Güterbahnhof Pankow (End of the line for the railroad yard)

The only trains left at the Güterbahnhof Pankow are the trains of thought. Even the tracks are gone, taken away lest the carriages that once trundled through feel like trundling through again. Yes, their trundling days are over, and the surviving buildings mourn their absence even as they crumble and fade into the ignominy of abandonment.
Now they’re hollow and empty inside, starved of the hustle and bustle they crave, denied their lifeblood of freight cars coming to be loaded. How they must long for their trains!
The S-Bahn still whizzes by from time to time, stopping next door with all its bells and whistles, but that only makes it worse for the once-proud Güterbahnhof, as it looks over with disdain fueled by the jealousy of not being wanted. Passengers, bah!
Now it just rots. Nothing works and nothing’s being repaired. The train turntable doesn’t spin anymore and the control cabin’s in a sorry state. Too many parties – even the DJ has left.
Blackened beams attest to a hellish retirement, the smell of smoke still lingers, scattered sheets of paper flutter around the office, names and addresses for all to see (so much for Germany’s paranoia with privacy law), and the clock on the administration building only tells the time twice a day.
It used to be so different. The railroad yard began operations in 1893 or 1904 (depending on your source) and was only closed down (for reasons I have so far been unable to determine) in 1997. At its peak, it could handle up to 1,800 freight cars a day. One thousand 800 Güterwagen a day!
But they ripped out the rail tracks and knocked down a few buildings by 2007. Then in 2009, the whole 40 hectare site, including the land going down as far as S-Bahnhof Pankow, was snapped up by developer Kurt Krieger. He wants to invest €350 million to build a 30,000 square meter shopping center and a 40,000 square meter furniture shop (à la Ikea), while planting 1,370 new trees and creating a five hectare park.
The impressive round building, where they were able to turn locomotive engines with no reverse, is a listed building, a denkmalgeschützten Rundlokschuppen, apparently dating to 1893 and one of the last two in Germany.
Krieger reportedly wants to invest €5 million to restore it for cultural use.
“Maybe we’ll turn it into the opera of Pankow,” he joked in his broad Berliner dialect, according to Tagesspiegel. Pankow and opera are a strange mix, to say the least.
For now the site is inhabited by rabbits and talented street artists and odd people who like to practice voodoo or some such.
One of the buildings I found myself in had a load of bricks and sheets of paper arranged in the middle of the floor like a voodoo temple. Each to their own. At least it’s not as far-fetched as opera.
For now Güterbahnhof Pankow is at the end of the line. But development work could start as soon as next year. Seems it won’t be long before it goes off on a new track.

Güterbahnhof Pankow. Former railroad yard or freight station with two train turntables, one inside, one outside, that used to handle up to 1,800 freight cars a day. Now it handles none. But that’s progress.

Am Feuchten Winkel 137-145, Berlin 13089. 
Beside the S-Bahnhof Pankow-Heinersdorf. Literally, right beside it. Here’s a map to make it even easier for you to find.

How to get there
You might think it’s easiest to get there from the aforementioned S-Bahnhof but it’s not. Best to get the train there but then go back over the bridge from where you will see the Rundlokschuppen to your left, keep walking, then take your first left, go left again, and again, until you’re walking alongside the main road you just left. Keep going straight and you’ll soon find yourself in the Betriebsgelände.

Getting in
You may have to hop a gate if it’s closed, but it was open when I went last. If you follow the instructions above, you’ll be in.

When to go
I reckon daytime is best. There are no vistas for watching romantic sunsets, unfortunately. But, it could also be a decent spot for a party under moonshine.

Difficulty rating
1/10. It used to be 4/10 because it was tricky enough getting into the Rundlokschuppen. You needed to walk around, find the broken window, climb up and hoist yourself in through that, but that’s no longer the case now. See the update below.

Who to bring
Girlfriend/boyfriend (but not both at same time) or simply friends for a party. Trainspotters are a weird species but they’d also be into this.

What to bring
Beer. You’d survive if you brought nothing but beer. Bring a camera if you want to take a few snaps. Bring some snaps if you want to drink some snaps. Bring vodka, whiskey, and rum too if you want to get shitfaced.

There’s no security and I don’t think the Polizei give too much of a Scheiße. Just watch out for the usual things when venturing around such places. The ceiling in the Rundlokschuppen is none too safe anymore on account of the idiots setting fire to it. (Again, update below.) Don’t trip up over anything, or cut yourself on the plentiful broken glass lying around.

UPDATE: Monday, July 29, 2013 - Sadly the Rundlokschuppen is even more burnt now than it was before. Since my previous visit, the door into it has been forced open, and now it gapes invitingly for idiotic vandals to go in and set the thing on fire. What utter gobshites.
It’s such a shame to see an important historical building like this go up in flames. Again, it proves Denkmalschutz (for a listed building) means absolutely nothing at all. Denk mal.
Of course, for well-meaning visitors it means there’s no longer any need to crawl in through the broken window over smashed glass and shards that tear your clothes. The fun’s been taken out of it. Now you can simply stroll in, as I did today with my bike in one hand and my camera in the other, and snap away to your heart’s content.
I went back to take more photos because I wasn’t happy with the previous ones. (Now you know why some are brighter/sunnier than others.)
I also wanted to see if there were really goldfish under the train turntable as a commenter mentioned. There are! There seemed to be quite a few of them having a bit of a feeding frenzy at the surface.
Otherwise I didn’t see another soul, though the familiar Berlin whiff of marijuana as I walked by one of the buildings indicated at least one soul wasn’t far away.
I’ve downgraded the difficulty rating from 4/10 to 1/10 – as another commenter kindly suggested – to indicate the ease of exploring this site. It really is no bother at all. Just be careful, you know, like you generally have to be in these places.

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I was there in a beautiful late fall day...all the trees were yellow and orange, no polizei, met obly the artist that was working at that "vodoo" temple...he said actually that it simbolises the joy of life. He invited us later evening to join a concert but we didnt took the offer :)

So today a friend of mine and myself went there. There was no fence to be hopped over, nor any window to climb through. The Rundlokschuppen has an open door. But if you prefer a window to enter, there is one on the right side close to the railway.
But thanks for your descriptions of the way to get there - really useful. The train turntable does still spin - I tried it and it worked - of course you have to use the winder thingy on the other side. But it makes quite some noise, since the gears are old and "slightly" rusty. The building in front of it does have some interesting aspect, but it could need some street art - The buildings next to it are used by homeless people to find some shelter. We found some improvised beds upstairs while, telling by the smell, the first floor is their toilette. So all in all we would say it is a 1/10 for difficulty.

I was really surprised to find goldfishes under the train turntable outside, i hope they manage the winter.

You're lucky! The Rundlokschuppen was firmly locked up when I went there - hence the need to walk around and crawl in through the window. Thanks for the comment.

I didn't notice them - well spotted! Goldfish are hardy fellows (and gals), I'm sure they'll survive it better than the rest of us.

HEADS UP^^ I was arrested for painting there 2 months ago. The police check the place very regularly.

Hey Georg, what did you paint? Some of the artwork there is really amazing...

Me and mate went there yesterday. Gate was wide open so we headed in and within 5 minutes some sneaky police men caught us. We weren't doing anything illegal except trespassing, just taking photos, and we managed to get of with a 10 euro fine. Looked like a cool place.

Sorry to hear the Polizei butted in. Glad they didn't lock you up for the night.
Pity they wouldn't butt in when vandals are setting fire to the place. But I guess detective work isn't yet advanced enough to know where there's smoke there's fire.


Nice article on this place. I'm doing railway exploration myself for years. The first object I ever explored was the remnants of railway depot in my hometown, Siedlce (Poland), and about two years ago I visited abandoned workshops in Lubań (former RAW Lauban).

In Poland we have two roundhouses of this kind - one in Piła (in better state - it has turntable inside) and another in Bydgoszcz (less complete). Both are abandoned since beginning of the 1990s, and are facing demolishing. It would be a great loss, as there are only four objects of this kind in Europe, if not in the world!

