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Köln Hbf

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Köln Hbf

Köln Hauptbahnhof
Category 1
Type Hbf
Platforms in use


Daily trains 1230[1]
Daily entry/exit 280,000[1]
DS100 code KK
Construction and location
Opened 1859, 1894, 1957
Location Cologne
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Country Germany
Local authority Innenstadt
Home page

50°56′33″N 6°57′29″E / 50.94250°N 6.95806°E / 50.94250; 6.95806Coordinates: 50°56′33″N 6°57′29″E / 50.94250°N 6.95806°E / 50.94250; 6.95806

Route information
List of railway stations in North Rhine-Westphalia

Köln Hauptbahnhof (German, Cologne main station) is a railway station in Cologne, Germany. The station is an important local, national and international hub, with many ICE, Thalys and Intercity trains calling there, as well as regional RegionalExpress, RegionalBahn and local S-Bahn trains. EuroNight and DB NachtZug night services also call at the station. It has frequent connections to Frankfurt by way of the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line, which starts in southern Cologne. On an average day, about 280,000 travellers frequent the station, making it the fifth busiest station in Germany.

The station is situated next to Cologne cathedral.

There is another important station in Cologne, the Köln Messe/Deutz railway station across the river Rhine, just about 400 metres away from Köln Hauptbahnhof. The stations are linked by the Hohenzollernbrücke, a six-track railway bridge with passenger walkways on each side. Frequent local services connect the two stations.


By 1850 there were five stations at Cologne that had been built by different railway companies. On the west bank of the Rhine there were the Bonn-Cologne Railway Company (German, old spelling: Bonn-Cölner Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, BCE), the Cologne-Krefeld Railway Company (German, old spelling: Cöln-Crefelder Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, CCE) and the Rhenish Railway Company (German: Rheinische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, RhE). On the east bank there were the Bergisch-Märkische Railway Company (German: Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, BME) and the Cologne-Minden Railway Company (German, old spelling: Cöln-Mindener Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, CME). In 1854 a controversial decision was taken to locate a new rail and road bridge next to the cathedral, as a bridge could be connected to the existing freight and temporary passenger station on the banks of the Rhine (Rhine Station at the street of Trankgasse). The city agreed to the proposal in 1857 and made available the ground of the former Botanical garden to the north of the cathedral and on the site of part of the old University of Cologne, suppressed by the French in 1798. The railway track was laid at ground level from the bridge over the Rhine and crossing the street of Eigelstein west of the station at ground level and running through the medieval city wall.

Original station

The original Central Station (German: Centralbahnhof[2]) was built beginning in 1857 to the plans of Hermann Otto Pflaume on behalf of the RhE, which had in the same year acquired the BCE. The station was opened on 5 December 1859 together with the Cathedral Bridge (German: Dombrücke, later the site of the Hohenzollernbrücke). The Central Station was a combined terminus and through station: it included four terminating tracks for the RhE running to the west, while the CME had two through tracks connected to its line on the eastern side of the Rhine by the Cathedral Bridge.

The station quickly reached capacity, but the RhE as operator had only limited interest in developing the station, as this would have mainly benefited competing companies. Serious planning for an enlarged station was therefore only taken after the nationalisation of the railways in the 1880s.

New station

For the planning of the new central station two options were considered:

  • Construction of a major railway station in an open area north of Venloer Straße and reclassifying of the original station as a minor station, or
  • Replacement of the central station with a new building at the same place with an increase in platforms and the construction of two secondary passenger stations (Cologne West and Cologne South) on the urban railway on the model of Berlin Stadtbahn and a rail freight bypass.

While the German government argued for the second option, opinion in Cologne was split. On 9 January 1883, the Cologne City Council decided by one vote, finally, for the second option under a plan by the engineer E. Grüttefien of Berlin. Construction began in 1889. The tracks were raised by six metres with half the new space created under the track filled with earth and a new entrance building was built to the design of Georg Frentzen, an architect from Aachen.

In 1894 the large tripartite platform hall was completed. The central hall had a roof span of 64 metres covering today's platforms 2 to 7, and outside it were two 13.5 metre-wide aisles for platforms 1 and 8. The 255 metre-long hall included a two-storey waiting room building, with easy access to all platforms. The station included four terminating platforms facing east and four facing west on either side of the waiting rooms, with one through platform on the northeast side and one on the southwest side.

During the restructuring of the rail tracks in the Cologne area in about 1905-1911 (most notable for the construction of the new South Bridge and the four-track Hohenzollern Bridge), the waiting room building was removed and all the platforms were rebuilt as through platforms. Advantage was taken of the previously unused space beneath the tracks.

Only the first and second class waiting rooms in Trankgasse and Johannisstraße (streets) survived World War II and subsequent modifications and are now used as a restaurant and the Alter Wartesaal events centre.

Reconstruction and new construction

For several years after World War II, there was debate as to whether the main station should be rebuilt on the site of the Gereon freight yard—now the site of MediaPark. Therefore, the reconstruction of the main railway station was a slow process and for a decade Cologne station included temporary structures.

