U55 Kanzler Bahn

The area around the German Bundestag often seems lifeless to me. This may stem from the lack of actual residents: you may spot politicians and government workers coming and going, but nobody lives in a landmark. That stretch between Bundeskanzleramt, Bundestag and Brandenburger Tor is usually crowded with tourists. “Life” isn’t true, day to day life here. It’s a permanent exhibition for visitors.

Now they can to Berlins official city center even quicker by taking the shortest subway line in Berlin. The U55 (locals also call it Kanzler-Bahn or “Chancellor Train”) is only a 2 minute long ride, connecting Brandenburger Tor, Bundestag and Hauptbahnhof. Originally built as an extension of the U5 line, the tunnels and stations already had a life before traffic. Next to partys, Go-Kart races or theater it also served as the scenery for films like Resident Evil.

Berlins U-Bahn tunnels have often served a life before their final fate. At Potsdamer Platz, a derelict track was transformed into an event location. And under Moritzplatz lies a proper train station graveyard (unfortunately unaccessible to the public), built before the war and destined to become a traffic hub for the city that never was.

Ultimately, the U55 line was opened in the summer of 2009. In 2020, the U55 will merge with the U5 (across Friedrichsstraße and Alexanderplatz) and lose its status as shortest metro line ever.