• Germany's news in English

Stuttgart braces for huge rail project protest

AFP/The Local · 20 Aug 2010, 14:34

Published: 20 Aug 2010 14:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We expect at least 10,000 to attend, and hope that there will be at least 20,000," Axel Wieland, a spokesman for the organisers, told news agency AFP. The demo was due to start at 6:30 pm.

A previous protest on August 13 attracted "significantly" more than 20,000 people, organisers said. Police put the number of demonstrators at between 15,000 and 18,000.

The massive €4.5-billion Stuttgart 21 project aims to transform the southwestern city and the surrounding region into an important railway crossroads of 21st-century Europe.

Click here for a photo gallery of Stuttgart 21 plans.

Engineers plan to blast 16 tunnels and cuttings into the many surrounding hills, build 18 new bridges, lay 60 kilometres (38 miles) of new train track and create three new stations.

Stuttgart's main station will be utterly transformed, from a terminus into an underground through-station, so that trains no longer have to chug in and back

out but can whiz through on their way to Paris, Bratislava, Hamburg or Rome.

But many in Stuttgart say the project is far too disruptive and expensive and that the rail network could be speeded up in other, cheaper ways. They also fear it will go over budget.

Story continues below…

In particular they object to the side wings of their historic train station building, an interwar modernist classic designed by Paul Bonatz, falling victim to the wrecking ball.

The traditionally conservative state of Baden-Württemberg, where Stuttgart is the capital, will hold elections in March, and some observers believe the unpopular rail project could affect support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Related links:

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

00:34 August 21, 2010 by JDee
"so that trains no longer have to chug in and back

out but can whiz through on their way to Paris"

The trains will still have to stop no matter how they enter the station, the number of available platforms will be significantly reduced. The city does not lie directly in the shortest path and trains will still have to make a huge loop inorder to pass through the centre. The 'benefit' of the new plan is that it reduces the footprint of the station and release development land. It has nothing to with chugging or whizzing! The terminus station is perfectly good for Stuttgart as it is for several other major German cities ( Frankfurt, Munich etc.. ) You could not think of a worse city to try and convert to through traffic because of the geography, the centre is surround on most sides by huge hills, apart from to the east where there is the logical opening to flat ground, this is where the existing trains access the city. We already have the Greens in control here, I believe the SPD were voted out due to this project.

The issue here is not just about the fact they want to part demolish a listed building. It is a huge project which stretches as far as 2 miles from the station. It is about the financing, the disruption, the bogus justifications for the need for the project. It is about starting a project which will be 'too big to fail' and will ultimately milk the taxpayers, us, you, of money while the developers line their pockets. It is about a small elite taking decisions which may adversely affect many. When the majority of Stuttgarters are strongly against the project it is about the failure of democracy. That is why there are 20000 people down there.
14:50 August 21, 2010 by Joshontour
Come on now, you know they aren't going to "demolish" the building. This project is about the future vs. those who live in the past. Let's clear the way for future generations to benefit from this slight disruption we have to put up with. The reasons people have opposed this project have continually changed, first it was nostalgia, then disruptions from construction, then the park, then the dust, then the expense, then the mineral water in Bad Cannstatt. It's always changing, what it comes down to is that people in Stuttgart love to protest. There has been 3 riots in the past week in Stuttgart from different protests and only one because of Stuttgart 21... tell you what, if these people win this fight... you will see the silent MAJORITY standing against Kopf 21 and so much disagreement in Stuttgart that nothing will progress. Now go sit down.
18:03 August 21, 2010 by JDee

I'm sorry to inform you, that unless there is some miraculous breakthrough in technology, in energy terms, the majority of the world's population will soon be living very much in the past. That's why I believe we have a responsibility to protect the legacy of the infracstructure that we already have and use the remaining fossil fuels resources wisely. There are hundreds of thousaunds of empty residential properties in Germany and the Stuttgart area is littered with redundant commercial property. As the main aim of the project is releasing further land for development, which will result in economic displacement rather that true value creation, I believe that cancelling the project IS the responsible thing to do in order to benefit future generations.
18:52 August 22, 2010 by Joshontour
@JDee anyone with a basic understanding of logistics and construction can tell you that this project is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This is about function over form. The Main Station in Stuttgart was built in 1922 and does not have the logistics capabilities to handle the time we live in, let alone the future. The K21 project does not fix the problems that S21 does. More and more people in Stuttgart are choosing to drive their own cars these days instead of taking the train or the s-bahn which doesn't do anything to save fossil fuels; and the commercial property would be of better use with better infrastructure in Stuttgart. By the way, that comment just proved my point that your (the opposition) reasons to oppose this are always changing. This is more about nostalgia for you then logical thinking.
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd