By train to Braunschweig
Although Braunschweig is located off the high-speed train line between Hanover and Berlin, its train connections are excellent for a city of its size. At least hourly connections are available to Hanover, Magdeburg, the Harz mountains and Wolfsburg. Long-distance trains (be aware that ICE and IC trains require different fares) run via Berlin, Göttingen and Hanover to distances as far as Cologne, Basel and Munich – at least every two hours. Check out www.bahn.de for information about fares and timetables.
Braunschweig Hauptbahnhof, the central train station, is 1,6 kms to he southeas of he old town. If you do not want to walk, use tram lines 1,2 and 5 and get out at "Schloss" to ge to the old town. Note that you can use Braunschweig's public transport for free if you arrive with a Niedersachsenticket (day ticket for regional train use in Lower Saxony).
Public Transport in Braunschweig
Braunschweig offers a good network of public transport consisiting of several bus and tram lines. If you come to visit Braunschweig with a Niedersachsen-ticket from the Deutsche Bahn (German railway), you can use Braunschweig's buses and trams for free. Otherwise, you will find their actual fares on the BSVAG website via the link below (German only).
However, as Braunschweig is not really big, as a tourists you'll most probably use only the link between the train station and the city centre and maybe the trams to Richmond castle. Going back to the central train station from the stop „Schloss“ in front of the palace can be confusing. Line 1 and 2 trains bound for the train station leave to the south, line 5 trains to the north. The journy time is approximately the same and all three lines reach the station – the just take different ways..
Cycling in Braunschweig
Like many other German cities, Braunschweig was radically redesigned in the 1950s and 60s during the darkest ages of auto mania, so to this day the city is disfigured by numerous oversized streets for automobiles.
In the meantime, however, they have also managed to build an extensive network of cycling lanes (using of course only a small fraction of the land taken up by motor vehicles), and for the past couple of decades the city council has been actively promoting bicycle travel as a sensible alternative to the ubiquitous heart-attack machines.
On one of my visits to Braunschweig in the 1990s I was very impressed with an advertising campaign that the council was running, urging cyclists to keep a distance of one meter from parked cars, to avoid getting doored. I can't recall having seen such a campaign in any other city.
So yes, you can and should cycle in Braunschweig. Lots of people do it.
Second, third and fourth photos: More cyclists in the Braunschweig city center.
Fifth photo: Recreational cycling is also very popular in Braunschweig. These folks are on one of the paths by the Oker River just south of the city center.
General German Bicycle Club (ADFC)
The Braunschweig chapter of the ADFC has its office and a self-help workshop here at Eulenstraße 5. The workshop is run entirely by volunteers, and is open for three to five hours on Monday through Friday afternoons at various times. The Monday afternoon sessions are run "by women for women".
The workshop rents out bicycles at the rate of EUR 2.00 per day for a simple bike without gears, 3.00 for a simple five-gear bike and 6.00 for a seven-gear bike. ADFC members and students from the Technical University pay half price. (Prices as of 2007.)
These are very reasonable prices, but the rental bikes here are not a good option for tourists because the workshop has such short opening hours and is quite far from the railroad station.
As I have mentioned a few times before, I am proud to be a member of the ADFC, but of course I am a member in Frankfurt, not Braunschweig.
Second photo: Signboard at the ADFC.
In the basement of the main railroad station there is a bicycle station with storage facilities for up to 471 bicycles. You can also rent a bicycle here, which is what I did, or you can have your bike cleaned or repaired.
Parking costs EUR 0.70 for one day, 7.00 for a month or 70.00 for a year. The customers are typically commuters who ride their bicycles to the station and then take the train to work, for instance to Hannover.
The rental fee for a city-bike is EUR 6.00 for a day or 20.00 for a week. I paid their weekend rate of EUR 13.00 for three days. (These are the 2007 prices.) Unlike most other rental places, they did not want a deposit, though they did ask to see my passport.
Their opening hours are Monday through Friday 5.30 to 22.30, Saturday 6.00 to 21.00 and Sunday 8.00 to 21.00. The bicycle station is run by the Braunschweig chapter of AWO, the Workers' Welfare Organization.
