Tramscape Tramway Photographs : Special Report

Frankfurt-am-Main : Germany
Frankfurt-am-Main, financial centre of Germany, and home to a growing network of underground railways, has a fascinating tramway history and posessed one of the largest networks in Europe. Tramscape's 285 photographs show Frankfurt's trams in 1979, 1984, 1987 and 1996, snapshots in time during a period of dramatic change as the city pursued a programme of removing tracks from the city centre, only for a massive public reaction to lead to a dramatic reversal in policy.




The survivor - but only just! Heated political debate forced the retention of the tram line through the Altstadt at the last minute even though it closely parallels an underground line

Not so lucky at Opernplatz. The opening of an underground tram route in 1986 lead to the closure of surface services here between the city centre and Bockenheimer Warte.

Trams from Prufling were cut back to a stub terminus at Grosse-Friedberger-Strasse, but in a reversal of policy, a new link was later built to the "southern" network of lines.

Frankfurt has committed to retaining the tram for the foreseeable future. New lines are on the drawing board - the first will be an extension from near the Messe into the developing Rebstock area. A second link to Preungesheim, via the Friedberger Landstrasse and Friedberger Warte is under investigation and a direct link for Neu-Isenburg to the Hauptbahnhof via Stresemannallee may also be built.

The Rebstock area lies alongside the new "Europaviertel", where an enormous expansion of office developments is expected. A branch from the Hauptbahnhof - Bockenheimer Warte U-Bahn line is the likeliest solution here. The "B" line between Bockenheimer Warte and Ginnheim is also scheduled to be built.

Further developments in the S-Bahn may be restricted due to the likely over-capacity in the city-centre tunnel, but it is intended that the network, currently concentrated in the western area will be developed in the east, particularly in the Rodgau area beyond Offenbach. The scope of heavy-rail developments will be influenced by the outcome of the so-called "Frankfurt 21" proposals, which involve a cross-city tunnel for main-line rail services. This will overcome the disadvantage of Frankfurt's Hauptbahnhof being a terminus station and will be of significant importance in improving Inter-City connections. It is also expected that creation a "through" station will free up large tracts of marshalling yard land for urban development. The scale of the proposals and associated cost mean that the plans are already being hotly debated and are unlikely to be realised in the medium term.

As Line 11 has shown, developments in Frankfurt rarely proceed without controversy and Frankfurt 21 is likely to continue this tradition.

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Strassenbahn Frankfurt-am-Main