Travel, Shipping, Transportation Information
Personnel authorized shipment of their automobile overseas at government expense may ship to Germany where the pick-up point is the port at Bremerhaven. It takes from three to eight weeks for your car to arrive at Bremerhaven after it has been processed for shipment in Philadelphia, New Orleans or New York. (From Oakland terminal it takes a bit longer).
Gasoline purchased through the quartermaster is rationed, and the number of gallons authorized for purchase each month is determined by the horsepower of the vehicles. Owners of automobiles of over 60 horsepower are authorized to purchase 100 gallons each month. The cost of gasoline is approximately 15 cents per gallon at Quartermaster Service Stations in West Berlin and West Germany. High octane ESSO is approximately 28 cents per gallon. Books of tickets for both regular and premium gasoline may be purchased in the various PX's. Regular oil can be bought at service stations and oil in quart cans may be bought from Exchange retail stores and garages. The exchange garage repairs most makes of cars. Spare parts and accessories are available at the Exchange garage and many local ones. The following insurance is required in Germany:
1. Personal damage type coverage amounting to $25,000 (for vehicles up to 6 seats).
2. Personal damage type coverage amounting to $37,000 (for vehicles with more than 6 seats).
3. Property damage type coverage amounting to one-tenth of the minimum for the damage coverage.
If your car is in good condition, ship it to Berlin. If it needs major repairs, they should be done in the USA prior to shipment, as there is often many weeks delay for parts. Moreover, many German mechanics are not familiar with American cars. Buying a foreign car does not necessarily offer a solution to the problem of transportation for most of the time you have to wait six weeks to several months depending on the type you want to purchase.
If you possess a valid Stateside driver's permit, you must pass a written test covering German driving laws and must identify all international road signs in order to obtain a USAREUR license. For persons not having a valid Stateside license, you must, in addition, take a road test. A booklet can be obtained from the driving school instructor at the Motor Pool at Tempelhof that covers all road signs and questions that may be asked on the test.
A passport is not required for persons in the military. All dependents, however, must have one prior to departure from the United States and it must have a "Status of Forces" stamp affixed. If a dependent wants to travel to Berlin from Frankfurt by duty train, he has to report not later than 1200 hours on the day of departure at the RTO Frankfurt and produce PCS orders so that a Russian translation can be made. Upon arrival in Berlin, they should obtain a second "Commandants Stamp" since, they cannot travel in or out of Berlin on their passport without this stamp, except when travelling on PCS orders. The latter is obtained through the Army billeting officer, 19 Idarstrasse, Dahlem, Guest House. He approves these requests and forwards them to the American Consular Affairs section in Berlin for the actual placement of the stamp. People who want to travel in and out of Berlin may do so on their identification card.
The following considerations govern shipment of pets to this station:
(1) Individual states in the United States differ in regulations regarding shipment of animals. Local public health authorities should be consulted.
(2) All documents relating to vaccinations given prior to shipment and the certificate of health issued at that time should be brought to Berlin. These papers are required when reregistering the pet upon arrival.
(3) After arrival the owner is required to report to the Veterinary Clinic to register the pet.
(4) A maximum of two pets may be housed in government quarters under current Garrison regulations. There is no limit as to the number of birds that may accompany or be owned by a family. However, birds of the parrot family (parakeets, macaws, cockatoos, etc) are prohibited by German law from being imported into or transported through the country.
(5) Important: At least one copy of the sponsor's movement orders must be shipped with the pet to insure duty free entry.
Enroute to Berlin
If you travel by air, you will debark at Rhein/Main and will be processed at that point. The duty train for Berlin leaves Frankfurt at 2016 hours and arrives in Berlin at 0831 hours the next morning. Moreover, personnel being assigned PCS to Berlin are permitted to travel on the courier plane which leaves Frankfurt at approximately 0900 hours, Monday through Friday.
