Gelsenkirchen is served by part of an extensive tram network centred on Bochum to the south and known as BOGESTRA (short for Bochum-Gelsenkirchner Strassenbahnen AG). Trams run underground in the centre of town and surface to run along the centre of the city streets elsewhere. If you are going to a game at the Veltins-Arena, as we were, your match ticket entitles you to use the entire regional transport system (trains, buses and trams) for free; otherwise you should purchase a ticket at the machines near the entrance to the stations in the city centre or by the suburban stops.
Fares cost €2.50 for an adult making a single journey. There are various travel cards available (I spotted what looked like a four journey ticket) but we didn't use the system enough to need anything like that. As always in Europe, don’t forget to validate your ticket by stamping it in the machines on board the trams.
There are three routes in Gelsenkirchen itself: 107, which runs west to Essen; 301, which links the central station, Hauptbahnhof, to the eastern side of the city before looping north though Buer and eventually west to Schloss Horst; and 302, which runs to Gelsenkirchen from Bochum and then north past the Musiktheater and Veltins-Arena, again finishing in Buer.
If you have an interest in urban rail and tram systems and understand all about different gauges etc. you might find this website, Tramscape, fascinating – even as a non-enthusiast (I just want to get from A to B) I enjoyed seeing some of the old photos.
By train to Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen is served by numerous trains from various parts of Germany and beyond. We made the short journey from the airport at Düsseldorf, but some of our friends had flown to Amsterdam and travelled by train from there (with two changes en route, admittedly, but with no problems).
Fares vary according to the type of train, with express trains (ICE) costing more. we paid €13.13 each way between the airport and Gelsenkirchen (summer 2014 prices), travelling on a regional train which stopped about six times I think. The train was comfortable enough and we had no problems getting a seat in either direction, but it was poorly equipped to serve as an airport train with little or no room for anything but the smallest bags.
Remember to stamp your ticket in the machine at the station before boarding the train, as without that stamp it is not valid and you could be fined. Then sit back and enjoy the ride! Once you get to Gelsenkirchen you will find a modern station (the previous one survived the wartime bombings but was pulled down some years ago despite locals’ protestations). Trams and taxis are well signposted if your hotel is too far away to walk. There are a few shops and snack bars but we felt the station was not especially well equipped with places to sit and relax while waiting for your train – we had a 30 minute wait when returning to the airport (having just missed one train and the next one running late) and couldn’t find anywhere to sit and have a nice coffee as we had hoped. Despite this small short-coming, I reckon that train travel is a good option for anyone visiting Gelsenkirchen.
Getting to Gelsenkirchen
To get to Gelsenkirchen we first flew from Heathrow to Düsseldorf with Lufthansa. The flight time was only about an hour and a half. Complementary drinks and a snack of yoghurt were served (it was a breakfast time flight - on the return we had a sandwich) and the flight was comfortable and without incident.
At Düsseldorf we bought our train ticket for Gelsenkirchen (fare €13.13 each way, summer 2014 prices) at a machine in the airport, as having a train ticket entitles you to free travel on the Skytrain that links the terminals to the car park and railway station. If you don’t have either train or parking ticket you are supposed to pay for the Skytrain, although the system is fully automatic I believe (no drivers) and our tickets were never checked.
At Düsseldorf Flughafen station we had to wait about 15 for the next departure to Gelsenkirchen. . Trains run directly there from the airport, a journey time of 40/45 minutes depending on the number of stops.
Cycling in Gelsenkirchen
I cycled to Gelsenkirchen from the adjoining city of Essen, where I had rented my bike at the main railway station.
Unlike most of the other cities in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Gelsenkirchen does not have a bicycle station at its main railway station, but I'm told that some of the bicycle shops in Gelsenkirchen do have bikes for rent, not only for sale.
Throughout the city of Gelsenkirchen there are well-marked bicycle routes, including several themed routes such as the Industrial Heritage Cycle Route, which also goes through Oberhausen and Essen.
Update: In June 2010 Gelsenkirchen was one of ten cities in the Ruhr District that started Metropolradruhr (“Metropolitan Bicycle Ruhr”), which they say is “the biggest bike sharing system in Germany”. The other nine participating cities are Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Oberhausen.
- Historical Travel
Trains to Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen main station is served by numerous local, regional and InterCity trains, typically twenty or more trains per hour.
There are no direct trains from Frankfurt am Main to Gelsenkirchen, but numerous connections involving only one or two changes of trains, for instance in Cologne (Köln) or Duisburg or Essen.
Second photo: Pedestrian zone behind the station.
51°30'17.34" North; 7° 6'9.05" East
Metropolradruhr bike stations 7601 and 7602.
Thanks to its excellent...
Thanks to its excellent location, the park is easily accessible by car via the A31 (exit Kirchhellen-Nord).
- Aken 132 km
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