Tuesday, March 8, 2016

2014 Germany Trip - Cologne Central Station (Köln Hauptbahnhof)

Location: Cologne, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:

If you are not going to Cologne in a car, most probably you will be arriving via train like yours truly, and Cologne Hbf (short for Hauptbahnhof, German for main/central station) would be your point of arrival. That steelworks frame would be visible from distance away, at about the same time the iconic Cologne Cathedral comes into view, when the train crosses the important Hohenzollern Bridge.

As I stepped onto the platform, the pace of the station got to me, reminding me of the fact that this was one of the busiest station in Germany. With Cologne being one of the 4 biggest cities in Germany (the others being Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), its central station is definitely one of the busiest, the 5th busiest in fact, serving an average 280,000 travelers on a daily basis. As it is an important transport hub, several major rail services call into this station, including international lines connecting to Paris and Amsterdam, as well as ICE services connecting other major cities in Germany.


ICE ready to go

Towards 4711

This steelworks girder shared a history that is longer than Hohenzollern Bridge and just as colorful, the original station dating back to 1857. Before the construction of the central station there was as much as 5 stations serving Cologne rather a central one, each operated by a different company. With Cologne being an important traffic hub, the original station quickly reached its capacity and a new enlarged station was planned. A new structure was placed over the same spot, and platforms and tracks were increased, Restructuring was completed around 1911 but not all of the station survived World War II. Reconstruction was slow in coming, with additions and demolitions occurring throughout the later half of the century.

The station was gigantic, the ribbed steelworks frame made it look almost like disembarking onto the belly of a beast. However the most impressive view remained that of Cologne Cathedral looming over the squat station that can be seen through the glass and steel framework. It just made me feel minuscule and finite with something at such a scale towering over me.



The cathedral

Collision course

Being a busy station, Cologne Hbf came equipped with lots of kiosk and eateries, catering to the busy schedules of various travelers of different agendas. However I had only took a glance at them as my attention was captured outside rather than inside of the station. Nevertheless Cologne Hbf did leave me an impression of being one of Cologne's icon that one should at least spend some time touring.

Environment:         An important transport hub in one of the largest city in Germany
Suitable for:            Transport lovers
Visit worthiness:   7.5/10 
Historical value:        3.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  3.0/5.0
Photographic value: 4.0/5.0
Landmark value:       5.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                  free
Opening Hours:             always accessible
Best Moment to Visit: Anytime
Length of Visit:              <1 hour

Website:                   -

Contact:                    -
E-mail:                      -
Address:                   -

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