The underground S-Bahn station is all that remains of the Nordbahnhof long-distance station that once stood here. In the early 20th century the large hall of the Stettiner Station and a small reception building for the suburban railway station stood on the grounds of the present-day Nordbahnhof station. When the S-Bahn began operation and the underground S-Bahn station was built in 1936, the suburban railway station lost its function. The long-distance station was closed down in 1952. It had been badly damaged in the war and was located too close to the border.
During the first years after the Berlin Wall was erected, several people tried to flee across the railroad grounds. For this reason, the above ground area of the Nordbahnhof station was incorporated into the restricted border area. After that, only transport and border police and the border troops had access to the station.
Transport police and border soldiers also guarded the underground passenger platforms. The station had exits on both East and West Berlin sides which made it attractive for planned escapes. Consequently, the entire grounds had to be hermetically sealed off. The underground S-Bahn station turned into a “ghost station”: the S-Bahn trains continued to travel to the West, but they no longer stopped at Nordbahnhof.
Today you’ll find an exhibition in the S-Bahn station about the border stations and ghost stations that existed in Berlin. You’ll also learn about people who succeeded in escaping through the divided city’s underground transportation system, despite all the obstacles put in their way.
Some remains of the border fortifications can be found in the park on the Nordbahnhof grounds. For example the wall that borders the grounds of the beach volleyball field was once a part of the border grounds’ inner wall.