The station's origins lie in a joint station of the Köln-Mindener Eisenbahn and Bergisch-Märkische Eisenbahn which was built north of the city centre in 1847. That station was replaced by a new station, erected in 1910 at the current site. It featured raised embankments to allow a better flow of traffic. At the time of its opening, it was one of the largest stations in Germany. It was, however, destroyed in an Allied air raid on October 6, 1944.
The main station hall was rebuilt in the year 1952 in a contemporary style. Its stained glass windows feature then-common professions of Dortmund.
982 trains pass though it each day and make Dortmund Hauptbahnhof the busiest train station in the Ruhr Area and (excluding the S-Bahn networks) the second busiest in Germany only after Köln Hauptbahnhof