Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof

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Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Deutsche Bahn SS-Bahn-Logo.svg UU-Bahn.svg  
Terminal station
Hauptbahnhof Frankfurt.jpg
LocationFrankfurt, Hesse
Coordinates50°6′25″N 8°39′45″E / 50.10694°N 8.66250°E / 50.10694; 8.66250
Owned byDeutsche Bahn
Operated byDB Station&Service
  • 24 mainline (26 tracks on one level)
  • 4 S-Bahn (Tiefbahnhof)
  • 4 U-Bahn (3 for passengers)
  • 3 × 2 Tram
ArchitectHermann Eggert and Johann Wilhelm Schwedler
Architectural style
Other information
Station code1866
DS100 codeFF
Fare zoneRMV
Opened18 August 1888; 131 years ago (1888-08-18)
Passengers450,000 daily
Preceding station   DB Fernverkehr   Following station
towards Munich
ICE 11
reverses out
towards Hamburg or Berlin
ICE 12
reverses out
towards Stuttgart Hbf
ICE 15
reverses out
towards Berlin or Warnemünde
towards Wiesbaden Hbf
ICE 20
reverses out
towards Basel SBB
towards Stuttgart Hbf
ICE 22
reverses out
towards Kiel Hbf
ICE 31
reverses out
towards Munich or Regensburg
towards Basel SBB
towards Dortmund Hbf
ICE 41
reverses out
towards Munich
towards Cologne
ICE 49Terminus
towards Wiesbaden Hbf
ICE 50
reverses out
towards Dresden or Leipzig
ICE 78Terminus
ICE 79
towards Paris Est
towards Marseille
towards Zurich Hbf
ICE 87
towards Dortmund Hbf
ICE 91
reverses out
towards Vienna
towards Konstanz Hbf
IC 26
reverses out
IC/EC 31
reverses out
towards Passau Hbf
IC 50Terminus
towards Salzburg Hbf
IC/EC 62
Preceding station   DB Regio Bayern   Following station
TerminusRE 54
Main-Spessart Railway
toward Bamberg
TerminusRE 55
Main-Spessart Railway
Preceding station   DB Regio Mitte   Following station
toward Koblenz Hbf
RE 2
Left Rhine Railway
TerminusRE 50
Kinzig Valley Railway
toward Fulda
RB 22
Main-Lahn Railway
TerminusRB 51
Kinzig Valley Railway
Preceding station   Hessische Landesbahn   Following station
RB 12
Königstein Railway
TerminusRB 58
Main-Spessart Railway
toward Laufach
Preceding station   VIAS   Following station
toward Neuwied
RB 10
TerminusRB 82
Odenwald Railway
toward Eberbach
Preceding station   vlexx   Following station
RE 3
Preceding station   Rhine-Main S-Bahn   Following station
S 1
S 2
toward Dietzenbach
toward Bad Soden
S 3
toward Kronberg
S 4
toward Langen
S 5
toward Südbahnhof
toward Friedberg
S 6
toward Südbahnhof
S 7Terminus
S 8
toward Hanau Hbf
S 9
toward Hanau Hbf
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof is located in Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Location within Frankfurt
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof is located in Hesse
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Location within Hesse
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof is located in Germany
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Location within Germany
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof is located in Europe
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof
Location within Europe

Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof (German for Frankfurt (Main) main station), often abbreviated as Frankfurt (Main) Hbf and sometimes translated as Frankfurt central station,[1] is the busiest railway station in Frankfurt, Germany.[1] The affix "Main" comes from the city's full name, Frankfurt am Main ("Frankfurt on the Main"); because of its location in the middle of Germany and usage as a transport hub for long and short distance travelling, Deutsche Bahn refers to it as the most important station in Germany.


19th century[edit]

In the late 19th century, three stations connected Frankfurt to the west, north and south, the

Those three stations were placed beside each other on the then Gallustor (today: Willy-Brandt-Platz).

Building the new station[edit]

A postcard image of the Hauptbahnhof circa 1915

This situation was considered impracticable due to rising passenger figures in the 19th century, so plans were laid out as early as 1866. At first, a large scale station with up to 34 platforms was considered, then the number got reduced to 18. Post and baggage handlings had their own underground facilities, and the city council demanded the station to be moved further away from the city. In the end, in 1881, the German architect Hermann Eggert won the design contest for the station hall, his runner-up in the contest, Johann Wilhelm Schwedler was made chief engineer for the steel-related works; the new station was placed about 1 km to the west of the first three stations. The platforms were covered by three iron-and-glass halls.

