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Deutsches Technikmuseum - February

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month February 2015

Photo: Four capital letters, made from sheet metal: S, B, E and L

Last memorabilia of a historic station © SDTB / C. Kirchner

Sheet metal letters from the Anhalter Bahnhof, ca. 1880

At first glance these large metal letters look like they could have been retrieved from a junk yard. And this is not far from the truth if you consider that the letters are leftovers that bear witness to the demise of the Anhalter Bahnhof.

"Principles for designing German railways"

The German Railway Association was founded in 1846/47. It published the "Grundzüge für die Gestaltung der Eisenbahnen Deutschlands" (Principles for designing German railways) in order to unify the different technical standards in use by the various early German railway companies.

Along with specifying a uniform track gauge it also included the requirement that "the distance to the next stations" must be posted in the railway stations. A sign made up of the letters shown here was consequently placed in the new, Franz Schwechten designed Anhalter Bahnhof that was built between 1874 and 1880. Because all trains leaving the Anhalter Bahnhof only travelled southwards.

B and W-photogrph: The letters to the distances to Dresden and Leipzig inside the station.

The original position of the letters in the Anhalter Bahnhof. Photo shoot from 1960 - source material: Landesarchiv Berlin, Bildnr. 67921

Because all trains leaving the Anhalter Bahnhof only travelled southwards, the next major stations were Dresden (187,7 km), Leipzig (163,0 km) and Halle (161,7 km).

The inscription was located on the eastern wall of the hall, which was the arrivals side of the station.

The font of the letters is called Egyptienne (in German, also "Block-Antiqua").

B and w-photograph: View of ruined hall wall with broken doors and windows. However, the inscriptions above the doors are still almost complete.

The original position of the letters for direction Halle. Photo shoot from 1960 / Zoom East wall of the Anhalter Bahnhof

The fate of the station

The partition of Germany led to the Anhalter Bahnhof being cut off from the transport network; passenger service was subsequently discontinued in 1952. Between 1959 and 1965, this station that had once so informed the cityscape was demolished despite a chorus of criticism.

Only the portal remains as a monument on Askanischer Platz.

There are also various fragments that were saved by employees of the "Administration of the Former Reichsbahn Assets", among them the letters displayed here, as well as the "Fürstenportal" (Prince’s entryway) at the entrance to our engine sheds.