After decades of ignoring design aspects and thoughtlessly polluting station interiors with giant advertising billboards, there's evidence that metro operator HHA is gradually rediscovering the value of its architectural heritage and developing fresh ideas.
Photo: Klosterstern station from 1929 on line U1, accurately restored in 1986 back to its original style.
Some historic stations have been preserved, and a few featureless stations have recently been transformed into spaces with interesting design and less advertising [100-jahre-hochbahn.de].
Photo: St. Pauli station from 1912. Since 1999, a deconstructivist glass roof contrasts with the historic sandstone entrance and shelters it from weather influences. The historic design at platform level has not been preserved, however.
Tours of the metro system, guided by experts. For dates and reservation contact the tour operator or check their website.
Two free guided tours are occasionally being offered in German: one is a look behind the scenes of metro operation and security, the other one is a visit to the operations control centre. Check website for dates. Reservation is mandatory. Tour operator: HHA.
Try the following tour, recommended by residents or metro enthusiasts:
Take line U3 from Landungsbrücken to Hauptbahnhof for an elevated view of the harbour on the right hand side and a steep decline into the tunnel after Rödingsmarkt station. Change to line S21 and watch out for the Alster lake on both sides of the track before getting off at the nicely preserved Dammtor railway station. Walk across the pedestrian bridge to Stephansplatz station and take line U1 to Klosterstern for its preserved Art Deco style. If you have more time, ride the circular line U3 for an overview of the city and some interesting stations. An MP3 audio tour for line U3 is available (in German) at hvv.de.
Hamburg Consult family Members: Amsterdam, Athens, Dublin (DART), Hamburg (types DT2, DT3), Characteristics: Hamburg's metro operator had been consultant to other cities until the 1970s, so the older train types in these cities look similar.
A pre-recorded female voice says "Zurückbleiben bitte!" (MP3), followed by about 16 short beeps. The same voice announces the next stations in the trains, "Nächster Halt: [station name]". It is the voice of Ingrid Metz-Neun, who has dubbed Marilyn Monroe in German versions of many movies. For some stations, a male voice follows in English with reference to places of interest.
Line U1 train departing from Klosterstern station.