Berlin M-Bahn traces

May 9, 2021
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As part of the research work for Other Trains, we have been researching the route and history of the Berlin M-Bahn, one of the world’s earliest magnetic-levitation train routes.

Construction on this line began in the centre of Berlin in 1983, and had just opened for testing in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down, rendering the entire project obsolete overnight. In the end, the line only ran as an open part of the city’s transport network for a grand total of two weeks, in July 1991, before closing for good. Here are a couple of impressions from this week, along with an excerpt from one of the original promotional videos for the line.

As part of the research for ‘Other Trains,’ we re-traced the modern route of the M-Bahn track, now utterly transformed by the development of Potsdamer Platz and the surrounding areas over the last three decades.

Our intention for our research on the M-Bahn line, together with other lines from different eras of rail transport in Berlin and Brandenburg, is to juxtapose our documentation of these routes with machine-learning generated audio of non-existent trains—thus combining the physical routes of these now-absent trains with an accompaniment of nonexistent, computer-imagined sound.