Hannover Hauptbahnhof

Hannover Hauptbahnhof (German for Hanover main station) is the main railway station for the city of Hanover in Lower Saxony, Germany. The railway junction is one of the 21 stations listed as a railway Category 1 station by DB Station&Service. It is also the most important public transport hub of the region of Hanover and it is served regional and S-Bahn services. The station has six platforms with twelve platform tracks, and two through tracks without platforms. Every day it is used by 250,000 passengers and 622 trains stop at the platforms (as of October 2012). About 2,000 people work here.

Hannover Hauptbahnhof
Through station
Hannover Hauptbahnhof on Ernst-August-Platz
LocationHannover, Lower Saxony
Coordinates52°22′38″N 9°44′30″E
ArchitectHubert Stier
Other information
Station code2545
DS100 codeHH
  • 1843 (first station)
  • 1879 (current station building)
Passengers250,000 daily[1]
Hannover Hauptbahnhof
Location within Lower Saxony
Hannover Hauptbahnhof
Location within Europe
Hannover Hauptbahnhof
Hannover Hauptbahnhof (Europe)


The first station on the current site, a temporary building that served the line to Lehrte, was erected in 1843. Instead of building a monumental terminus, a through station was built along with the line, making it the first through station in a major German city.

The first central station (Central-Bahnhof) was built from 1845 to 1847. Its architect is not certain, but it is sure that the far-sighted city architect August Heinrich Andrae[2] was involved in selecting its specific location and that the Hanoverian court architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves and Ferdinand Schwarz contributed to it. It was built in a romantic-neoclassical style as a strictly symmetrical building. The massive masonry was covered in yellow plaster. Laves planned a new district, the Ernst-August-Stadt, for the area between Georgstraße and the railway. Roads led from several directions and converged on the station forecourt, the Ernst-August-Platz.

A wooden platform area was built next to the entrance building and on each side of the two tracks. That was enough for the first traffic because the still short trains running to the east and the west stopped at the same platform. There were no through trains initially. The first through train ran from 1 May 1851 between Berlin and Cologne. The first railway workshop was built opposite the station building. In 1853, the opening of the first section of the Southern Railway to Alfeld, Göttingen and Kassel made the through station into a railway junction. A marshalling yard was established in Hainholz to relieve the station in 1868.

The increasingly dense traffic on the railway created a problem since the railway line cut through the city. It was decided in 1873 to raise the railway line through the urban area by a height of 4.5 m (15 ft). The old station building was demolished in 1875. The route built between 1875 and 1879 became the model for the Berlin Stadtbahn and similar projects in other German cities. In 1876, a yard for general freight was established at Weidendamm.

Second Station of 1879

As the first station was built at street level and therefore hindered the expansion of the city, 8 km (5.0 mi) of railway track were laid for a new rail network that was grade-separated from the street system. In addition, the new station had a long system of tracks. After preparatory work in 1873 to relocate the workshops to Leinhausen and the marshalling yards to Hainholz and the construction of freight diversion routes, construction of the core network, which still exists, began in 1875.[3] The new station building was designed by Hubert Stier in the Renaissance Revival style. It was again a symmetrical building with a main hall and two wings, each of which was completed by a corner building. The eastern corner building with its Kaiserzimmer ("Emperor's room") had a separate driveway. The building was designed in yellow brick with red brick stripes and a sandstone base. The four platforms with seven platform tracks and two through tracks were spanned by two halls with a 37-metre span. After the demolition of the nearly 30-year-old station building, the construction of the new station began in April 1877. It was opened on 22 June 1879 after 26 months of construction. Access to the platforms was via three tunnels and there were two more tunnels for the transport of luggage and for postal traffic. The system of tracks finished in 1883 comprised seven platform tracks and two central through tracks for freight trains. The train sheds consisted of two separate halls, each 37 m (121 ft) wide and 167.5 m (550 ft) long with a 9.25 m (30.3 ft) wide space between them for the two through tracks. The construction cost 12.7 million marks for the buildings and 22.5 million marks for the entire station precinct.[4]

In 1910, a third hall was built between tracks 10 and 11. The new hall, made of steel, had a span of 27.5 m (90 ft) and a height of 15.3 m (50 ft) and was built to a design by municipal architect Möller. Of particular operational significance for the Hanover–Hamburg railway was the completion of the Hasenbahn ("rabbit line")—a branch line planned in 1913 from the Heath Railway from Langenhagen via Großburgwedel to Celle: from May 1938 trains could run directly between Hamburg and southern Germany without running through Lehrte; it was no longer necessary for trains to reverse in Hanover.

In the timetable of summer 1939, Hanover station had a total of 144 scheduled long-distance arrivals and departures. It was the most important junctions on Deutsche Reichsbahn’s long-distance network after the terminal stations of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main and the main stations of Leipzig and Duisburg.[5]

War damage and reconstruction

The station was largely destroyed during the air raids on Hanover in July and October 1943. Only the skeleton of the halls and the outer walls of the entrance building remained. It took four days to re-open one track.

On 13 June 1945, passenger services ran for the first time after the war to Minden, Nienburg and Göttingen. On 14 August, passenger services were significantly expanded. Passenger services again ran from Hanover to Bremerhaven, Duisburg, Hamelin, Göttingen, Braunschweig and Uelzen. On 15 August 1946, Hanover was again served for the first time after the war by the Nord Express running from Paris by Berlin and thus reconnected to the international long-distance network.

After the severe bomb damage, the reconstruction of the entrance building began in the summer of 1948, resulting in a facade with newly designed interiors and the remaining steel work of the roofs of the old halls was removed and the platforms were covered by temporary wooden canopies. The platforms were rebuilt from 1959 to 1961 and the baggage platforms disappeared as baggage lifts were built on the passenger platforms. The middle entrance was widened, the side pedestrian tunnel was closed and the platforms received new canopies. Since 1957, signals and switches were controlled by a mechanical interlocking. In 1963, the fifth platform was extended on track 12 (tracks 5 and 6 were through tracks without platforms). Coming from the south, electrification of the tracks reached Hannover Hauptbahnhof on 26 May 1963. Electrification was extended to Lehrte on 20 December 1963 and to Bremen on 14 December 1964. The connection to Hamburg was electrified at the end of 1964 and the two tracks to Celle were electrified on 6 April 1965. The overhead line from Lehrte via Brunswick to Helmstedt was not completed until 1976.

Construction of the Hanover StadtBahn

The construction of the Hanover Stadtbahn caused far-reaching alterations to the station. Since the entire station had to be operated during the reconstruction, construction was only possible by blocking tracks. Between July 1969 and the spring of 1973, a sixth platform was built on tracks 13 and 14.[6] Upon completion, two tracks were blocked from 1970 to 1975, through which the Stadtbahn tunnel and an overlying pedestrian level were built. For this, the central pedestrian tunnel was blocked and access to the platforms was via the re-opened side tunnel. As part of this restructuring the through track 6 was shifted to lie between platform tracks 8 and 9, while the through track 5 (now 40) remained at the old place (now 80). Then the station was rebuilt. The platforms including the canopies were also renewed. The western Lister Meile underpass between the main post office and the parcel post office located on Raschplatz was connected by long ramps for the transport of baggage and mail to the platforms.

With the introduction of the Intercity network in 1971, Hanover became a transfer hub, where it was possible to change between IC trains on the same platform. A passenger information system with information displays on the stairways and platforms was installed in the spring of 1988.[7] With a total of 323 arrivals and departures of regularly scheduled long-distance trains, the station was the fourth most-important junction in the Deutsche Bundesbahn network in the summer 1989 timetable.[5]

Construction began on Deutsche Bahn's largest electronic interlocking to date in 1993. The system, which cost about 100 million marks, was designed to control about 5,000 trains and shunting movements each day, 279 sets of points and 535 signals by ten dispatchers.[8] According to the manufacturer, it was the largest and most advanced electronic interlocking in the world in August 1998.[9]

The station was the most important node in Deutsche Bahn network in the summer 1996 timetable, with 398 arrivals and departures of regularly scheduled long-distance trains each day.[5]

Remodelling for Expo 2000

The station was again completely rebuilt for Expo 2000: the entrance building was gutted to the outer walls and rebuilt; the central tunnel was enlarged and opened to the platforms in order to allow in daylight; and passenger lifts to the platforms were installed. The conversion created a promenade in the station. Among other things, a 7,000 m2 (75,000 sq ft) shopping area was built in the entrance building after the relocation of the ticket office and the closure of the system for transporting baggage.

Between the summer of 2004 and the spring of 2006, the passageway in the basement was extensively modernised and adapted to become part of the Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade from Kröpcke to Raschplatz. There is a wide variety of outlets in the 20,000 m2 (215,000 sq ft) of retail space on two levels, and most stores are open to 10 PM on weekdays.

The Hanover S-Bahn was opened on 28 May 2000. Platforms 1 and 2 now serve S-Bahn services towards H-Bismarckstraße and Wunstorf and platforms 13 and 14 serve S-Bahn services towards Lehrte and Celle. At the same time, the approaches to the station were changed: in the west an additional pair of tracks was built south of the existing tracks for the S-Bahn track to Lehrte and in the east an additional track was built to the north of the existing tracks.

Train services

Hannover Hauptbahnhof is served by some 622 trains daily, excluding the Hanover Stadtbahn and tramway. Hannover Hauptbahnhof connects the north-south ICE lines from Hamburg to Munich with the west-east lines from Dortmund and Cologne towards Berlin.

The station is served by the following services:[10]

Long-distance services

LineRouteInterval (min)
ICE 10 Berlin – (Wolfsburg –) Hannover Bielefeld Hamm 
(portions split/joined in Hamm)
Dortmund Bochum Duisburg Düsseldorf 060 (120)
Hagen Wuppertal Cologne
ICE 11

Hamburg-Altona Hannover Göttingen Fulda Frankfurt Stuttgart Munich

Individual services at night
ICE 20 Hamburg Hannover Göttingen Frankfurt Mannheim Karlsruhe Freiburg Basel Bad Basel SBB 120
ICE 22 Hamburg Hannover – Göttingen – Frankfurt Frankfurt Airport Mannheim Stuttgart 120
ICE 25 Hamburg – (/ Bremen –) Hannover – Göttingen Fulda Würzburg Nürnberg Ingolstadt Munich 060 (120)
ICE 26 Stralsund Rostock – Hamburg Hannover – Göttingen Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe Marburg – Frankfurt Heidelberg – Karlsruhe 120
IC 32 Berlin – Wolfsburg Hannover Münster Recklinghausen – Düsseldorf – Cologne – Koblenz – Mannheim – Stuttgart Ulm Individual services
ICE 43 Hannover – Bielefeld – Dortmund – Wuppertal – Cologne Frankfurt Airport – Mannheim – Karlsruhe – Freiburg – Basel SBB Individual services
IC 55 Dresden Riesa Leipzig Halle Magdeburg Hannover – Bielefeld – Hamm – Dortmund – Wuppertal – Köln 120
IC 56 Norddeich Mole Emden Leer Oldenburg Bremen Hannover – Magdeburg – Halle – Leipzig 120
IC 77 Berlin – Wolfsburg Hannover Osnabrück Hengelo Amersfoort Amsterdam 120
FLX 30 Berlin Südkreuz Berlin Berlin-SpandauWolfsburg – Hannover – Bielefeld Dortmund Essen Duisburg Düsseldorf Cologne 1 train pair per day
NJ 401 Hamburg – Lüneburg Hannover – Frankfurt – Baden-Baden – Basel – Zürich Individual services, operator: ÖBB
NJ 491 Hamburg Hannover Passau Wels Linz Amstetten St. Pölten Vienna Individual services, operator: ÖBB
NJ 40491 Hamburg Hannover – Würzburg – Nürnberg – Augsburg – Kufstein – Wörgl – Innsbruck Individual services, operator: ÖBB
FlixNight Hamburg-Altona – Hamburg Hbf Hannover Hbf – Freiburg im Breisgau – Lörrach 1 train pair on Sat and Sun
Preceding station   Deutsche Bahn   Following station
ICE 10
via Düsseldorf/Wuppertal - Hamm (Westf) - Hannover
Every 2 hours only
towards Düsseldorf or Cologne
towards Düsseldorf or Cologne
ICE 20
towards Basel SBB
ICE 22
towards Stuttgart
ICE 25
via Hannover - Fulda - Würzburg - Nürnberg
joined / split
towards Munich
ICE 26
towards Karlsruhe
Intercity (DB) 140
towards Berlin
IC/EC 32
towards Stuttgart
towards Cologne
IC 55
towards Dresden
IC 56
towards Leipzig
towards Berlin Ost
IC/EC 77
towards Amsterdam

Regional services

Line Route Interval (min) Operator
RE 1 Norddeich Mole Emden – Leer Oldenburg – Bremen Verden Nienburg Neustadt am Rübenberge – Hannover 120 (one additional peak-hour service from/to Bremen) (hourly service to Bremen with RE 8) DB Regio Nord
RE 2 (Uelzen Celle – Langenhagen –) Hannover – Sarstedt – Kreiensen Northeim Göttingen (120) 60 (hourly service to Hanover and Uelzen with RE 3) Metronom
RE 3 Hannover - Langenhagen Celle Uelzen Lüneburg – Winsen – Hamburg   120 (hourly service between Hanover and Uelzen with RE 2) Metronom
RE 8 Bremerhaven-Lehe Bremerhaven – Bremen – Verden – Nienburg Neustadt am Rübenberge – Hannover 120 (one additional peak-hour service from/to Bremen and Oldenburg) (hourly service to Bremen with RE 1) DB Regio Nord
RE 10 Hannover – Sarstedt Hildesheim Salzgitter-Ringelheim Goslar Bad Harzburg 060 erixx
RE 30 Wolfsburg – Gifhorn Lehrte Hanover 060 Enno (Metronom)
RE 60 Braunschweig – Peine – Lehrte Hannover – (Minden Löhne – Osnabrück Rheine) 120 (with RE 70 approximately half-hourly service between Hanover and Braunschweig, hourly to Löhne) Westfalenbahn
RE 70 Braunschweig – Peine – Lehrte Hannover – (Minden – Löhne – Bielefeld) 120 (with RE 60 approximately half-hourly service between Hanover and Braunschweig, hourly to Löhne) Westfalenbahn
RB 38 Hannover – Langenhagen – Schwarmstedt – Walsrode Soltau – Schneverdingen Buchholz i.d.N. (– Hamburg-Harburg) 060 (at the weekend every 120 minutes to Hamburg-Harburg) erixx
Preceding station   Deutsche Bahn   Following station
RE 1Terminus
RE 8Terminus
Preceding station   Metronom   Following station
Langenhagen Mitte
toward Uelzen
RE 2
toward Göttingen
TerminusRE 30
Preceding station   Erixx   Following station
TerminusRE 10
Die Harz-Heide-Bahn
toward Bad Harzburg
Langenhagen Mitte
toward Buchholz
RB 38
Preceding station   WestfalenBahn   Following station
toward Rheine Hbf
RE 60
RE 70

