Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Old Railway Stations

On Monday, I made this trip out to Bieber, Germany....about a 20-minute subway trip out of Frankfurt (normally it's 20 minutes, but with the renovation phase of work going on, it was a 75-min work-around to get through Frankfurt).

The S-bahn stopped at the highly upgraded platform area (all the bells and whistles of a million-Euro project).

Sadly, they didn't include the old station....barely twenty meters from platform area.

As you can kinda note from the picture....this 1880s (just guessing) station house....has seen it's better days go by and is in bad shape.  This is one of the issues of old stations today.  They need money and most towns are NOT willing to put any cash into them.

The rail folks have modernized everything.  There's no station master any longer.  There's just a fancy ticket machine near the platform area.

I've been through fifty such towns over the last couple of years and noted the various uses or lack of uses for such old railway stations.  There was a phase from the 1860s to 1914 build up stations in most any village that connected to the railway system.  From the 1960s on....modernization has caught up with the buildings and deemed them unnecessary.

A handful of stations are used as pubs, gift-shops, restaurants, or medical-related shops.  The station near my place (the Niedernhausen bahnhof).....was rebuilt after WW II (highly damaged).  Sadly, it turned into a modern place (no bricks or 1800's look) and the bulk of operations dried up by the late 1970s.  It sits there empty today, with no real use in the forecast.

Oddly, you can sit there and imagine the Bieber railway station in the 1890s.  By 7AM, there were probably a hundred folks out front and waiting on the morning train into Frankfurt for their job.  The local store probably had a kid around with a wagon to pick up the goods dropped off.  Six to ten trains a day probably came through and stopped off for five minutes.  The station master was probably a mid-60's guy, with a fancy watch and tracked arrivals and departures like they were a matter of life and death.  The middle-aged clerk did the tickets for people, and maybe provided some advice to folks who had long-distance ideas and needed some advice.  A handy man was there to check the tracks and keep the station clean.  The station was the hub of the town, and people probably felt it was the outlet for their lives.  It meant something to everyone in town.  Today, it's just real estate.

No comments: