Frankfurt Central Station - Panorama - Drone Picture - Main Train Station of Frankfurt, Germany - September 2021

Frankfurt Central Station

Frankfurt Central Station is the largest train station in Frankfurt and one of the most frequented train stations in Europe. Opened in 1888 as “Centralbahnhof Frankfurt”, it is a terminal station where long-distance trains have to reverse direction instead of passing through the station. Due to its central location, Deutsche Bahn AG (the national railway company of Germany) describes it as the most important hub for German rail traffic.

The main train station serves an average of 493,000 travelers and more than 1,000 trains per day. In addition to the Frankfurt Central Station, the city has three other long-distance train stations: the South Station (Südbahnhof), the West Station (Westbahnhof) and the Airport Long-Distance Train Station. Under the station building there is a four-track S-Bahn station (commuter trains) and an underground U-Bahn station, with connections to the inner-city and regional rapid transit network. There are also tram stops and a central bus station (ZOB Frankfurt) in front of the main train station.

Frankfurt Central Station is located in the Gallus district at the south-western end of the Alleenring. The train station is connected to the Bahnhofsviertel district (lit. “Station District”) via the so-called “B level”. The building is bounded by the streets Mannheimer Strasse to the south, Poststrasse to the north and Am Hauptbahnhof to the east. On the west is the track apron with its 25 parallel tracks.

Frankfurt Hall - Frankfurt Central Station - Main Station in Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt Central Station - Main Station in Frankfurt, Germany - Historic Building
Inside Frankfurt Central Station - Main Station in Frankfurt, Germany

Development History and Extensions

The main station has been rebuilt and expanded many times since it went into operation. During the Second World War, Frankfurt Central Station was badly damaged by air raids, but the war damage was gradually repaired.

Between 1968 and 1970 the idea was to build high-rise buildings over a large area of ​​the main station and the track apron. However, these plans were not realized.

The construction of the underground railway began in 1971 with the B tunnel of the Frankfurt subway system. A large shopping mall (B level) was created as the distribution level, linked through numerous corridors and stairs to two four-track express train stations – a subway station (C level) and an S-Bahn station (D level) – and a three-storey underground car park (some of which can be used as a civil defense shelter).

In the 1980s and 1990s, different variants of underground through stations were discussed. The resulting concept Frankfurt 21 from 1996 envisaged converting Frankfurt Central Station into a twelve-track through station. The 1998 High-Rise Master Plan  also took up this concept and provided for the development of the track apron with numerous skyscrapers in the Park District. However, the project was postponed in 2001 due to a lack of funding.

The construction of a long-distance railway tunnel for Frankfurt Central Station is currently planned for the long term. The German federal government has proposed a corresponding tunnel from the Offenbach city limits to the Niederrad Main River Bridge. This tunnel would make Frankfurt Central Station a through station for many long-distance routes. The project is included in the “urgent need” of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 and is estimated to cost around 3.5 billion euros (4 billion US dollars).

Frankfurt Central Station - Frankfurt Main Station - HBF FFM panorama

High-Rise Locations Nearby

There are hardly any noteworthy high-rise buildings around the main train station today. Only the former post office building on Hafenstrasse to the north is directly adjacent to the platform apron. The 140 meter tall Icoon residential tower is to be built right next to it. The Campanile high-rise was once planned in the south, but it was never built. However, a new high-rise tower is to be built on this location in the coming years. With the Kreisler, another office building is being built in the vicinity of the main train station.

Another Train Station

At the same time as the central passenger station, the central freight station, which has since been demolished, was built in the 1880s.