By the way - nice blog, maybe if I'll get some more money and find some neat accomodation in Berlin, I'm gonna go there for a week or so and explore some places.

Greetings from Poland

Hi Preki, and thanks for the info on the Polish roundhouses! It would indeed be a shame if they are demolished too. There seem to be some half-arsed plans to develop the one in Pankow, or at least incorporate it into something else. I guess it's better than outright demolition.
Berlin is definitely worth a visit. There are plenty of places to stay if you book in advance and don't come when the Berlin Marathon or something is on at the same time.
Grüße aus Berlin.

Just visited this today.. So much fun exploring! Much of the graffiti has change (as you'd expect) but some are still there. Only saw one other person (a fellow photographer). All of the buildings are accessible, the hardest to access is the one you've snapped behind the train turntable, you have to climb in through a window to get access. Photo's will be up shortly. :D

It's more fun when you have to climb in through windows... Otherwise it's just too easy.

Hey there. My friend and I will be visiting Berlin for a few days in November and would be interested in visiting a few of the places mentioned in your blog.

Given the time of year, with levels of light fading rapidly and the fact it will probably be Baltic cold, what would you recommend as the best places to see? We'd like to do at least two, possibly three.

It will be our first time doing anything like this so we're pretty excited about the fact. Where we're from in Ireland, pickings are slim for this sort of thing. Any help will be much appreciated. As they say in the old country, Slainte

It's November now. It gets dark around 5pm so you've still a bit of time to play around with. I'm not sure when it gets bright - I'm never up that early.
But don't let light hours determine where you go - have a look through the post and pick your favorites!

Cheers for the reply man. I just have a few other questions and I'll let you get going on your merry wanderlust way. What kind of clothing should we be wearing? Do you recommend anything other than a good jacket and sturdy pair of boots? And do you think getting to the Lager Korrale is feasible in November? It's the main point of our focus on this thing. And is it still worthwhile to even think about Krampnitz? Any help will be much appreciated

Good jacket and sturdy pair of boots is fine. I never have anything more. Koralle is deffo feasible in November. Krampnitz also still very much worthwhile.

Slainte. You've been very helpful. Hopefully I'll be able to let you know how the trips go, if everything goes according to plan and we don't get nabbed by the fuzz.

Alright Irish Berliner, today I managed to visit this place. I arrived about 7:30 and spent a nice bit of time exploring the site, until some workers turned up at 9am with chain-saw's. I think they were removing some of the silver birch that surround the outside turntable. I quietly tiptoed passed them and peddled home! Thanks again for such a wonderful website.

I made a little video from my time at guterbahnhof pankow, I hope your cool for me to share it!

Great film man! Really good! Sometimes I think video offers so much more than photos.
I'll share this on the official Twitter channel...

I visited the place in mid November. It was a very nice Friday morning and none disturbed me, no police nor vandals, actually a met another photographer. I took some very nice pics inside the Rundlokschuppen (the main door was still open) and also inside the buildings close the turntable outside. I loved the wood roof of the Rundlokschuppen and the elegance of its columns. It's a pity that the modern factories has lost this style. Thanks again for your descriptions of the way to get there and to explore it, really useful!

Thanks for watching, and your nice comment! Abandoned Berlin is so much fun :)

Glad you enjoyed it and had such a pleasant Friday morning! Thanks for your comment too - always a pleasure to hear that this stuff is useful!

hi dude, first of all thanks for this awesome website that help us discover the wonderful berlin !
Also i went to the place yesterday and it has changed, they sealed all the entrances and chained the doors, in the end you have to find a ladder that helps you go on the little roof of the rooms of the Güterbahnhof (not yet the "round" part), then you just enter inside by climbing down on the windows ( there is plenty of sharp glass, gloves are helpful) and you are in !
Also is you look a bit there is a perfect path to access the rooftop by that way.

Many thanks for sharing these urban places with us. I was there last weekend and it all nice. It was pretty easy to get in and there were a couple of groups of people taking a walk. After taking half an hour walk we were kicked out by police officers. They were still friendly though.

