My tour of Germany, France, and the Netherlands in July brought me to numerous situations where trams are used to great effect in handling high volumes of passengers moving in exclusive rights-of-way. (I cannot emphasize too often that these are usually more like light rail than like US streetcars or Australian trams, which are often compromised by having to share a traffic lane.) Continue Reading →
Munich: The Station as Riot
My Munich transit notes will take a while to settle, but meanwhile, Munich’s U-bahn station Münchner Freiheit is a must-see for all visitors.
U-bahn lines have associated colors that are reflected in both mapping and signage. (See U-bahn map here). This station is an interchange between lines 3 (orange) and 6 (blue). So the architects had a field day exploring all the ways that orange and blue can converse, or clash. And as if orange weren’t garish enough, they invented a peculiar pea green to dance with it.
This is, by the way, a weaved station: U3 and U6 northbound on one platform, and both southbound on the other, to maximize cross-platform transfers. U6 is toward the center of the station in both directions. To express that, you have the blue pillars down the center, with the curious orange+olive on both outside walls, where the (orange) U3 runs.
A mirrored ceiling festooned with semi-protruding panels of fluorescent light amplifies the dissonance.
This may well the the brightest underground station I’ve ever seen, bright not just with brute-force flourescents but with a mirror-intensive design that recycles light. The photons can bounce around pretty much forever.
Munich has several recent U-bahn stations that show some real architectural panache, but this is the only one that’s truly fun. Would it get old looking at this every day? I don’t think so.