Household Goods — Hold Baggage
Dishes, silverware, table cloths, napkins, cooking utensils, pillows and blankets are furnished families occupying government quarters. It is advisable, however, to bring extra cooking utensils, blankets and table cloths. Don't forget your sheets, since you have to return the ones you are issued within 90 days. Also, you may wish to bring some of your pictures. Washing machines are not furnished. All of these items are sold at the Berlin exchange.
Bring your electrical appliances and some of your lamps. Quartermaster lamps are old fashioned and will probably not be to your liking. Electric transformers are available in the exchange to convert the 220 volts to 110. Electrical clocks will not operate efficiently in Germany. Record players can be altered to operate on 50 cycle current by the exchange repair shop, and American television must be converted before it can be used. (TV conversion costs approximately $16.00 in the PX). At present, only German programs are being telecast in Berlin. There are only two channels, 5 in East Berlin (heavily loaded with propaganda) and 7 in West Berlin, which are on the air 6-8 hours a day.
Until your household goods arrive, you may check out the following items on 90 day hand receipt if you are assigned government quarters.
a) Certain types of kitchen utensils
b) A sweeper
c) Sheets and towels
If you live in economy housing, you must check items out of Family Services. If you can, ship your hold baggage at least five weeks prior to your departure. Put essentials in your hold baggage shipment for it should be waiting for you on arrival. Your household goods, limited to 2000 pounds, will normally arrive about two months after shipment.
The duty train travels daily between Frankfurt, Bremerhaven and Berlin. The train is free.
In addition, daily courier flights from Wiesbaden and Rhein/Maln Air Base land at Tempelhof. Dependents are normally not allowed on these flights unless on PCS orders. Travel on all these trains require a Russian translation of appropriate orders.
The autobahn between Helmstedt and Berlin may be used. You must have a travel authorization and a Russian translation of your orders. A USAREUR license is needed prior to driving in Germany.
Commercial air travel to and from Tempelhof can be booked either with Pan American or British European Airways. In addition, Air France schedules flights Into Tegel, the French airfield.
Getting around Berlin can be as simple and cheap as the part-time tourist wants to make it. However, many people stationed in West Berlin take the easy way out and go by taxi, and in so doing, miss a certain amount of adventure.
In Berlin there are four public transportation systems available, three of which may be used by military personnel and their dependents. These are the U-Bahn, marked by a blue sign with a white U; the Autobus, double and single decker buses; and the Strassenbahn or streetcar. The buses and streetcars only operate in West Berlin. The U-Bahn does go into the East sector but military personnel are prohibited from entering the East Sector in this manner. Care should be used to insure that you get off the U-Bahn before it enters the East sector.
The two U-Bahn lines which go into East Berlin are the Grenzallee-Tegel and Leinestrasse-Gesundbrunnen.
On the Grenzallee-Tegel line the last stop in West Berlin is Kochstrasse. The trains then go through two stations in the East sector without stopping. They stop at Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof and then travel through three more stations without stopping. The first stop in the West is Reinickendorfer Strasse.
Leinestrasse-Gesundbrunnen trains make their last stop in the West at Moritzplatz, They then go through six stations in the East without stopping and the first stop in the West is Voltastrasse.
The fourth system is the S-Bahn which is Communist controlled and travels into the East Zone of Germany. This transportation system is off limits to all military personnel, U.S. civilians and military dependents.
One-way (eine Fahrt) fares on the three West Berlin systems run from 40 to 70 pfennigs depending on the different combinations of transportation utilized. A transfer ticket (Umsteiger) to another type of transportation costs an additional ten pfennigs. Eighty pfennigs are charged to ride after 11:30 p.m.
When an airman turned tourist sets out to use the local transportation for the first time he should obtain a map of the city showing the various transportation networks. For convenience, maps of the city are posted in all U-Bahn stations.
Public transportation in Berlin is well organized and offers a chance for the sightseer to cover the city cheaply and rapidly. For anyone with a few pfennigs in his pocket, a camera over his shoulder and a map in his hand, the transportation systems offer a gateway to new and exciting experiences for budget conscious tourists in Berlin.