Aachen Central Station (Aachen Hauptbahnhof) is the railway station for the city of Aachen, in the far west of Germany near the Dutch and Belgian border. It is the largest of the four currently active Aachen stations, and is integrated into the long-distance network.
A station at Aachen was first opened in 1841, when the Rheinische Eisenbahngesellschaft opened its line from Cologne. The line first was extended to Herbesthal (near the Belgian border) and on October 15, 1843 to Antwerp. The first station was built outside of the city walls, however the city soon grew and the station eventually became surrounded by new buildings. The Prussian State Railways deemed that rather impractical and decided to build a new station situated on a hillside. Embankments and new bridges were built from 1901 onward, and on December 21, 1905 the station opened at its new location.
The station remained largely undisturbed until suffering from damage in 1944, when German troops were retreating. However, since the rail link was highly valued by the Allied forces, damage was cleared up rather quickly and in 1950 all war damage had been removed from the site. Since 2002 the Cologne–Aachen high-speed railway line allows connections to Cologne with speeds up to 250 km/h (160 mph).
In 1966, Aachen Hauptbahnhof was electrified. Due to its proximity to Belgium, it was decided to implement the switching point from the Deutsche Bahn 's 15 kV AC to the 3000 V DC used by the NMBS/SNCB in the station. Tracks 6 to 9 therefore have a switchable catenary and are used for international Thalys, ICE and RegionalExpress services.
The station hall was renovated from 2000 to 2006.