Last Friday I went with Andy and Ryan in the U-Bahn-Cabrio, an open train that takes you on a guided tour in Berlin’s U-Bahn system. You have to wear a helmet.
I think this is a world-unique experience, and it’s apparently very hard to get tickets. They only make the tour late Fridays in August, September and October (I think it would disturb the traffic if they went more often), and you have to book your tickets months in advance. The price is 40 euro per person.
The tour started at 22.20 and lasted about 2 hours including a toilet break in the middle. And it was extremely fascinating. One of my best Berlin experiences. I’ve been to so many theaters and paid similar prices, but this was like the theater of underground Berlin. We went in the tunnels of U5, U8, U9, U6, U7 and – amazingly – U10, which does not exist officially, since that line was never conceived despite they had started to build it. We also went in some service tunnels and shortcuts which connect the lines but are not used for trains with passengers. Sometimes we had to wait for a train to pass. Meanwhile the guide told us the history of the lines where we went.
I was amazed at how clean the tunnels were, and how well-functioning the whole system seems to be. The red line on a white background that you can see on the walls on some of the photos (like an inverted flag of Austria) means that there is no security zone there, so if you stand there when a train comes you will be crushed. The blue lamps weren’t there to give our photos a nice atmosphere, but served as some kind of symbol of how near the next station is (it’s written on the wall, by the blue lamps, I think). The other lamps are usually off, they had turned them on only for our guided tour.
We passed many stations and were met by happy cheers from the people on the platform, since we were probably a quite funny and unexpected sight. We smiled and waved to each other on almost every platform. After all, it was a Friday night and Berlin was in a happy mood.