When the old Elbe Tunnel, also called St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel, opened in 1911, it was a technical sensation. Today, it is a nostalgic and lovingly tended piece of Hamburg history – and has already celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The distinctive square domed structure on the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken houses the machinery and the four large lift cages, which have been transporting people and vehicles to a depth of nearly 24 m since 1911. After 426.5 m beneath the Elba and through two tiled titles with a diameter of 6 m you return to daylight at Steinwerder.
First River tunnel on the continent The old Elbe Tunnel was the first River tunnel on the continent. It had become a necessity since the growth of the Port of Hamburg was increasingly moving to the southern side of the Elbe, which required an improved transport connection. It was ultimately modelled on the Clyde Tunnel in Glasgow after plans for suspended railway, traject and viaduct had been rejected. During the Second World War, the shaft house of the Elbe Tunnel was badly damaged by bombing raids on the south side of the Elbe. However, much of the majolica with its depictions of aquatic life and traditional designs remains intact.
The best in German civil engineering Since 2003 – on the occasion of its 100th anniversary – the old Elbe Tunnel has been honoured as a “Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany”. Numerous film teams have shot on location down below and the time-tested tunnel was also the home of a successful world record achieved by model train enthusiasts. In addition, the St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel can also be hired for events. A somewhat different idea for a stroll: After passing through the tunnel, you can enjoy an unforgettable panorama of the edge of the harbour, the “Michel” and the “Richmer Rickmers” from the southern bank of the Elbe.
Additional information on the old Elbe Tunnel, i.e. The “St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel” is available on the website of the Hamburg Port Authority.