The station opens[edit]

View through the platform hall of the station
Railway station platform 18

The station was built by the contractor Philipp Holzmann with construction starting in 1883;[2] the Central-Bahnhof Frankfurt was finally opened on 18 August 1888. Right on the evening of the opening day, a train ran over the buffer stop and the locomotive was damaged. Over the course of the next few years, the area to the east of the new station, the Bahnhofsviertel, was built; it was completed around 1900; until the completion of Leipzig Hauptbahnhof in 1915, Frankfurt station was the largest in Europe. As of today (2014), the 24 platforms with 26 tracks on one level probably make it the world's largest one-level railway hall.

Later extensions[edit]

The 1957 signal box

In 1924 two neoclassical halls were added on each side of the main hall, increasing the number of platforms to 24. During World War II, the building was partly damaged (most notably the windows in the halls covering the platforms). In 1956 the station was fully electrified. One year later, Europe's then-largest signal box was commissioned, which, having been built in a contemporary style of the time has now become a listed building.

Starting with the construction of the B-Tunnel for the Frankfurt U-Bahn facilities in 1971, a subterranean level was added in front of the main building, featuring the city's first public escalator and including a large shopping mall, one station each for the U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains, an air raid shelter and a public car park; the subterranean stations were opened in 1978 and were built in the cut and cover method, which involved the demolition of the second northern hall and rebuilding it after the stations were completed.

Between 2002 and 2006, the roof construction, which is a listed building, was renovated; this involved the exchange of aged steel girders, reinstallation of windows that were replaced by panels after World War II and a general clean-up of the hall construction.

The operational part of the station is being remodeled as well; the old signal box has been recently replaced with an electronic signal box; this was vital to improve capacity of the station. The new signal box became operational in late 2005 and will allow faster speeds into the station (up to 60 km/h) after the remodelling of the tracks.


Architectural detail on the front of Frankfurt Am Main Hauptbahnhof

The appearance of the station is divided into perron (track hall) and vestibule (reception hall). Dominant in those parts built in 1888 are Neo-Renaissance features, the outer two halls, added in 1924 follow the style of neoclassicism; the eastern façade of the vestibule features a large clock with two symbolic statues for day and night. Above the clock, the word Hauptbahnhof and the Deutsche Bahn logo are situated.

The roof of the front hall carries a monumental statue of Atlas supporting the World on his shoulders, in this case assisted by two allegorical figures representing Iron and Steam.

Operational usage[edit]

In brief
Total number of tracks: 120
Number of passenger tracks
above ground:
26 (24 main line, 2 branch)
3 tramway stations (2 tracks each)
below ground: 4 S-Bahn tracks,
4 Stadtbahn tracks (3 in usage)
Daily trains:
(excluding Stadtbahn & tramway)
342 long-distance
290 regional
Passengers (daily): 350,000

The station's terminal layout has posed some unique problems ever since the late 20th century, since all trains have to change directions and reverse out of the station to continue on to their destination; this causes long turn-around times and places the passengers in the opposite direction of where they had been sitting. There have been several attempts to change this; the last project, called Frankfurt 21, was to put the whole station underground, connect it with tunnels also to the east, and so avoid the disadvantages of the terminal layout. This would be financed by selling the air rights over the area now used for tracks as building ground for skyscraper, but this soon proved unrealistic, and the project was abandoned.

Frankfurt is the third-busiest railway station outside Japan and the busiest in Germany.[citation needed]

Long distance services[edit]

As for long-distance traffic, the station profits greatly from its location in the heart of Europe; 13 of the 24 ICE lines call at the station, as well as 2 of the 3 ICE Sprinter lines. To ease the strain on the Hauptbahnhof, some ICE lines now call at Frankfurt Airport station and at Frankfurt (Main) Süd instead of Hauptbhanhof.

There are also long-distance night trains from Frankfurt, e.g. to Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris and Rome.[3]

Local services[edit]


With regard to regional traffic, Frankfurt Hbf is the main hub in the RMV network, offering connections to Koblenz, Limburg, Kassel, Nidda, Stockheim, Siegen, Fulda, Gießen, Aschaffenburg, Würzburg, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Dieburg, Eberbach, Worms and Saarbrücken with fifteen regional lines calling at the main station.