Almost all buildings open. Many people.

I took a look around here today. Everything is open (including the gate to get in!) and pretty trashed. There were a few groups of kids smashing stuff up but it was still a good way to spend an afternoon. The turn table still works by hand cranking!

Explored today, was a beautiful place. Met two people living there (temporarily they said) with their orange eyed dog. They showed me through one of the locked buildings that they had figured a way into. Met another photographer in the main building too and had no trouble getting in or with police.

Checked it out today - some kids looking for a spot to play with their nerf guns, and three chicks doing a photoshoot! Easy in easy out, no security. the gate in the fence was welded open.

Went there 5 days ago with a friend. Both the fence and the door to the round building were open. Met others but they were leaving just we came. Took great pictures inside and went back to the other buildings and the "train turntable". No goldfish but frog :) When we walked back the police was there - 4 men. They catched some people, who were on their way to the round building, and us. Normal speech that it's forbidden to enter private areas and had to pay a warning fine. We didn't want to have a long discussion so we paid 10€ and were allowed to go. Luckily we had the pictures taken before. We left and the police searched the area for more disturbers.... Next time we have to be more careful but now you know that police still cares about this area.

Went there on friday and bumped into the security guy with his green car... I heard he is every day there to watch. so we met him at 2 pm, after this he was gone. so good luck to everybody after 2 pm... (-:

Well we went there around a week ago and we met this security guy with his green car too. It was around 12 pm.. When we came back around half an hour late, he seemed to be gone.. The gate was only left ajar, so it was easy peasy to get in. Met nobody on the ground, I think we were the only ones around there, but I'm not sure because we only went to the main building (the round one - we we're quite scared that this security man could come back) The building definatly is beautiful and we took some cool shots but its sadly quite trashed and really run out. But anyway, thanks for this great blog!

Went there on the Halloween night 31 Oct. Empty. Then back in the afternoon 1 Nov. Crowded. More people than at the actual train station beside it. A handful of tourist couples with cameras, and a 20 people strong hip hop crew filming a music video. AND some classical musicians practicing flute in the emptiest hall. Amazing acoustics!

Went today,easy to get in,lots to see but unfortunately no Goldfish.

Here's a short film i made on my visit https://vimeo.com/115846467 .Hope you don't mind me posting it here.

I was there last Tuesday 11:30am-2pm, the turntable works, just had to move a few rocks out of the way and give the wheel a bit of a yank. tm

I visited in October 2014. Interuppted an "artistic" photoshoot behind the main building!

Hey, just discovered the blog, great job ! I live nearby and seeing the old station everytime I go into the city (yay, cause S Blankenburg und Karow sind richtig WEIT WEG ) was quite tempting ! I'll give it a try, as soon as the Frühling comes !

Been there on saturday after my visit in Waldhaus Buch. Güterbahnhof Pankow is a really nice and interesting place and it is easy to get in. The door to the area was open and also the main door to the Rundlockschuppen. I saw no police and no security guy. First I was alone, but when I was ready with taking my photos and walked to the exit, I met 4 different groups on the area. I was happy that I didn't arrive 30 minutes later.....with all the people on the ground making good photos wouldn't be possible. Very nice place, better than I had supposed! :-)

I went there some days ago and I also interrupted a promotional photo shoot.

Everything was open, really easy to walk in, but by the time I left it was really packed, over a dozen of people just in the Rundlokschuppen.

Found no security, but considering how much people I found, I wouldn´t be surprised if it ends up being a new olympic villa, with entrance ticket, security and tours.

Went there last weekend, a lot of people in the old turntable building. Felt it was busier than the Kudamm on a Saturday. We also visited the old Rundlockschluppen, which was in a horrible state, partly set on fire. There's a family of Roma living there, they make fires (using wood from the administration building) to keep warm and poop and pee there too. The stench was unbearable, not sure if it's really safe considering the amount of stagnant water.

