Stations which span different states…or countries

There are a few stations in India which span different states.

This one came to light recently. Dilwa is on the Gurpa-Gujandih ghat section near Gaya on the Delhi-Kolkata route.

It is nominally in Jharkhand, as mentioned here:

However, you will see this on the platform:

Credits to Debapriya Chakraborty for this discovery.

A couple of other such stations are better known:

Navapur, nominally in Maharashtra on the Surat-Bhusaval section:

However, part of this station lies in Gujarat:

Not sure whether these markings are accurate.

One can make jokes about this bench being partly in a dry zone, enabling alcohol to be consumed only on one side.

Another one which has been round for a long time is Bhawani Mandi, nominally in Rajasthan:

But you will see these signs:

Then there is Hili station in Bangladesh. The boundary commission decided that the railway line itself was to be the border between India and East Pakistan. This becomes apparent here:

Looking from the Indian side. The wall and the rail line are in Bangladesh.

Also see this picture taken from a Bangladeshi train:

Note the cows grazing just within Bangladeshi territory marked by the stone. Clearly they have no problem in crossing the border. Hope they know which side is safer for them.

Elsewhere in Bangladesh, Quasba station is just across the Indian border. It used to be called Kamalasagar, after the town in India. Radcliffe cannot be blamed here as this was the existing border between Tripura and Bengal.

More weird things happened in the partition of Berlin which became more stringent after the Berlin Wall came up in 1961. While a number of roads and railways were blocked by barriers, there were special cases like Wollank Strasse station on the S-Bahn (which was largely on the surface, unlike the U-Bahn which was largely underground):

This station actually lay in East Berlin. But this platform opened out to a street in West Berlin.

Trains ran through from one side of West Berlin to another, and passengers could board or get down here.

However, no train stopped on the other track-as the Berlin Wall was right next to it. And the East Berliners in the buildings on the right could see the West Berliners going about their lives at this station and beyond.

Bornholmer Strasse, which featured in various novels and films set in the Cold War, is adjacent to this station:

East and West in Germany

This is something the present generation does not need to bother about.

But from the late 1940s to 1990, one had to remember that there were two countries making up Germany, and two distinct cities named Berlin.

The general practice in English media was to refer to West Germany and East Germany, and to West Berlin and East Berlin. But the Germans did not see it that way.

West Germany was formally called the Bundes Republik Deutschland (BRD) which translates to Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). This would appear on English documents produced by their government. The trains were marked DB (Deutsche Bundesbahn). The currency was the Deutsche Mark or DM, which was then one of the “good” hard currencies.

East Germany was formally called the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) which was similarly translated to German Democratic Republic (GDR). The trains were marked DR (Deutsche Reichsbahn) or German Government Railways. The currency was the Mark (M) which had little value outside the country. And let us not ask how democratic it was.

The city of Berlin was in the middle of East Germany. About 70% was the separate territory of West Berlin, for long an outpost of the “free world” in the middle of a Soviet-dominated country. East Berlin was the capital of the GDR, while the FRG had its capital in Bonn (a rather small city) safely located far from the East.

West Berlin reads the same as in English, as the words for West are the same:

This is a warning sign near the Berlin Wall:
“Warning! You are now leaving West Berlin”.

However, the “official” title for the other side is not Ost Berlin but merely Berlin, the capital of the GDR. This can be seen here:

Things became much simpler after 1990. One Germany, one capital, one Berlin, one currency.

The area in the former East Germany remains relatively less prosperous. But the people who lived there had the last laugh. One of their own, Angela Merkel, became one of the longest-lasting Chancellors of the united country.