There are no trains at the Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf but they used to come here a lot before somebody figured out how to make them drive in the other direction. Yes, this place was built to allow trains to go the other direction and it is one of the only remaining buildings with this history in Germany.
I’m not sure if the first time I read about Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf was at BerlijnBlog.nl or Abandoned Berlin. I only know that this is one of the easiest places to do urban exploration in Berlin and, if you like this kind of things, you have to go there. But before I start telling you about what Fotostrasse saw there, I have to tell you the history of the place.
Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf, a little bit of history
Back in the 19th century, Germany was buzzing with a growing railway network that connected most of the main cities to Berlin and to other places in Europe. One of this railroads was the one connecting Berlin to Stettin, a city that used to be in Germany and now is a part of Poland. Called Berlin-Stettin Railroad, without any use of creativity, this railroad used to have a area reserved for train repair and maintenance and this is how Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf was born.
The first trains started arriving back in 1893 and, on its prime there were some 1.800 freight trains per day at Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf. In 1924, the area was connected to the S-Bahn network and by 1997, it was closed down without any proper reason.
By 2007, some of the railway tracks started being removed and some buildings were torn down. A couple of years later, the history of Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf changed completely with the announcement that developer Kurt Krueger bought the area. He wanted to invest in a huge shopping center and a furniture shop but nothing was built until today. Supposedly, because the Rundlokschuppen, the machine that turns train to the other direction, is a historical monument and you cannot tear it down. For now, nothing will happen to the place and you can visit without any worries.
The Rundlokschuppen is the first thing you see when you enter the Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf. This used to be a hub for trains to turn and go the other direction. By the pictures here you can imagine that the trains would follow into the middle of the building that would then rotate and the train could go in the direction it needed to go. Simple.
At Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf you can see a little more than just that. There is a Schuppen ring, where more modern locomotives could turn, and there is a Rundhaus that works in a similar fashion. So, if you like trains, this is the place for you.
Arriving at the Güterbahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf is pretty simple. You just need to take a train to S-Bahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf and you can see the place from the train tracks. Go over the bridge and you will find your way inside.
On the rainy sunday afternoon we were there, we saw a few people taking pictures and others just having some beers. Be careful with the floor and when you go through some of the windows that still have some glass. Besides that, have fun and take a lot of pictures there.