Essential Architecture-  Frankfort on the Main (Frankfurt am Main)

Frankurt Hauptbahnhof


Hermann Eggert


Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, Germany




inner hall (built in 1888) is built in a NeoGothic style, the outer two halls (built in 1924) follow the style of NeoClassical.


stone vestibule (reception hall), 3 steel and glass vaults over perron (track hall)


  The opening of the station in 1889
Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof

Annual entry/exit 127.8 million
Key dates Opened 1888
1956 Electrified
1978 U-Bahn
2002-2006 Roof renovated

Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof (usually translated from German as Frankfurt (Main) Central Station, short form: Frankfurt (Main) Hbf) is the Hauptbahnhof for Frankfurt am Main and, along with Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, is one of the largest terminal stations in Europe. Regarding passenger volume alone, it is the second largest station outside Japan.


In the late 19th century, three stations were connecting the west of Frankfurt, the Gallusviertel, to various railways:

The Taunusbahn station (opened 1839), connecting Frankfurt to Wiesbaden
The Main-Neckar-Eisenbahn to Heidelberg (1848)) and the Main-Weser-Bahn to Kassel (1852)
The Main-Lahn-Bahn , with the Fahrtor station near the Eiserner Steg.

Building the new station
This solution 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 to be handled from 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 station opens
On August 18, 1888, after five years of construction, the Centralbahnhof Frankfurt was finally opened. 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 eastward of the new station, the Bahnhofsviertel was built up, finishing around 1900. Until the completion of Leipzig Hauptbahnhof in 1915, Frankfurt station was the largest in Europe.

Later extensions

In 1924 two neoclassicist halls were added on each side of the main hall, increasing the number of platforms to 24. During World War II, the building suffered only from minor damage (most notably to the windows in the main hall) and in 1956 it was fully electrified. One year later, Europe's then-largest signalbox went into functioning order, 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, featuring the city's first public escalator and including a large shopping mall, two stations 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 northern hall and rebuilding the hall after the stations were completed.

Between 2002 and 2006, the roof construction, which is a listed building, is being renovated. This involves the exchange of aged steel girders, installation of windows that were replaced by panels after World War II and a general clean-up of the hall construction. After the roof work is finished (and after the 2006 world cup), the station platforms will be remodeled, then the U-Bahn and S-Bahn levels will receive a brushup. This work is supposed to be finished in the 2010s.

The operational part of the station is being remodeled as well; the old signalbox has been recently replaced with an electronic signalbox. This is vital for the further operation of the station, as modifications to the old electrical system were prohibited since 1986, and so the system prevented planned works to improve capacity. The new signalbox that gone operational in late 2005 and will allow faster speeds into the station (up to 60 km/h) after the remodeling of the tracks, and the construction of a new bridge across the river Main.


The appearance of the station is divided into perron (track hall) and vestibule (reception hall). Whilst the inner hall (built in 1888) is built in a neogothic style, the outer two halls (built 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.


With thanks to , a website devoted to pre-war Frankfurt images.