ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the railroad station at Berlin-Schoenefeld: built in 1951 for the Outer Ring, a precursor of the Berlin Wall?

Updated on November 23, 2013
Flag of Germany
Flag of Germany | Source
Rails at Berlin-Schoenefeld Station from the western footbridge
Rails at Berlin-Schoenefeld Station from the western footbridge | Source
Berlin Festival: At Berlin-Schoenefeld Station, Palestinian Festival delegation being given a warm welcome by Berlin Members of the "Free German Youth" (FDJ), Julu 27, 1973
Berlin Festival: At Berlin-Schoenefeld Station, Palestinian Festival delegation being given a warm welcome by Berlin Members of the "Free German Youth" (FDJ), Julu 27, 1973 | Source
Berlin-Schoenefeld Station
Berlin-Schoenefeld Station | Source
An aerial view of a segment of the Berlin Wall, 1989
An aerial view of a segment of the Berlin Wall, 1989 | Source
Map location of Schoenefeld, Brandenburg state.
Map location of Schoenefeld, Brandenburg state. | Source

Memories of the creeping, totalitarian division of Berlin

Berlin-Schoenefeld's railroad station, in Brandenburg state, Germany, is hardly the conventional idea of a tourist attraction.

But if one considers how it came about, it provides a fascinating insight into Berlin's history, including that of the Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer ).

After World War Two, Germany was occupied by the four main Allied Powers; the same occurred in Berlin, with the American, British and French sectors soon becoming isolated from the east of the city, and its surrounding area, occupied by Soviet forces. In principle there was one city of Berlin; from a practical and infrastructure perspective, two separate cities emerged (whatever the theory).

The railroad station at Berlin-Schoenefeld was built by the East German authorities in only 5 months in 1951. During this year and up to the year 1961, the East German authorities were building what is known as Berlin's Outer Ring (German: Berliner Aussenring ). This was a 125 kilometer railroad line which encompassed — indeed, bypassed — the part of the city which was becoming known as West Berlin. It would have been practically impossible for the concept of a Berlin Wall to have become feasible, were it not for the prior existence of this Outer Ring, providing economic and military (and, maybe somewhat secondarily, passenger) rail transportation around Berlin under the control of the East German authorities and their Soviet allies.

It took, in fact, 16 years for the Berlin Wall to be erected after Soviet forces entered Berlin in 1945. But if one studies the prior actions of the authorities of the nascent East Germany — or the German Democratic Republic (German: Deutsche Demokratische Republic ) — one can see how the viability of such a Wall became possible, once the necessary infrastructure had been built.

The station at Berlin-Schoenfeld was enlarged with an extra platform in 1962. The station subsequently became known as part of the rail link between East Berlin and the East German régime's main, international air hub, Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport.

I visited this unpretentious structure and, if it were not for the momentous events which were occurring at its building and during its life prior to 1989, my memories of its significance would probably not be acute. But when one considers how it and Berlin's Outer Ring came into being, one cannot but be struck by it as something of a solemn monument to creeping, totalitarian encirclement of Berlin by the now defunct East German régime.

Note re. the name 'Berlin-Schoenefeld': strictly speaking, the town of Schoenefeld, from which the station's name is derived, is not in Berlin at all, but in the German state of Brandenburg.

October 6, 2012

Also worth seeing

In Berlin itself, its many visitor attractions include: the Brandenburg Gate, the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), the Reichstag building , Charlottenburg Palace (German: Schloss Charlottenburg ), Berlin Cathedral (German: Berliner Dom ) and many others.

Potsdam (distance: 51 kilometres), has some palaces of historic importance. The Potsdam Conference between the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union was held here in 1945.

Slubice , Poland (distance: 85 kilometres); the 'NMP Krolowej' church has a distinctive tower.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Berlin Tegel Airport (Flughafen Berlin-Tegel ), where car rental is available. For North American travellers making the London, England area their base, easyJet flies from London-Gatwick to Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport, where car rental is available. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)