Inside the Forgotten Ghost Stations of a Once-Divided Berlin

Just imagine: You’re on your typical morning commute to work when suddenly a warning comes over the loudspeaker: “Last stop in West Berlin!” You then descend slowly into the underground of a foreign country under socialist rule where you see phantom-like armed East German guards on dimly lit platforms peeking back at you through narrow slits in bricked huts. It’s no wonder these eerie stations were soon dubbed as “ghost stations” by West Berliners.

Although West Berlin subway maps labeled these stations “Bahnhöfe, auf denen die Züge nicht halten” (“stations at which the trains do not stop”), East Berlin subway maps did not depict Western lines or ghost stations at all, part of the scrupulous perfectionism of the GDR’s actions in cementing the division of the city.

Doing everything in their power to prevent the underground transport system from being used for an escape, barbed-wire fences were installed to prevent any would-be escapees from running into the track bed, and if someone were to break one or two barriers, an alarm would be triggered.

For more about Berlin’s forgotten ghost stations, keep reading on Atlas Obscura…