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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Rostock, Germany

October 3rd, 1990 was a significant date for Germany.  It was on that date that the country was re-unified after decades of division which had followed the Second World War.

The city of Rostock, close to the Baltic Sea, found itself in communist-controlled East Germany.  Rostock has a long and rich history.  Founded in the 11th Century, it became home to one of the world's first universities in 1419 as well as being a member of the Hanseatic League.  During the post-war division of Germany, Rostock was East Germany's main sea port.

The population of Rostock now stands at approximately 200,000 inhabitants.  Verkehrsverbund Warnow (VVW) co-ordinates the transport system in the city and the surrounding region.



Rostock's tram system is operated by Rostocker Straßenbahn.  There are six lines, numbered 1 to 6, although line 3 only runs during the evenings and at weekends when line 4 isn't operating.  The majority of the tram fleet is low floor and accessible to passengers using wheelchairs.


 





 

















Steintor, a historic gate into the old city, forms the backdrop to the image below.


 
Since the reunification of Germany, Rostock's tram system has been extended into the southern suburbs, through a tunnel which takes trams beneath the main railway station.

The railway station is about a kilometre south of the city centre.  Trams provide the link from the station into the centre of Rostock.


A number of high floor trams, dating from the dying days of East Germany, were still operating when I visited Rostock in September 2013.  These have been paired with low-floor trailer cars thus offering wheelchair accessibility.  Their days appear to be numbered, as delivery of more new trams is imminent.






This image was taken at the Steintor stop.  The vertical posts mark the position of Rostock's city wall. 








A small number of historic trams are retained for special events.  By chance, my visit to Rostock coincided with a traffic-free day on Lange Straße, one of the main streets in the city centre.  In connection with this event, two of the historic trams were operating a special service across the city centre, passing along Lange Straße.



The older of the heritage trams operating when I visited dates from 1926.

 








 



 







The more recent of the two is from 1961.



Rostocker Straßenbahn also operate the city's bus services.  All but one of the buses I saw were three-door articulated single-deckers.







 
 









The exception to the articulated buses was this minibus, which I observed outside Rostock's railway station.










There are standard single-deckers in Rostock's city bus fleet, according to this fleetlistI didn't see any of them during my visit.  Photos on the fleetlist suggest that they are used primarily on suburban routes, particularly in Warnemünde, and do not routinely operate into the centre of Rostock.

Many of Rostock's bus routes operate in the suburbs, providing connections to the tram network for travel to the city centre.  As in most of the cities I have visited outside the UK, single fare tickets permit interchange at no extra charge.

Longer distance bus services stretching beyond the city now operate under the rebus (Regionalbus Rostock) brand - website in German only.

rebus services converge on a bus station alongside the railway station.  They fall within VVW's coverage, thus tickets on the bus are also valid for the tram connection into the centre of Rostock.








A ferry crosses the River Warnow from Rostock to Gehlsdorf (website in German only).  At weekends, the service operates from Spring until the end of December.  The boat calls at a pier close to the centre of Rostock.  The Monday to Friday service operates all year round, but from a different pier further away from the city centre.


 

For tourists, there is a sightseeing tour with a double-deck bus operated by Rostock City Tour (website only in German).  This operates 3-4 times a day, 5 days a week during the summer season.  More frequent tours are offered with panoramic minibuses, more details on the Hansetouristik website (German only).





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