Line Route
RE 2 Frankfurt – Frankfurt AirportRüsselsheimMainz – Bingen (Rhein) – Koblenz
RE 3 Frankfurt – Frankfurt Airport – Rüsselsheim – Mainz – Bingen – Koblenz/Bad KreuznachSaarbrücken
RE 20 FrankfurtFrankfurt-HöchstNiedernhausen (Taunus)Limburg (Lahn)
RE 30 FrankfurtFriedberg (Hess)GießenMarburg (Lahn)Treysa – Wabern (Bz Kassel) – Kassel
RE 50 FrankfurtFrankfurt SouthOffenbachHanauFulda
RE 54 Frankfurt – Maintal – Hanau – Aschaffenburg – Würzburg
RE 55 Frankfurt – Offenbach – Hanau – Aschaffenburg – Würzburg
RE 60 FrankfurtDarmstadtBensheimWeinheim (Bergstr)Mannheim
RE 70 FrankfurtGroß Gerau-Dornberg – Riedstadt-GoddelauGernsheimBiblis – Mannheim
RE 85 Frankfurt – Offenbach – Hanau – BabenhausenGroß-Umstadt Wiebelsbach (– Erbach (Odenw))
RE 98 Frankfurt – Friedberg – Gießen – Marburg – Treysa – Wabern – Kassel
RE 99 Frankfurt – Friedberg – Gießen – Wetzlar – Dillenburg – Haiger – Siegen
RB 10 Frankfurt – Frankfurt-Höchst – Wiesbaden – Rüdesheim (Rhein) – Koblenz – Neuwied
RB 12 Frankfurt – Frankfurt-Höchst – KelkheimKönigstein (Taunus)
RB 15 FrankfurtBad HomburgFriedrichsdorfWehrheimNeu-AnspachUsingenGrävenwiesbachBrandoberndorf
RB 22 Frankfurt – Frankfurt-Höchst – Niedernhausen (Taunus) – Limburg (Lahn)
RB 34 FrankfurtBad Vilbel – Niederdorfelden – NidderauAltenstadt (Hess)Glauburg-Stockheim
RB 40 Frankfurt – Friedberg (Hess) – Butzbach – Gießen – Wetzlar – Herborn (Dillkr) – Dillenburg
RB 41 Frankfurt – Friedberg (Hess) – Butzbach – Gießen – Marburg (Lahn) – CölbeKirchhain (Bz Kassel)StadtallendorfNeustadt – Treysa
RB 48 Frankfurt– Friedberg (Hess) – BeienheimReichelsheim (Wetterau)Nidda
RB 51 Frankfurt – Offenbach (Main) Hbf – Hanau – LangenselboldGelnhausenWächtersbach (– Bad Soden-Salmünster)
RB 58 Frankfurt – Frankfurt South – Frankfurt EastMaintal Ost – Hanau – Aschaffenburg
RB 61 FrankfurtDreieich-Buchschlag – Rödermark-Ober Roden – Dieburg
RB 67 Frankfurt – Darmstadt – Bensheim – Heppenheim (Bergstr) – Weinheim (Bergstr) – Mannheim
RB 68 Frankfurt – Darmstadt – Bensheim – Heppenheim – Weinheim (Bergstr) – Heidelberg
RB 82 FrankfurtDarmstadt NordReinheim (Odenw) – Groß-Umstadt Wiebelsbach – Erbach (– Eberbach)

The subterranean S-Bahn station is the most important station in the S-Bahn Rhein-Main network, used by all Frankfurt S-Bahn lines, except line S 7, which terminates at the surface station.

Line Route
S 7 Frankfurt (Main) Hbf – Walldorf (Hess) – Mörfelden – Groß Gerau-Dornberg – Riedstadt-Goddelau

Other services[edit]

Tram connections are offered by TraffiQ, with tram lines 11 and 12 (station Hauptbahnhof/Münchener Straße), 16, 17, 20, 21 and the Ebbelwei-Expreß; the lines U4 and U5 call at the subterranean Stadtbahn stop.

Preceding station   Frankfurt U-Bahn   Following station
U 4
toward Enkheim
TerminusU 5
toward Preungesheim


  1. ^ a b, City of Frankfurt am Main, "Frankfurt central station is the most important rail transport hub in Germany."
  2. ^ Groß, p. 50
  3. ^ Alle Verbindungen auf einen Blick


  • Bundesbahndirektion Frankfurt am Main: Abfahrt 1888, Ankunft 1988: 100 Jahre Hauptbahnhof Frankfurt am Main, HESTRA-Verlag, Darmstadt 1988, ISBN 3-7771-0215-6
  • Groß, Lothar (2012). Made in Germany: Deutschlands Wirtschaftsgeschichte von der Industralisierung bis heute Band 1: 1800 - 1945. Books on demand. ISBN 978-3-8482-1042-8.
  • Rödel, Volker. Der Hauptbahnhof zu Frankfurt am Main. Aufstieg, Fall und Wiedergeburt eines Großstadtbahnhofs = Arbeitshefte des Landesamtes für Denkmalpflege Hessen 8, Stuttgart 2006.
  • Setzepfandt, Wolf-Christian. Architekturführer Frankfurt am Main. 3. Auflage. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin August 2002, ISBN 3-496-01236-6, S. 33.
  • Schomann, Heinz. Der Frankfurter Hauptbahnhof. Ein Beitrag zur Architektur- und Eisenbahngeschichte der Gründerzeit, 1983, ISBN 3-421-02801-X

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°06′25″N 8°39′45″E / 50.10694°N 8.66250°E / 50.10694; 8.66250