Halle is well served by a system of modern tram lines, some of which go on to nearby towns like Merseburg.
The fare for a single ticket for a ride within the city of Halle is 1.70 Euros. For a short ride of up to four tram stops you can get a ticket for Kurzstrecken, which costs 1.20 Euros.
1. Tram number 2 at the Market Square (Marktplatz)
2. Cyclist, pedestrians and tram at the Market Square
Halle main station
The main station in Halle is an "island station" with tracks on both sides and the station building in the middle (between tracks 6 and 7).
The station is served by three InterCity lines which provide direct connections to cities like Leipzig, Berlin, Erfurt, Magdeburg, Braunschweig, Bielefeld and Cologne.
GPS 51°28'39.03" North; 11°59'14.14" East
1. Halle main station with taxis and cars
2. Counters in the newly-built service area
3. Pedestrians near the main station
Trains to Halle
The first time I set foot in Halle was in November 1989 when I changed trains here on my way from Rostock to Nordhausen. This was just a week or so after the opening of the borders between East and West Germany.
Unfortunately I didn't see much of Halle that time because it was a very grey day and the windows of both trains were incredibly dirty, so I literally couldn't see anything through them.
Of course as a Westerner I was tempted to attribute the dirty windows to Communist mismanagement of the railroad system, but then I started thinking about all the dirty train windows I had seen in Western countries.
In 2009 I took an InterCity train from Leipzig to Halle (first photo) and the windows were reasonably clean.
1. In an InterCity train from Leipzig to Halle
2. InterCity train in Halle main station
Pedestrian prevention bridge
Speaking of wrong-headed city planning, have a look at this twentieth century footbridge crossing the Merseburger Straße in Halle.
This is a busy street that has no ground-level pedestrian crossings for several hundred meters in either direction, so anyone wanting to cross the street is forced to climb a flight of crumbling cement stairs, walk across an open footbridge and down another crumbling flight of cement stairs on the other side.
Of course hardly anyone does this, so it could just as well be called a pedestrian prevention bridge. It is impossible for people in wheelchairs to cross the street on this bridge, and extremely difficult for people with baby carriages or suitcases on wheels. The metal rail on the steps (second photo) might be of some use to cyclists, but no one else.
Two things in the first photo are 21st century additions.
The rectangular box in the foreground, with the paintings and graffiti on it, is an automatic monitoring station called LÜSA (Air Surveillance System Sachsen-Anhalt) set up by the state government of Land Sachsen-Anhalt to measure the air pollution caused by all those cars. The station automatically monitors the concentration of such gases as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen monoxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), as well as floating dust, particulate matter, benzene, heavy metals, etc., and transmits the results automatically to a central computer in Magdeburg.
The banner on the bridge is from a campaign by the German federal government to encourage walking or cycling for short journeys. A short journey by their definition is one of three kilometers or less, which seems a very modest goal to those of us who routinely do all our urban travel by bicycle. But even getting people to walk or cycle for such ultra-short journeys would be of great benefit to the atmosphere, since cars give off especially high levels of pollutants when they are cold and just getting started.
The banner reads: "Brain on. Motor off. For zero CO2 on short journeys." Which is fine, but probably too abstract to have much effect on people's behavior.
In my opinion, a better way to encourage walking would be tear down the bridge and install ground level pedestrian crosswalks at regular intervals along the street. This would also have the beneficial effect of calming the vehicle traffic, though I don't know what effect it would have, if any, on the level of air pollution.
GPS 51°28'30.03" North; 11°59'0.66" East
1. Pedestrian bridge over Merseburger Straße
2. Crumbling cement steps
3. View from the top
4. Cars on the Merseburger Straße, unimpeded by pedestrians
The first thing you see when you leave the main railroad station in Halle is this double-decker motorway which cuts off the station from the city center.
This is not the only motorway in Halle -- and not even the worst -- but because of its position at the main station it gives travelers the impression that they have entered a blighted, ravaged city.
Certainly this was my first impression when I arrived on a business trip in May 2001. But I'm happy to say that this impression was quickly corrected by some nice people I met at my presentation and by a delightful performance at the Halle Opera that evening.
These motorways, by the way, were erected by the old Communist regime during the era of the German Democratic Republic. From a city planning perspective, the twentieth century was just as wrong-headed in East Germany as it was in the West.
An even worse motorway is one that cuts directly through the city of Halle from south to north towards the 1960s high-rise settlement of Halle-Neustadt, usually abbreviated "Ha-Neu" and pronounced like Hanoi.
1. Double-decker motorway by the station
2. Tram, bicycles and pedestrians under the motorway
3. Riding through the underpass to the station
4. Walking to the station
Cycling in Halle
Bicycles are a popular form of transportation in Halle, even though the city's cycling infrastructure is spotty at best.
The city has commissioned an institute called Socialdata to compile traffic statistics. They report that bicycle travel in Halle increased from 8 % of all urban travel in the year 1999 to 13 % in 2007.
In this same period, bicycle ownership increased from 58 to 68 bicycles per one hundred residents.
Photos: Lots of people riding bicycles in Halle
When riding the tram (bus) within the city be sure you buy your tickets before boarding. Otherwise you may end up paying a fine. I never had to though.
By car,train or plane (closest...
By car,train or plane (closest airport: Halle-Leipzig)
By tram or by bicycle or by foot..... Driving a car can be a bit stressful here, if you don´t know your way...
By car, or train.........you...
By car, or train.........you can also fly to the Halle/Leizig Airport, it´s between these two cities.
By tram, car or bike. Driving in Halle can be a bit confusing, if you don´t know your way.......
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