Why is the subway important to a city

The subway in the divided city

Again it was Ernst Reuter, the extremely popular Governing Mayor of West Berlin, who ensured that the construction of the new line began as early as 1953. A few days after his unexpected death on September 29 of this year, construction began on Müllerstrasse: the U6 line to Tegel was completed by 1958. Despite the delicate political situation in the divided city, construction was carried out strictly according to a plan that knew no borders - at least in the western part of the city. In August 1961, the route network was brutally separated, the GDR government believed that it had saved peace in Europe by securing the "state border": Berlin, however, now had a new "sight": the wall. In the western part of the city, the subway network was steadily expanded: In September 1961, the first section of today's U9 line was completed, initially from Spichernstrasse to Leopoldplatz, which at that time was the most technically modern subway line in Europe! In the following years, more routes were completed: in 1963 the U7 line reached Britz-Süd, in 1966 the U6 took the U6 to Alt-Mariendorf and the U7 to Möckernbrücke. In 1970 the U7 was taken to Gropiusstadt, which was just being built. In 1971 the U9 was extended to Walther-Schreiber-Platz and the U7 line to Fehrbelliner Platz. In 1973 a new, albeit short, stretch of route was built in the east of the city for the first time: the zoo in Friedrichsfelde could now be reached underground. In the west, however, things went very fast in the following years: The U7 reached Rudow in 1972, the U9 in 1974 the Steglitz town hall in the south and in 1976 the Osloer Straße in the north. In 1977 the U8 line also went there. The U7 was extended under Wilmersdorfer Straße in 1978, to Siemensstadt in 1980 and to Spandau in 1984. At 34 kilometers, it was and is the longest continuously underground subway line in Europe! In 1987 the U8 line was extended in a northerly direction to Paracelsus-Bad.
With the epochal turning point of 1989, the political conditions were finally there to be able to use again the ghost stations on the U6 and U8, which had been closed for over twenty-five years, as well as some disused sections of the U1 and U2. Berlin had become a cohesive city again. In 1993 the time had come: the entire Berlin subway network could be used by the public. Now you could use the U2 to get from the zoo to Alexanderplatz without having to change trains. In 1994, the U8 line reached its new terminus in Wittenau on Wilhelmsruher Damm, and in 1995, for the first time since 1961, the yellow trains ran again between Oberbaum Bridge and Warschauer Bridge. Today Berlin has an underground network with a total length of 143 kilometers and 170 train stations. Some lines even run around the clock on the weekends. A little over a million Berliners and their guests use the subway every day. It is to be hoped that this fantastic subway network, although it is already quite extensive, will be expanded even further, namely where it really makes sense, for example to Lankwitz, the Märkisches Viertel or Weissensee.