The first building occurred in 1953 with the demolition of the long building on the western side, which was replaced by a modern building with baggage handling facilities and a hotel. The old station building (which had been only slightly damaged during the war and temporarily repaired) was demolished in 1955. On 23 September 1957, the new station hall with its shell-shaped roof was opened to the design of the architects Schmitt and Schneider. The main station building was built on the northern side of the station following the demolition of an originally built-up area between the streets of Maximinenstraße, Domstraße, Hofergasse and Hermannstraße and the shifting of Goldgasse with the building of Breslauer Platz as a second entrance plaza.

In the course of building the S-Bahn up until 1991, the entire railway line, railway station and the Hohenzollern bridge were supplemented by two independent S-Bahn tracks. First, in 1975 two additional platforms were built (10 and 11) and then the additional tracks were built on the Hohenzollern bridge for the S-Bahn line.

In 2000, a shopping centre was opened at the entry level—including the area under the S-Bahn tracks. The so-called colonnade includes 70 shops and restaurants with over 11,500 square metres of retail space and 700 employees.

Operational usage

The station has to cope with a very high daily load; even though some ICE services now call at the Köln-Deutz station, though its platforms are divided into three sections each, are still remarkably crowded all over the day, and a major extension of the station is impossible because of its unique surroundings. Connections to the local Cologne network Stadtbahn are made by two subterranean stations, Dom/Hbf and Breslauer Platz/Hbf at the respective ends of the station. The station has 11 main line passenger track platforms, of which two are used for S-Bahn services; the two subterranean Stadtbahn stations have two tracks each. Its IATA code is QKL.

Long distance trains

Preceding station   Thalys   Following station
toward Paris-Nord
toward Essen Hbf
Preceding station   Deutsche Bahn   Following station
ICE 10
toward Trier
toward Munich Hbf
ICE 31
train route splits here and rejoins in Dortmund Hbf
toward Kiel
toward Kiel
toward Munich Hbf
ICE 42
reverses out
toward Basel SBB
ICE 43
reverses out
toward Hannover
Terminus ICE 45
toward Stuttgart
Terminus ICE 49
toward Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
toward Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
ICE 78
reverses out
ICE 79
toward Frankfurt (Main) Hbf
toward Wien Westbf
ICE 91
train route rejoins here
toward Dortmund
toward Dortmund
Terminus IC 26
toward Stuttgart
IC/EC 30
toward Ostseebad Binz or Greifswald
toward Passau
IC/EC 31
toward Hamburg-Altona/Kiel Hbf/Puttgarden
IC/EC 32
toward Karlsruhe Hbf, Stuttgart Hbf, or Luxembourg
IC/EC 35
toward Emden Außenhafen or Norddeich Mole
Terminus IC 51
toward Ostseebad Binz
Terminus IC 55
toward Leipzig

Regional trains

Preceding station   Deutsche Bahn   Following station
toward Aachen
RE 1
toward Paderborn
toward Koblenz
RE 5
toward Emmerich
toward Krefeld
RE 7
toward Rheine
toward Mönchengladbach
RE 8
toward Koblenz
toward Aachen
RE 9
toward Siegen
toward Trier
RE 12
toward Gerolstein
RE 22
toward Kall
RB 24
RB 25
Oberbergische Bahn
toward Marienheide
toward Mönchengladbach
RB 27
toward Koblenz
toward Düsseldorf
RB 38
toward Bonn-Mehlem
RB 48
toward Wuppertal
Preceding station   trans regio   Following station
Template:MRB-RP stations
toward Template:MRB-RP stations
Template:MRB-RP lines
Template:MRB-RP stations
toward Template:MRB-RP stations

S-Bahn trains

Several Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn lines call at the station:

Preceding station   Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn   Following station
toward Köln-Nippes
toward Essen
toward Bergisch Gladbach
toward Düren
toward Au (Sieg)
toward Köln Hansaring or Horrem
toward Troisdorf

Local services

Connection to local Stadtbahn lines is provided by the underground stations Dom/Hbf and Breslauer Platz/Hbf. The former one is located below the southern end, next to the cathedral, the latter at the northern end where it connects to the bus station. Breslauer Platz/Hbf was rebuilt to link the new North-south line with the existing network, and is since reopened. Formerly, all trains stopped at Dom/Hbf and Breslauer Platz/Hbf, but, as the junction for the new line will be between these stations, line 5 trains will only stop at Dom/Hbf and line 16 trains only at Breslauer Platz/Hbf when the line is opened.

Services are offered by the Cologne Stadtbahn and the Bonn Stadtbahn, often referred to as Stadtbahn Rhein-Sieg after the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg (VRS - Rhein-Sieg Transit Authority).

Preceding station   KVB   Following station
toward Am Butzweilerhof
toward Bad Godesberg Stadthalle
toward Niehl Sebastianstraße
toward Bonn Hauptbahnhof
toward Thielenbruch


London services

Since January 2010, a system of "open access" on European high-speed railway lines now permits different rail operators to apply to run high-speed passenger services. DB Fernverkehr have announced their intention to operate a direct ICE service from Cologne to London St Pancras via Brussels and the Channel Tunnel. The proposal, first put forward in 2007,[3] was delayed by Eurotunnel safety regulations which required operators to use trainsets which could be divided in the Tunnel in the event of an emergency, allowing passengers to be transported out of the tunnel in two directions. This regulation is now due to be relaxed, and it is envisaged that DB could begin direct London-Cologne services before the end of 2014.

See also


External links

  • View of the platforms and nearby churches
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