The second opportunity i took on the Open Memorial Day was a visit of the Underground Museum1. The Underground museum has been housed in the former signal box of the Olympic Stadium Station since 1997, hence the name “Olympic signal box”. The heart of the museum is the 14-meter-long lever mechanism of the electromechanical signal box of the VES 1913 type2. Commissioned in 1931 as the largest signal box of this type in Europe, the entire operation of the Betriebswerkstatt Grunewald and the Olympia-Stadion station was monitored from here. 103 points and 99 signals were set with the levers and enabled train movements with over 616 travel options. The single-row signal box was in operation from 1931 to 1983.

The position of the signals and the location of vehicles could be followed on the 6 meter long and 2 meter high display board. The display uses 1239 light bulbs

In the next room you can see one of the clock cabinets which formerly stood in “clock centers”. These buildings ensured that all station clocks “ran” at the same time. The BVG operated in this form on Trebbiner Strasse until 1970. From the large clock cabinets, impulses went out every 30 seconds, which controlled the station clocks, which were not equipped with a clockwork.3

Clock cabinet
Lamps like carbide, kerosene and battery lamps of the track builders and track walkers

It would be nice if they had bigger rooms and more information on display. It gets a bit unaccessable without any knowledge on the topic. More like a Wunderkammer of sorts. Maybe they get this some day.

Pics shot on Ilford XP2.

  1. More information on the website from the museum. ↩︎

  2. A nice overview of the signal box ↩︎

  3. In a way, the system is still in use. Only modernized ↩︎