Monument preservation saves the Yorckbrücken
Following World War II, the stations were closed and Germany became a divided country, thus making many of the Yorckbrücken redundant. Their ownership situation was also complicated: the bridges were situated in West Berlin, but were partly owned by the GDR’s Deutsche Reichsbahn. The bridges continued to be used by the S-Bahn, as well as by trains running to the Postbahnhof and the Anhalter Güterbahnhof (the post and freight stations). Renovation and modernisation measures greatly changed some of the bridges’ appearance.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, completely new transport concepts included a different role for the Yorckbrücken. As the north-south railway line was overhauled and connected to the new Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), a new four-track bridge was built in 2002, requiring the demolition of one of the old bridges.
The high maintenance costs of the Yorckbrücken repeatedly led to controversial discussions on their demolition or preservation. Due to their importance to the local area, their building history and their design, the Yorckbrücken have been preservation-listed as technical monuments since 1993. The maintenance of the 24 historical bridges is therefore assured by a heritage preservation mandate. To this day, the ensemble of the Yorckbrücken reflects the influence of the railways on Berlin’s development and its unmistakeable cityscape.