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Stuttgart 21 protests continue as Bahn head admits costs not certain

The Local · 11 Sep 2010, 11:23

Published: 11 Sep 2010 11:23 GMT+02:00

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It was reported on Saturday that the Deutsche Bahn rejected the project back in 1994, saying it could not be justified on economic grounds.

Der Spiegel reported that an internal paper from the Bahn’s board concluded that the project would not be worth it even if favourable conditions were factored in.

Head of the Baden-Württemberg Social Democratic Party Nils Schmid called on Friday for the demolition work to be halted while a referendum be held to allow residents to vote on the matter.

His party, which is not part of the state government, moved on Wednesday for a legal manoeuvre to be undertaken to enable a popular vote – an amendment to stop the project would have to be introduced into the state parliament and then be allowed to fail to activate a referendum.

Schmid told the crowd on Friday night, he and the SPD supported the project, earning boos and whistles, but added that he wanted a vote on the matter.

“If one has good arguments, one does not have to hide them and can put themselves to a popular vote,” he said, with an eye on Baden-Württemberg state premier Stefan Mappus of the Christian Democratic Union, and justice minister Ulrich Goll of the Free Democratic Party, who have rejected proposals for a legal examination of the referendum idea.

Schmid promised that should the current state government refuse to organise a referendum, the SPD would hold one if it were to form part of the government following the March 2011 state elections.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn head Rüdiger Grube refused to rule out the possibility that costs for the €4.1 billion project could rise.

“One can never say down to the last penny with infrastructure projects,” he was quoted as saying in the Wirtschaftswoche magazine on Saturday.

He blamed high safety standards for the uncertainty in cost projections.

“Ten years ago one had to build a safety exit every 1,000 metres, now it is every 500 metres,” he said.

But he added the figures were fundamentally correct, with the new Stuttgart station costing around €4.1 billion and the new stretch of line between Wendlingen and Ulm costing around €2.9 billion.

Grube also said further investment was planned to increase and improve the track network for goods transport, to cope with the expected doubling of traffic over the next 20 years.

And he said he would be launching a new communications strategy this month, with better information for passengers particularly in the case of service interruption – while the amount of information announced at stations would be streamlined.

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In-train announcements will have less English-language information in the future, while station information will have more, he said.

He would also not rule out further price-rises accompanying the new timetable, to be announced in December.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

00:04 September 12, 2010 by Joshontour
If it ends up costing €10billion over 10 years, that's a whopping 0.024% of Germany's GDP. A real bank breaker.
10:32 September 12, 2010 by catjones
Those extra exits are the deal breakers.
10:29 September 13, 2010 by JDee
Generally extending and improving the rail network is a good thing. The problem here is the strange thinking that it is necessary to route everything through the middle and underneath of a hill bound city. All that's needed is a terminus somewhere outside the city ( i.e. Canstatt or Airport areas ). High speed passenger and goods trains can pass by and if anyone is really desperate to visit Stuttgart they can get off and take a connecting train into the city. Then there is no need to spend 10 years digging up the city centre, tunneling through hills, building bridges and excavating underneath the existing station. Surely this is common sense design?

But just think of the positive things that could be achieved with 10 Billion euros. And surely it still equates to many hundreds of Euros for every adult of working age that makes significant tax contributions. I live in Stuttgart, I would be even more pissed if I lived somewhere else and felt I was paying for a vanity project that I'd probably never see.
17:00 September 13, 2010 by ovbg
The problem with building out of town railway stations is that it removes one of the few advantages of train travel over plane travel, that is, city center to city center travel. Airports are out in the hinterland, train stations are in the city center.
14:23 September 14, 2010 by JDee
The majority of train lines could remain unchanged, my personal preference is that they leave the station in the center as it is. I meant that even in this imagined future of S21 where everyone is dashing across Europe by train and desperately worried about shaving 10 mins off their journey here and there ... even within this scenario the design is wrong. But if you wanted it the high-speed Paris - Vienna line could be placed to the side of the centre as this is repeatedly used as the justification for excavating and sinking the station. From my point of view train travel is a different paradigm to air travel. I go to England and it can take between 8 - 12 hours door to door. Up to 2.5 hours of that can be train changes where I get out and have a walk before the next stage of the journey. If I was travelling from Paris to Vienna I'd rather the journey was 10 minutes longer and I could see the historic train station and the park etc.. instead of the future which is 10 mins faster and you get to see the inside of a concrete tunnel and miss Stuttgart completely!
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