I saw some great work from street artists but I wouldn't recommend visiting this venue again. It's so easy to access and way too broken down to contain even a hint of the old days flair.

I went there with a friend two sundays ago, we weren't alone at all, seen about 20, 25 people on the site. We couldn't go into the Rundlokschuppen as some people were shooting a film, and wouldn't let us in. It is sad to see how the place was broken down and destroyed through the years and too many visitors...We've seen a group of people throwing stones at a building, and I think they're not the only ones, as all the buildings are very easy to get into...sadly.

But we had real fun and I think we might go back on a sunnier day.

I have been there a few days ago, the 1st of May. The gate was wide open and I only met two homeless who have probably slept inside. I came back on Sunday, the 3rd of May: there were some people that were taking photos and some other peaceful visitors. Great atmosphere.

If you want to take a look at my shots, here's my gallery!
Hope you like it :)

We went there yesterday with a friend, and there's not just a station, there is an abandoned village, with cars, stations, a hall, appartments. We spent more than two hours here, it was really cool, and really big. We can go inside each buildings and there are many places to shot.

Went to check out this place past Thursday. Very easy access. The site is quite big. We ran into a group of young Berliners, two other urbexers and what we suspect to be a pot dealer. It also seems that a hobo lives in one of the smaller buildings, the one with the stage.

In the outside area there are some large holes in the ground, I guess part of the sewer system or something like that. Be careful not to step into one and break your ankle. We came across one that had fresh green leaves covering it. Quite weird.

Went to this place today, cold but clear, easy access as said. Met several explorers.
What supprised me is, the turntable is still able to turn with the handwheel, quite impressive, i thought after years of rusty, the turntable should have been completely blocked, but it turned out i am wrong, i can turn it without any resistence.

I've seen a security car on 06.01.2016. Luckily I was near the tall tower thing and could run away by just jumping through the broken fence. Be careful guys.

We were here on January 25th. It was free to allow access and there was no security. About 30 people met inside: photographers, graffiti artists, and children. Ours photo album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.353251248132297.1073741871.309908329133256&type=3

Went there today.. Dont know why but i thought the place would be quite small, but that wasnt true. I am used to visit these kind of places but since i was on my own and was running out of time i didnt walk through all the buildings, think lots of them are quite dull also? Still loved the place. Getting in was so easily. I met two Girls in the 'dome' going a photoshoot or something and when i was back on the bridge i saw them running like hell but i guess they were only running from two guys Who Let their dog out (why else would you have a beer in your hand?) so.. For visiting an abandoned place on your own.. Guess this is the place to go to...

After lots of discussion..seems they plan to go ahead with constructing new housing & a school in the area..."it should go fast..plan to start in 2 years" says the article.

Does anyone know what the tower's called or how high it is? I climbed it so I'm interested :)

I went there again yesterday (was there last year in summer too), and it's still super easy to get in, as the gate is open. The old turntable is still working and you can turn the crank and listen to the interesting sound while you go round ;-) One thing though, they have put metal plates and a door at the entrance of the building next to the turntable. But where there's a will, there's an open window and some stuff to climb on.

Was there again to get some better film shots. An the police came an took all the people off the roof. As well with refugees are starting to make homes in it as well.

I went here yesterday. Easy to acces by foot, becouse a tree fell on the road you need to climb with your bike for a bit if you are by bike, so i choose to just lock it outside. For the first 2 hours i encountered nobody. Then i run into 3 people doing graffiti. In some of the rooms of the small houses there where defenatly people living (refugees, homeless? Not shure) Wel made bedds, they also cleaned the rooms. And later i run into a group of 12 kids aged 12-15, 2 girls and a group of boys. Who where smashing bottles and sceaming. They started screaming sexual harrassments to me (I am a lone female explorer) so i took off. Then i ren into the police (I think they where comming for the group of kids). I hid in the undergrowth and they did not spot me. Their car was blocking the entrance. They could not drive up the terrain becouse of the fallen tree.

Place is double fenced (but both fences have holes in it). Someone definetely is living in the small houses. I was there last weekend and it seemed like there was a massive party recently

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