Submitted by scott on

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is the main railway station of the city of Hamburg, Germany and is classed by Deutsche Bahn as a category 1 railway station.[ Opened in 1906 to replace 4 separate terminal stations, today Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is operated by DB Station&Service AG. With an average of 550,000 passengers a day, it is Germany's busiest railway station and the second-busiest in Europe after the Gare du Nord in Paris.

Before today's central station was opened, Hamburg had several smaller stations located around the city centre. The first railway line (between Hamburg and Bergedorf) was opened on 5 May 1842, coincidentally the same day that the "great fire" (der große Brand) ruined most of the historic city centre. The stations were as follows (each of them only a few hundred metres away from the others):

Berliner Bahnhof (1846), on the site of today's Deichtorhallen, on the right bank of the Elbe river; terminus of the line to Berlin
Lübecker Bahnhof (1865), terminus of the line to Lübeck
Klosterthor Bahnhof (1866), eastern terminus of the Hamburg-Altona link line
Venloer Bahnhof (1872), since 1892 named "Hannoverscher Bahnhof", on the line across the river Elbe. (The line splits in Harburg into the lines to Venlo and to Hanover).
Temporary railway lines connecting the stations were built partly on squares and streets. When it was decided to build a common station for all lines, a competition was arranged in 1900. Built between 1902-1906, the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof was designed by the architects Heinrich Reinhardt and Georg Süßenguth, modeled after the Galerie des machines of the World's Fair of 1889 in Paris, by Louis Béroud. The German emperor William II declared the first draft to be "simply horrible", but the second draft was eventually constructed. The emperor personally changed the Art Nouveau style elements to Neo-Renaissance, giving the station a fortification-like character. The station was opened for visitors on 4 December 1906, the first train arrived the next day, and scheduled trains started on 6 December 1906.


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