I'd arrived at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof dead on time, at 11:07. The station is huge, the largest terminal station in Europe, with 26 tracks and 5 outer platforms. The early 20th century design – it was built between 1909 and 1915 on the site of four older stations – has been well restored after the neglect of the communist years, a lower level shopping mall added, and is immaculately clean. Its facade is 293 metres wide. Originally one half of the station was operated by Prussian railways, the other half by the Saxony system, so that there are two imposing entrances.
I came back later for some photos: outside pictures were almost impossible due to the size of the building and the amount of traffic in Willy-Brandt-Platz, on the ring road, in front of the station. Inside I found an old steam engine – a 2-10-0 with a bogie tender, all very unusual – and some old rolling stock, parked at one of the platforms, which was a good excuse to wander round with a camera – and I wasn't told off for taking too many photos as I had been at St Pancras station in London a couple of months earlier.
After a coffee in the station I took a tram #16 down to Bayerischer Platz to see the old Bayerischer station, noted as the oldest functioning train station in Europe, having been built in 1842 for the Leipzig to Altenburg line. But at the moment the station is closed for the construction of the City Tunnel Leipzig, a project to connect the Bayerischer Bahnhof to the Hauptbahnhof. The 3.9km City Tunnel will be used mainly by rapid-transit and regional trains, and should open in 2010. I took some distant photos of the old building from the road, as some sun started to break through.