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Stuttgart 21 passes test as opponents baulk

The Local · 21 Jul 2011, 15:39

Published: 21 Jul 2011 15:39 GMT+02:00

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Opposition representatives Brigitte Dahlbender and Hannes Rockenbauch said they would boycott next Tuesday’s presentation of the test's result, which apparently is set to green-light the controversial revamp of Stuttgart's main train station.

The crucial section of the long-awaited report of Swiss engineering firm SMA was leaked to the press on Thursday – and it supports the claim of railway operator Deutsche Bahn that the project could result in at least 30 percent increased capacity.

“Our review of the simulation results has shown that the required 49 arrivals in Stuttgart main station during the busiest hours, and using the provided timetable, with economically optimal quality of operation, can be achieved,” said the report’s decisive sentence.

“We are happy with the result,” said Wolfgang Dietrich, the project’s spokesman.

But Stuttgart 21 opponents said the report was worthless as it did not examine how the new underground station would perform in the case of problems or emergencies. “A stress test without any stress does not deserve the label stress test,” said Rockenbauch.

They have now also walked out of the arbitration talks, chaired by Heiner Geißler, which were started after weeks of protests in Stuttgart last year. The rail project controversy contributed to the election of a Green-led coalition for the state of Baden-Wüttemberg in March.

Deutsche Bahn, the state government, Geißler and opponents had met three times in the last weeks to prepare for the presentation of the report, but opponents have been complaining about a lack of information from the side of the railway.

They also criticized Geißler, saying he was not as neutral as they had thought. He in turn said they were making a mistake by leaving the forum.

Story continues below…

Stuttgart 21 consists of a massive construction effort, involving rebuilding the city’s main train station underground and turning it around 90 degrees, as well as laying 57 kilometres of new tracks. The aim is to make the city a major European rail hub.

The official price tag is capped at €4.5 billion but some media reports suggest the true cost may be higher. Opponents have continued to mount protests against the project over the past year, calling it too expensive and unnecessary.

The Local/DAPD/DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

05:32 July 22, 2011 by rfwilson
As impressive as Stuttgart21 is, I have to say there will be something lost when it is completed. As a Canadian who has visited Stuttgart dozens of times over 35 years (sometimes on business, sometimes to head on to visit friends in nearby Esslingen), I LOVED that old train station, and I loved the unhurried charm of Stuttgart back then.

I have seen it gradually change, first with the building of the U-Bahn system in teh mid '70s, the conversion of Koenigstrasse into a pedestrian mall, and later with many other "improvements" that made it more "world class " (I hate that phrase!). But all this was at a cost to its old warmth, charm, and comfortingly "provincial" character.

Progress, I guess.... sigh!
07:49 July 22, 2011 by John Whitehurst
It happens every where Progress; it can be good or it can be bad.

What I donot get is the Green protesters still making noise about something that the majority of people have agreed too. The cost must be in the millions for additional police and security so a hand full of people can protest. It should come from their income sources be it state welfare or what ever. It is goinfg to be built and I think a special tax levy should be takeen if you belong to the Green party in BW to cover the additional cost; that they are driving up with delays and security.

People have always fought progress even when it was for the general good of the population but when do you stop! as in when will the greens give up seeing that their protest want make it stop... I also think they should be photographed and not allowed to use the rail system, go back to walking and bicycles and donot use public trasnportation.. No it will be like the former DDR the Communist party members came over first, they were the ones with money and cars. So the greens will be the first to use the new system of course...... What a farce. Grow up......

08:42 July 22, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ John Whitehurst

Without being on the protesters' side, I understand that the problem is the huge increase in costs. The first issue is that the mayor promised before being elected in 2004 that he will organise a referendum if the additional costs of the project amounted to more than € 200 million (based on this promise, the Green candidate withdrew from the electoral race and offered him his support) . But then in November 2007 the mayor, without any referendum, approved the project with initial costs estimated at € 2.8 billion and additional costs capped at € 1 billion. The polls showed in April 2008 a 50-50 split regarding the opinion about the project. Then they started to increase the costs more and more and so in November 2008 64% of the population was against the project. Apparently now the total cost of the project amounts to more than € 5 billion.

It seems that at the time of signing the agreement, Deutsche Bahn consciously hid the real costs (they were internally estimated at € 4.1 billion). So we are actually talking about pure fraud.

So it is not really a fight between progress and traditionalism. It is about the citizens being tricked both by Deutsche Bahn and the mayor. The additional costs incurred by the protest are basically insignificant if related to the hidden additional costs.
10:24 July 22, 2011 by celined
In France people would die to have a high-speed rail in their city. If you have a look at Marseilles and all the good it brings with Marseilles being at only 3hours of Paris. And what about the Eurostar? I really don't get why people are so strongly against about this project.

Also it seems to me that the opponents tend to forget that the cost doesn't only include the cost of building a new train station but also high-speed rail tracks and a tunnel. so sure, it's expensive. We are talking about huge construction.

For a country who claim to be so green, I found it a little extreme to be against public transportation. And when you think you need 3 hours by train against 2 hours by car to do a Munich-Stuttgart, no wonder why no one use the train in this country.

And my last point is: who really believe that a terminus station is the future? Honestly I don't.
11:31 July 22, 2011 by JDee

The protest isn't against a high-speed rail link, it is against the selling off of the existing rail station for development and tunnels which would join the new station to the network.Btw, the stress test only allows a train 2.5 minutes in the station, whereas TGV trains need a minimum of 6 minutes, so the project is actually not compatible with TGV style trains without cutting the capacity.... go figure!
15:12 July 24, 2011 by SLL
The current station is an embarrassment to the city. Stuttgart, home of Benz and Bosch, should not only have a first class airport, but also a respectable train station. The station makes you think you just arrived in a third world country, which is not exactly good for business.
09:49 July 25, 2011 by JDee

I hope you can see DB's policy of not maintaing the existing station for the sinical tactic it is, why don't you ask them why they cannot even get a cleaner clean the pigeon dropping from the platforms? If you think this level of carelessness is acceptable then how long do you think it will be before the new station is similarly disgusting? As with many large scale developments once the concrete is poured and the money is siphoned off the developers will not be around to do the maintenance work.


ps. There are also some other terrible terminus stations out there, NY Grand Central, London St. Pancras, Munich, Paris North, Paris East and ..... Marseille. Although I'm sure you're hoping that they are also demolished?
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