Second photo: In the bicycle station. The sign in the window on the right advertises "rust-free bicycle parking".
Third photo: In the bicycle repair shop.
Fourth photo: Bicycles on the storage racks.
Fifth photo: Berliner Platz with the bicycle station in the center, the railroad station on the right and the roofed-over tram and bus stops on the left.
Main railroad station
The current main railroad station on Berliner Platz in Braunschweig was opened in 1960, replacing the old station that had been in use since 1845.
Braunschweig is a stop on the InterCityExpress (ICE) route from Frankfurt am Main to Berlin, with sixteen or seventeen direct trains per day in each direction. The journey from Frankfurt to Braunschweig takes two hours and forty-five minutes (if the train happens to be on time), with stops in Hanau, Fulda, Kassel-Willhelmshöhe, Göttingen and Hildesheim.
Second photo: The first thing you see when you come out of the station is a vast expanse of asphalt, with multi-lane motorway-like streets coming in from three directions. No wonder, since this whole area was designed in the late 1950s, when the prevailing ideology was to make cities fit for automobiles.
Third photo: If you look more closely, though, you will see that there are also tram tracks, bicycle paths and even sidewalks going off in all directions as well. So your best bet is to rent a bicycle and make a swift departure from this sterile and inhospitable part of the city, just as this lady is doing.
Trams and buses
Braunschweig has had electric trams since 1897 (they were horse-drawn before that), and today there is an extensive system of trams and buses going all over the city and the surrounding area.
Actually I think it would be rather depressing just to sit in a tram and vegetate when you could be out cycling, but for non-cyclists the trams are of course a much better option than stinking up the city with automobiles.
Second photo: Tram number 4 at the main station.
Third photo: Tram leaving the main station.
Old railway station
This monumental building served as the main railroad station in Braunschweig for 115 years, from 1845 to 1960. This was a dead-end station, meaning all the tracks ended here, so the trains had to go out the same way they came in.
Since at that time it was not yet possible to drive the trains from both ends, this meant uncoupling the locomotive at the front of the train and attaching a new one at the back. This seems not to have been a big issue in the nineteenth century, but started getting on people's nerves in the twentieth.
In 1960 this old station was replaced by the current main station on Berliner Platz, which is a through station. The old station building has since been modernized and is now used as a bank headquarters.
Steam locomotive 01 1063
For over thirty years now, since April 29, 1977, this steam locomotive has been on display in front of the main railroad station in Braunschweig.
This locomotive was in active use on the German railways for thirty-five years, from 1940 to 1975. After that, it was the last steam locomotive to be repaired, overhauled and painted at the steam engine repair plant in Braunschweig, which was closed shortly thereafter.
Since the last steam locomotives were phased out in the 1970s, most of the main lines on the German railways have been electrified, and the non-electrified branch lines are served by diesel traction.
Braunschweig hauptbahnhof is a fairly central hub and trains to destinations such as Gottingen, Hanover, Hamburg, Berlin leave regularly. ICE trains leave from Braunschweig and you can get to Berlin in only an hour on one of these trains.
Regular regional bahns also run and you can easily venture into the Harz and towns such as Goslar and Werringerode on these comfortable trains from Braunschweig. Of course, regional trains also service the areas mentioned above, Hanover etc, but usually in approximately double the time.
As you can see by the picture it is also a transport hub for the towns buses and trams and these services also leave regularly all days of the week to different destinations around the area.
There are a number of buses and trams within Braunschwieg which leave regularly to a wide range of destinations. A 90 minute ticket in one zone (this will cover most of central Braunschwieg) will set you back about 1.70 Euro. A 90 minute ticket for two zones is 2.40 Euro and will get you to as far as Wolfenbuttel. Daily, weekly and monthly tickets are also available. Timetables can be found at the web address mentioned below:
It's strange, there's ALWAYS traffic jams around Braunschweig, especially on the A2 - caused by road works, speed limits and heavy traffic to Berlin.
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Getting there by car
Braunschweig can easily be reched by autobahn A2 (Berlin-Hannover-Dortmund) and A39 (Salzgitter-Wolfsburg).
In town you find very quickly parking garages and lots.
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