A big anniversary for the city's public transport system: on October 04, 1968, the first subway in Frankfurt ran between Nordwestzentrum and Hauptwache. This was an event that more than 10,000 Frankfurt residents and of course many guests and curious people from near and far did not want to miss. A real speciality had been created in five years of construction: Only the third subway in Germany and the 35th in the world.
"Looking back, 4 October 1968 is a special day for Frankfurt, because it marks a turning point in the history of public transport in our city," explained Klaus Oesterling, head of the transport department, on the occasion of the presentation of two anniversary trains at the Heddernheim depot. "The development of a modern metropolis is inconceivable without public transport that not only functions, but is also efficient and of high quality. And the construction of the subway has created the conditions for this."
The "A" line (so called because it was the first of Frankfurt's four basic lines to go into service) was followed by the "B" and "C" lines, opened in several stages, by 1999. The section from Hauptbahnhof to Bockenheimer Warte, which opened in February 2001, belongs to the "D" line, as does the passage over the Riedberg. "Subway construction has continued steadily after 1968, so that today we have 64.85 kilometers of operating track for our nine subway lines," says VGF Managing Director Thomas Wissgott. "The importance of our subway for the development into a modern city is also illustrated by the passenger figures: Whereas 91 million passengers were counted on the subways in 1998, 20 years later the figure is 134.7 million." Of course, the service has also been adapted to the demand and increased accordingly, Wissgott explains the figures.
The anniversary "50 years of the subway in Frankfurt am Main" will of course be adequately celebrated this year. For example, there will be special anniversary vehicles. The VGF has come up with something visually to mark the occasion: At the head of the opening train in 1968 was the red and white painted car 303, a vehicle of the type "U2". 50 years later, the VGF has taken up the color scheme that was common at the time and is sending two modern "U5" cars onto the track: on one side they wear the historic red and white color, on the other the current turquoise of the VGF. Carriages 625 and 675 will thus be the eye-catchers of the anniversary. After the presentation on Wednesday, July 4, in Heddernheim, they can be used on all subway lines of the VGF.
On the special anniversary trip for invited guests on 4. October 2018, however, they will be riding behind in the truest sense of the word, as the anniversary train consists of three "U2" cars that were restored to their red and white delivery condition years ago by the VGF workshop, cars 303, 304 and 305, which are now kept ready for use as museum vehicles for special occasions. He is followed by the two specially painted "U5" cars as a two-car train.
Naturally, the anniversary will also be celebrated in a large circle. All Frankfurt residents are invited to a big party at the Hauptwache on 04 October from 11 am. In addition to speeches, there will also be an autograph session by Eintracht, the cutting of a birthday cake and live music. The opening of a very special anniversary exhibition is also on the programme for that day:
In a tent at the Hauptwache, many display boards will document the exciting history of the Frankfurt underground from the start of construction to the present day until 14 October. Refurbished original station models will also be on display. The exhibition, which is rarely seen in this composition, was created with the help of the Historische Straßenbahnen Frankfurt (HSF) association. For young and old train fans there is a driving simulator provided by the VGF's company driving school, which is normally used to train new drivers. Refreshments and relaxation are provided with a small Café and a children's corner.
Vehicle parade in Heddernheim
Not only at the Hauptwache does the VGF develop activities, also at the facility that is inextricably linked to the "A" line: the Heddernheim depot, opened in 1910 in the course of the commissioning of the two local railway lines 24 and 25 to Oberursel and Bad Homburg respectively.
With its workshop and stabling facilities, the depot is still the heart of the "A" line today. On 6 and 7 October, VGF and the HSF association are planning a very special vehicle parade here: in addition to all the vehicles used on the "A" line in 50 years, VGF will also present those that were used on the lines towards Oberursel and Bad Homburg before the underground was built, and which are now in the VGF's Schwanheim Transport Museum. VGF and HSF want to use these railcars and trailers to show the diversity and changes in public transport in Frankfurt. In any case, the beginning of October in Heddernheim offers unique picture motifs; the exact list of exhibited vehicles will be presented in time.
Our anniversary. Our Frankfurt. Our underground.
To ensure that this major event is widely publicised, VGF is advertising the anniversary with Badesalz ("Unser Gebabbel. Unser Frankfurt. Unsere U-Bahn.") and other Frankfurt faces (including Andrea Kiewel, John Degenkolb, Fredi Bobic, Bärbel Schäfer, Shantel and Johnny Klinke). A short animated film is shown on the touchscreens of the ticket vending machines and on the information screens in the underground stations. It can also be seen on the VGF homepage at: