How efficient is the new Stuttgart through station? Are the tunnels safe?
Here you will find answers to important questions about Stuttgart 21 and the new Wendligen-Ulm line.
The rail project: facts and figures
The Stuttgart-Ulm rail project comprises two subprojects: Stuttgart 21 and the new Wendlingen-Ulm line.
A total of around 120 kilometers of new rail lines are being built.
The Stuttgart 21 project is far more than the much-publicized reconstruction of the main train station. The entire Stuttgart rail hub is being reorganized. The rail network is being expanded in the process: Around 57 kilometers of track will be created for long-distance, regional and commuter rail traffic, around 30 kilometers of which will run in tunnels. Four stations will also be built as part of the project:
- The main station as a through station
- The airport/trade fair station
- The Mittnachtstraße S-Bahn Station
- The sidings station in Untertürkheim
To complement Stuttgart 21, the Stuttgart-Vaihingen station will also be upgraded to a stop for regional trains.
Stuttgart's future main station is the centerpiece of the project. The terminus station will become a through station. This will be located at right angles to the current tracks at a depth of around eleven meters. The station comprises eight platform tracks on four central platforms. A predominantly underground rail ring connects the new station to the existing network. When the new station is completed, the above-ground tracks will be removed. A new urban district will be built on the freed-up space: Stuttgart Rosenstein.
NEW WENDLINGEN-ULM LINE
The new Wendlingen-Ulm line is around 60 kilometers long. It provides a fast and comfortable route across the Swabian Alb. More than half of the route runs in the total of eleven tunnels. Large parts of the above-ground route run right next to the A8 autobahn. By bundling the two routes, the project consumes less landscape.
In the Filstal valley near Mühlhausen, one of the highest rail bridges in Germany is being built at a height of around 85 meters. A total of 37 bridges are part of the new line.
The Merklingen - Swabian Alb station was built to complement the project. Regional trains will stop there in the future.
On the old line across the Swabian Alb, trains now have to slow down to 70 kilometers per hour in some places. On the new line, on the other hand, they travel at up to 250 kilometers per hour. Today, the ICE from Stuttgart to Ulm still takes just under an hour. In the future, it will only take about half that time. The travel time for regional services will also fall from 60 to around 41 minutes. This includes stops at the airport and the new train station in Merklingen. The new line will relieve the existing route. It will free up capacity for regional and freight traffic.
The first regional and long-distance trains will run on the new line on December 11, 2022.
Stuttgart's future main station is the centerpiece of the project. The terminus station will become a through station. It will be located at right angles to the current tracks at a depth of around eleven meters. It has eight tracks on four central platforms.
The way for travelers to their trains becomes more comfortable. Stuttgart's new main station can be reached from all directions via short, barrier-free routes. Travelers reach one of the three distribution walkways above the platforms at ground level. Three elevators, five staircases and seven escalators lead to each platform. The footbridges shorten the time needed to change platforms. Each platform also has direct access to the S-Bahn. The shortest distance from platform 1/2 is just 50 meters to the S-Bahn station Hauptbahnhof tief.
The new station is so efficient that it will be able to double passenger numbers from 2010. In addition, the planned German frequency can only be achieved with the fast entries and exits possible in the new station. The Stuttgart node will be the first node in the whole of Germany to be digitally controlled. This will put even more power on the rails and help reduce delays.
In the final state of the Stuttgart digital node, around 100 trains per hour can arrive at the future main station. That is almost three times as many as in 2010 at peak hour in the old terminus station.
The fire protection concept for Stuttgart's future main station was developed by Deutsche Bahn together with experts from the Stuttgart fire department. It was comprehensively tested and approved. Based on the approved plans, new escape staircases will be built at the ends of each of the four platforms. All evacuation measures and the plans have been coordinated with the Dachverband Integratives Planen und Bauen e.V. (DIPB).
The future main station is accessible from all directions via barrier-free routes. At ground level, travelers from Königstrasse, the main ticket hall or even from the palace garden can access the walkways. These are pedestrian bridges that connect the four platforms. Three elevators lead to each platform. The new station is especially designed to meet the needs of people with limited mobility and orientation difficulties. Deutsche Bahn has discussed its plans with specialist associations and is involving them in the implementation.
The future main station has a longitudinal gradient of 13.1 to 15.1 per mille in the platform area. 15 per mille is no more than 1.5 cm difference in height per meter. This is compensated for by a transverse slope of the platforms toward the center amounting to 2 percent. This means that baby carriages and suitcases do not roll away, and there is no danger for passengers. The Federal Railway Authority has tested the platform slope and rated it as safe. The Feuersee S-Bahn station in Stuttgart, built in the late 1970s, has a greater longitudinal incline of 20 per thousand than the new station. It has been operated accident-free for 40 years.
The existing station building was built between 1914 and 1928 and is named after its architect Paul Bonatz. The "Bonatzbau" remains with the large hall as the reception building and the tower.
Christoph Ingenhoven is the architect of the new central station. His design integrates the "Bonatzbau" into modern architecture. The trademark of the new station is 28 goblet supports. These form a unique concrete shell structure that has never been produced in this form before. Connected to each other, they form the roof of the platform hall. Over 1,000 square meters of formwork are used for each goblet support. There are 350 tons of reinforcing steel in a complete goblet. These are distributed over at least 22,000 steel struts.
In addition to their load-bearing function, the goblet supports also have a second function: 27 of them are fitted with around 200 m² of light eyes through which daylight falls onto the platforms. This largely eliminates the need for artificial lighting during the day and saves energy. Pleasant temperatures prevail in the platform hall all year round. Arriving trains and the cooling tunnel air flowing through provide the necessary air exchange. The soil around the platform hall releases heat and cold only slowly and has an insulating effect.
How do passengers benefit from the Stuttgart-Ulm rail project?
FAST, DIRECT CONNECTIONS
Thanks to the Stuttgart-Ulm rail project, passengers can travel faster and have to change trains less often.
Europe's metropolises are moving closer together
The new Stuttgart-Ulm axis is part of the "Magistrale for Europe. The name stands for a network of rails on which trains travel at high speed. It connects regions and large cities in five European countries. 34 million inhabitants and 16 million employees live there. The project is an initiative of the European Union (EU).
Stuttgart and Ulm are centrally located on this important route. It links Paris, Strasbourg, Munich and Vienna with Bratislava and Budapest along a route of 1,500 kilometers. The line is the central west-east connection in the European rail network. Its expansion is a contribution to the economic, political and cultural rapprochement of Western and Eastern Europe.
Baden-Württemberg: public transport benefits
The Stuttgart-Ulm rail project will make rail transportation in Baden-Württemberg better overall: many connections will be faster and more direct. Eight out of a total of eleven million residents will benefit from the rail project. For example, because they live in counties that will be served by new, through lines in regional transport. The Stuttgart-Ulm rail project will enable more trains to run. Travel times will be shortened and new direct connections will be created. In addition, the opportunities for changing trains will improve. Overall, the quality of travel will increase.
Regions move closer together thanks to fast connections. In the future, it will be easy to live in Ulm and work in Stuttgart. This also applies to other regions in the country. Companies will also benefit: If they can be reached quickly and easily, they will find it easier to attract skilled workers.
Stuttgart Region: Travel faster and better
The current terminus station will become a through station. Trains will no longer have to change direction when leaving the station, but will simply continue their journey. This will make it possible to link transport lines that today end at the main station. Where passengers have to change trains today, they can simply remain seated in the future. This not only saves time, but also makes traveling by train more pleasant. Many cities will be accessible more quickly thanks to the rail project. This strengthens the economy and brings more quality of life.
From 2030, twice as many people are to travel by rail as in 2010. One step towards this is a coordinated timetable for the entire country, the "Deutschlandtakt".
Many trains of different lines run at stations with important junction functions. Trains arrive at regular times. Such a timetable is easy to remember. For example, a half-hourly service for long-distance traffic is planned on the important Mannheim-Stuttgart-Ulm line.
The aim of the Deutschlandtakt is to ensure that long-distance and regional services are well coordinated. Because this applies to the whole of Germany, it extends far beyond the commissioning of Stuttgart 21. However, the planned Deutschlandtakt presupposes Stuttgart 21. The current draft of the Deutschlandtakt provides for more trains than ever before at Stuttgart's future central station: a basic service of 33 long-distance and regional trains per hour. That is a third more than today (November 2020). This would not be possible without Stuttgart 21.
The new rail hub creates the conditions for the politically targeted doubling of passenger numbers.
DSD - Digital Rail Germany
The familiar signaling systems along the tracks are being replaced. Digital technology optimizes train traffic. It speeds up processes while ensuring the best possible safety. This means that more trains can take more passengers to their destinations more quickly and at shorter intervals.
An important part of the digital technology is called European Train Control System (ETCS).
ETCS is a train control system. It monitors the progress of a train and prevents it from running over signals that indicate "stop". To do this, ETCS collects information from the track, from the trains and from the interlockings. Computers process the data and convert the result into instructions. ETCS is in use or planned in over 60 countries around the world. In combination with other systems, more trains run with fewer delays.
DKS - Digital Node Stuttgart
Stuttgart 21 and the S-Bahn network are pioneers: Deutsche Bahn is converting the Stuttgart rail hub by 2025, the first in Germany to do so. The Stuttgart node includes not only the new through station. The node includes all stations and lines in the surrounding area. By 2030, the new systems will be installed throughout the region. Including the S-Bahn network. Every day, more than half a million passengers will travel better with digital technology.
TRAFFIC HUB AT THE AIRPORT
A new station for long-distance and regional trains is being built between Stuttgart Airport and the Landesmesse trade fair center. From there, the journey to the main train station in the city center will be shortened from 27 to 8 minutes. In addition, large parts of the country will in future be accessible from the airport station without changing trains.
Benefit from this:
- ten million air travelers a year
- annually more than one million trade fair visitors as well as
- quarter of a million people in the catchment area of the new station.
The station for long-distance buses and a light rail link will create a transportation hub between rail, road and airspace.
By 2030, twice as many people are expected to travel on regional trains as in 2010, which is why rail services must continue to improve. Important innovations will be in place by then: Stations will have been modernized and made barrier-free. Trains will stop at stations everywhere in the state from five to midnight at least once an hour. Express trains connect the major cities and rural regions.
In line with commuter flows, these "Metropolexpress" lines will extend beyond the S-Bahn network and cover connections within the Stuttgart metropolitan region as far as Heilbronn, Schwäbisch Hall, Aalen, Geislingen, Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim. At least in the core area, the Metropolexpress trains run every 30 minutes. Outside the S-Bahn network, they stop at all stations, inside only at the major stations. This means that areas outside the S-Bahn network are also attractively connected to the state capital. At the same time, the Metropolex presses relieve the S-Bahn network.
The S-Bahn is the backbone of public transport in the region
The Stuttgart Region Association has been responsible for the S-Bahn since 1996. On seven lines, S-Bahn trains call at more than 80 stops every day. In this way, they bring over 430,000 passengers a day to their destinations in an environmentally friendly and comfortable way.
People are mobile differently than they were a few years ago
Working people want to better combine family and career. Working hours are becoming increasingly flexible. As a result, more people are dependent on frequent service, even outside peak hours. Commuters expect a variety of options for changing trains. The association is therefore expanding the S-Bahn network and increasing the frequency of services.
Since the end of 2020, trains will run every 15 minutes from Monday to Friday on almost all routes. In 2019, the association also decided to purchase 58 additional vehicles with an investment volume of well over 400 million euros. This will make S-Bahn services fit for the future. In the future, modern digital technology for train control (ETCS) will ensure greater capacity and fewer delays. This technology is to be installed at the Stuttgart rail junction as part of the "Digital Stuttgart Junction" pilot project. With ETCS, more trains can run at shorter intervals, bringing more passengers safely and comfortably to their destinations. The new technology will also help ensure that some S-Bahn trains that currently terminate at Schwabstrasse will be routed to Vaihingen and on to Böblingen in the future.
The network becomes denser and better
Stuttgart 21 will also significantly improve regional transport services. Among other things, this will be ensured by the regional transport lines that will run through the main station in the future. They will create a transport system with numerous new direct connections, shorter journey times and better transfer options. The airport will be connected for long-distance and regional traffic and will become a new hub for traffic. The main line of the S-Bahn will be extended. There will be a new S-Bahn station, Mittnachtstraße, between the main station and Bad Cannstatt. All lines will stop at Mittnachtstrasse. Passengers changing trains, for example from the Rems and Neckar valleys to the north and vice versa, will have a much shorter journey in the future. The S-Bahn network will also continue to grow outward. Extensions to Neuhausen auf den Fildern and Nürtingen have been decided and are already in the planning stage.
