We wrote this piece back in mid-February 2012, but on 9 May 2012 it was announced that the opening of the new Berlin airport would be deferred until later in the year. Read more here.
With the opening of Berlin’s glitzy new airport on 3 June this year, look for some changes to rail services in the Berlin area. A brand new station opens to serve the new airport, with the focus on local and regional links serving the Berlin and Brandenburg region. But the new airport will also host a small number of long-distance services, although these will not start until 10 June.
Here is a preview of direct links to far-flung spots that will run from the new airport station from 10 June 2012. Perhaps the timetable planners are pessimistic about plans for planes to serve Berlin-Brandenburg airport (BER), for the list is topped by direct trains from BER to two other European airports.
Sounds good. But look more closely at the schedules and you’ll see each route running just once each day. Compared to other major European airports, this stacks up to be a pretty poor offering of longer-distance train services. Schiphol, Zürich and Copenhagen all boast a fabulous range of long-distance links. Berlin can and should do better than this meagre list of prestige connections.
Why not route the late evening City Night Line services from Prague and Dresden to Amsterdam and Copenhagen through the new station? They will in any case pass very close to the new airport. Why not extend many more ICE and IC / EC services that would otherwise terminate in the city centre to the new airport? This seems too much like a grand opportunity being missed.