Berlin has its new metro line at last, already nicknamed the “Chancellor’s Metro” as it links the central railway station with parliament and the Brandenburg gate.
It has taken 13 years to build despite being the shortest in the country and has come in 25 percent over budget. At 320 million euros for a three minute ride of less than two kilometres, that is 178 000 euros a metre. Berlin is groaning under a 60 billion euro debt mountain, but everyone gets a free ride today for the line’s opening, and efforts have been made to make the “U55” experience a special one, with information points and computer terminals to make it user-friendly. “It’s very beautiful. There has been a lot of costs, but it was worth it. The most beautiful station is “Brandenburg Gate”. I think we can all be proud of it,” said one delighted traveller. But the line does not even link up to rest of the city’s underground network. That will only come when the U55 line reaches Alexanderplatz, around 2017.