More and more comfort
Starting in 2021, all commuter trains in the region will gradually be given a new coat of paint, a changed interior and fresh technology. Instead of the classic red, the commuter trains will arrive in a bright light gray. Doors and special compartments will be given clearly recognizable color elements. This will make boarding at stops easier and faster. New additional multi-purpose compartments will make traveling easier for people with wheelchairs, bicycles or strollers. There will be power outlets on the train. New and larger screens will provide information about the current location and travel time at all times. Free WLAN has already been available on the trains since mid-2017. In addition, passengers now also receive all travel information in real time on their cell phones, tablets, or laptops via the new train portal.
THE tunnel: safe and tested
Tunnel safety has top priority in the Stuttgart-Ulm rail project.
Deutsche Bahn has a four-stage safety concept for tunnels:
The probability of a train having an accident in a tunnel is minimized from the outset. How does this work? By eliminating, for example, encounters between two trains in a tunnel as far as possible or completely. In new tunnels, such as those of the Stuttgart-Ulm rail project, this is mainly achieved by building two separate tunnel tubes. This means that a separate tube is available for each direction of travel.
If something should nevertheless happen in the tunnel, the aim is to minimize the effects of the damage. This includes, for example, the "emergency brake override". This enables the train driver to override an emergency braking maneuver in the event of a fire in the tunnel, for example, so that the train can continue its journey and leave the tunnel without stopping. Further measures can then be carried out outside the tunnel.
In the event that a train nevertheless comes to a stop in the tunnel, escape routes with escape guidance systems are available. Between the single-track tunnel tubes of the Stuttgart-Ulm rail project are connecting structures through which people can reach the other tunnel tube. One tube is the safe space for the other tube.
The fire departments and emergency services can drive through the parallel tunnel with rescue vehicles to the scene of the accident and provide assistance from there. For this purpose, all the necessary facilities are available to them in the vicinity of the portal, such as rescue sites with access roads and fire water supply.
The city: green and climate-friendly
The rail project opens up an urban development opportunity of the century: 85 hectares of land for a new district in the heart of Stuttgart.
THE NEW DISTRICT OF STUTTGART ROSENSTEIN
The completion of the through station opens up a unique opportunity for the state capital Stuttgart. 85 hectares of land will become available. A new city district is to be built there: Stuttgart Rosenstein. With at least 20 hectares of new green space, Stuttgart Rosenstein connects the Nordbahnhofviertel, Rosensteinpark and Schlossgarten. Five model urban districts create affordable living space. They offer everything necessary for living and working in the future. With forward-looking solutions, Stuttgart Rosenstein is to be sustainable and climate-neutral, combining living, working and housing.
HOW SHOULD STUTTGART ROSENSTEIN BE STRUCTURED AND DESIGNED?
First, the city of Stuttgart asked its citizens for their wishes, ideas and concerns. Broad-based citizen participation was the basis for an international urban planning competition. The asp Architekten GmbH/Koeber Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH working group emerged as the winner. Together with the architects, the city of Stuttgart is now developing a framework plan. This will deepen the competition design and is an important intermediate step in the development of the Stuttgart Rosenstein district.
VISION OF A MODERN URBANISM
The architects from asp/Koeber describe their design as "radically green. The neighborhoods in Stuttgart Rosenstein are characterized by green courtyards, short distances and mixed uses. They should not consume more energy than they generate. A neighborhood square forms the core of a neighborhood. This is a central hub for living together. So-called neighborhood hubs bundle the new mobility in Stuttgart Rosenstein. They offer rental stations for cars, bicycles or e-bikes. On the first floor, there is also space for stores, cafés and social facilities such as daycare centers. From the hub, the neighborhood is also logistically supplied with everything it needs. Goods will reach people over short distances. The result is a city of short distances with good pedestrian and bicycle connections. Cyclists can reach their destination in a short time on high-speed bike paths. Public transportation also plays a major role. Every resident or visitor should find a bus or train stop within a radius of around 200 meters.
Across all social strata, whether families, singles, shared apartments or seniors - in Stuttgart Rosenstein they can live well together. Different generations come together and actively contribute to the community. Youth and generation houses, cultural and learning places become meeting places. Urban gardening brings people together to use open spaces and roofs for gardening. The large park areas of Stuttgart Rosenstein connect the individual neighborhoods and are social meeting places. Housing in the new district should be affordable for all. This can be achieved with suitable rental and ownership models, such as building communities or building cooperatives. The motto of the new Stuttgart Rosenstein district is: For everyone. For tomorrow.