Welcome back for part two on secrets of Rostock’s railways! In case you missed it, you can check out the first part here.
This time, we are going to explore abandoned stations of a former suburban railway line, which certainly deserves its very own article – let me tell you why.
3) S-Bahn Dierkow / Überseehafen
Rostock’s inner-city S-Bahn lines are something that you would most probably be very familiar with as a tourist, as they go from the central Hauptbahnhof all the way to the sandy and bustling beaches of Warnemünde. But did you know that up until the end of 2012, there used to be another S-Bahn line on the other side of Warnow river? The S3 line (not to be confused with today’s S3 from Warnemünde to Güstrow) reached from Hauptbahnhof to Überseehafen (where the ferry port is located) through the densely-populated boroughs of Dierkow and Toitenwinkel, connecting both to Rostock’s main station. However, supposed unprofitability, the rather unsuitable location of the stations (they were said to be too far away from where enough people live), and certain misplannings, such as the wrongful bituminisation of tracks in the port area where passengers would have been able to directly board ferries to Denmark, and Sweden, and Poland, soon sowed the seeds of an end to the former S3 line. There are, nevertheless, still some relicts of that era to be seen: The former stations on this line (Dierkow, Hinrichsdorfer Straße, Toitenwinkel, and Seehafen Nord) have basically been abandoned since their closure, with little effort made to properly dismantle them. I’ve included Google Maps locations to where the stations used to be – they can be seen quite nicely from above. If you are lucky, there might still be some old and faded station signage, shelters etc. on the platforms (unless they have been fenced off). Nature has since tried to reclaim some of the territory formerly dedicated to the railway. You will see larger areas of high and unmown grass, maybe some moss, making you feel like the stations had been closed for far longer than eight years.
If you want to take a nice, relaxing walk, exploring lost places where hardly anyone still goes, and enjoy strolling along a more industrialised and now desperately abandoned area of railway history – the former Überseehafen-line is just for you! One disclaimer though, of course: be sure not to trespass on any property. Getting there involves some time from the city centre, a little planning (since you can mostly properly get there by bus, which is rather infrequent) – and eventually, a bit of walking to and between the stations. You will be rewarded, however, with a trip down memory lane, and, eventually, once you made it to the final stop of the line, some nice and fresh sea air, paired with an industrial impression of one of Rostock’s core industries – the sea port.
Lastly: why would you actually go there? For me, it is simply the adventure of seeing something completely different, a bare contrast to my usual S-Bahn commute – seeing stations left mostly the way they were and where people started theirs. A still in an ever-growing, and ever-moving city like Rostock.
It is up to you to decide whether the closure of the line was justified – but do keep in mind, that there are plans of potentially reopening the line in the near future. So, is it worth it?
Make sure to check back in for part three of ‘Rostock on Rails’.