An additional tunnel must be built

Ohen the new ICE station in Stuttgart is actually set to open in autumn 2025, construction work in the area will still be far from complete. The old track deck is to be built with flats, which can only start at the end of this decade. In addition, the Stuttgart-Zürich route, which rail connoisseurs call the “Gäubahn” and ends in a panoramic section, is to be modernized. If this does not happen, trains will not be able to run on this route in the so-called German time cycle. To do this, the travel time on this route must be reduced by approximately 20 minutes. To do this, the Pfaffensteig tunnel must now be built between Böblingen and the ICE station at the fair.

The railroad, city, state and region steering committee for control of the Stuttgart 21 project decided last week, after a long dispute, to use project funds to finance a play of connection for 270 million euros to the ICE station of the exhibition center. Nothing must stand in the way of the construction of the tunnel to relieve the S-Bahn line. However, since the cost calculation is from 2015, higher construction costs are to be expected.

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If we add up the costs of the extension of the railway line to Wendlingen, the subsequent digitization of the new main station, the construction of another additional tunnel in the district of Feuerbach in Stuttgart and the Pfaffensteig tunnel, the federal government is investing an additional 2.6 billion euros so that Stuttgart 21 becomes as powerful as necessary in view of the growing number of passengers from 2030. The project was planned in 1994 and after thirty years it is in already outdated. “Infrastructure measures bring rail traffic up to date,” said CDU parliamentary group deputy leader Steffen Bilger.

Delays in transfers

Due to the construction works of the Pfaffensteig tunnel, all passengers from Zurich, Singen or Horb who wish to change trains at the new central station in Stuttgart or go to the city center must also change trains at Vaihingen; this boring second best could test the patience of passengers for at least six years. The project company Stuttgart 21 (PSU) does not see this as a major problem because, according to a study, only 18% of passengers traveling on this route want to go to the city center.

Baden-Württemberg Transport Minister Winfried Herrmann (Greens) has been fighting for many years for the preservation of the Gäubahn line because he doubts the efficiency of the new station. According to him, the new transport hub needs a “resilience route” if the twin-tube tunnels of the new ICE station are closed.

This autumn, the new ICE route from Wendlingen to Ulm, which is 60 kilometers long and half passes through tunnels, should be put into service. At the new main station in Stuttgart, work is currently proceeding according to plan, all “chalice feet” of the new station roof have been concreted and twenty of the 28 “chalice supports” which are to support the station roof have been been concreted. In March, Deutsche Bahn’s supervisory board endowed the project with an additional risk cushion of 600 million euros, so the rail junction could now cost 9.8 billion euros. In 1994, a first calculation was 2.5 billion euros.

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