Hannover S-Bahn

Hannover Hauptbahnhof is served by all S-bahn services. It is in Zone 1 of Hanover.

  • Hannover S-Bahn services S1 Minden - Haste - Wunstorf - Hannover - Weetzen - Haste
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S2 Nienburg - Wunstorf - Hannover - Weetzen - Haste
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S3 Hannover - Lehrte - Hildesheim
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S4 Bennemühlen - Langenhagen - Hannover - Hannover Messe/Laatzen - Hildesheim
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S5 Hannover Airport - Langenhagen - Hannover - Weetzen - Hameln - Paderborn
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S6 Hannover - Celle
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S7 Hannover - Lehrte - Celle
  • Hannover S-Bahn services S8 Hannover Airport - Langenhagen - Hannover - Hannover Messe/Laatzen
Preceding station   S-Bahn Hannover   Following station
toward Minden Hbf
S 1
toward Haste
toward Nienburg
S 2
toward Haste
TerminusS 3
toward Bennemühlen
S 4
S 5
TerminusS 6
toward Celle
TerminusS 7
toward Celle
S 8

Tram services

Hannover Hauptbahnhof is served by all A, B and D lines. It's the terminus of line 8 and the event line 18. The station is the only one on the Hanover Stadtbahn where one can change from A to B line via Cross-platform interchange.

TowardsPrevious stationHannover HbfNext stationTowards
Alte HeideWerderstraße2KröpckeRethen
Döhren Bf.
HauptbahnhofTerminus18 (during the Hanover Fairground)KröpckeMesse/Nord


  1. "Facts & figures". Deutsche Bahn. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  2. Alfred Gottwaldt (1962). Hannover und seine Eisenbahnen (in German). Düsseldorf: alba. ISBN 3-87094-345-9.
  3. Theodor Unger (1882). Hannover, Führer durch die Stadt und ihre Bauten (in German). Hannover: Klindworth's. pp. 207ff. (Reprinted in 1978 by Curt A. Vincenz (ISBN 3-87870-154-3))
  4. Theodor Unger (1882). Hannover, Führer durch die Stadt und ihre Bauten (in German). Hannover: Klindworth's. p. 228. (Reprinted in 1978 by Curt A. Vincenz (ISBN 3-87870-154-3))
  5. Ralph Seidel (2005). Der Einfluss veränderter Rahmenbedingungen auf Netzgestalt und Frequenzen im Schienenpersonenfernverkehr Deutschlands. Dissertation for the University of Leipzig (in German). Leipzig. pp. 27, 46, 62.
  6. "Hauptbahnhof Hannover hat zwölf Bahnsteiggleise". Die Bundesbahn (in German) (8): 548&nbsp, f. 1973.
  7. "Zuginformation durch Computer". Die Bundesbahn (in German) (9): 475. 1988.
  8. "Neues Stellwerk für 100 Millionen Mark". Die Deutsche Bahn (in German) (1): 87. 1993.
  9. "Siemens übergab das größte elektronische Knotenstellwerk der Welt". Eisenbahntechnische Rundschau (in German). 45 (11): 673&nbsp, f. 1998.
  10. Timetables for Hannover Hbf station (in German)
  • 140 Jahre Eisenbahndirektion Hannover 1843–1983 (in German). Hannover: Bundesbahndirektion Hannover. 1983. pp. 49–58. ASIN B005CYLPQM.
  • Alfred Gottwaldt (1992). Hannover und seine Eisenbahnen (in German). Düsseldorf: Alba. ISBN 3-87094-345-9.
  • Gerhard Greß (2005). Verkehrsknoten Hannover (in German). Freiburg: EK-Verlag. ISBN 3-88255-250-6.
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