Adolph von Menzel, The Berlin-Potsdam Railway, painting from 1847
bpk / Nationalgalerie, SMB, Reproduktion Jörg P. Anders
View to the south from Julius-Leber-Brücke, June 1951
Photo Willy Kiel, Landesarchiv Berlin
Archiv zur Geschichte von Tempelhof und Schöneberg
Schöneberg station, view in northwestern direction, postcard from around 1900
The damaged S-Bahn station Kolonnenstrasse with the temporary entrance building from 1936, March 1955
Photo Bert Sass, Landesarchiv Berlin
An island between railway tracks
In the mid-19th century the area of the present-day Schöneberger Insel was still largely undeveloped. But it was already separated from the surroundings by railway tracks. To the east of the village of Schöneberg, in the middle of the fields, ran the tracks of the Berlin-Potsdam railway. This so-called “Stammbahn” (main line) was opened in 1838 as the first railway line in Prussia.
Around 1900 there was a broad railway junction here with six tracks: two tracks for the main line with long-distance and local trains, two for the Ringbahn that ran over the so-called “Südringspitzkehre” (South ring hairpin bend) to Potsdam station in Berlin, and two for the new Wannsee railway, opened in 1891. This section was also colloquially called the “Berlin Valley”.
A station for the Insel
In 1881 the Schöneberg railway station was opened at Kolonnenstrasse with a single side platform. At first the trains of the circular Ringbahn stopped here, which in those days also travelled on to the Potsdam station in Berlin. Due to increasing traffic the station was rebuilt in 1891, now with a middle platform and a neo-Gothic entrance building at the bridge called Sudanbrücke.
From 1932 on the station was named Kolonnenstrasse. In the course of major development plans the building was torn down in 1938 and replaced by a provisional station at present-day Czeminskistrasse. The station suffered destruction in the war and traffic on this line was discontinued in 1944. It was to take decades before the Insel again had a railway connection: the station at Julius-Leber-Brücke was opened in 2008.