of the city take the TXL. Travel time approx. 40 minutes.
To connect to and from the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) take the TXL. Travel time approx. 20 minutes.
The 128 runs between Tegel Airport and Osloer Straße U-Bahn station.
Schönefeld Airport (SXF) – Travelling to or from Schönefeld you need an ABC Zone ticket.
The regional trains RE7, RB14, or RB22 are fastest and pass through the main stations of Ostbahnhof and Zoo Bahnhof.
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