Local news translated – Dec. 19, 2022

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Dec. 19, 2022  

Weather in the Esslingen district – Soon the snow will be yesterday’s news again

On the weekend, people could go sledding and skiing. Despite rather little snow cover, the slope conditions were good thanks to the cold temperatures. There was also some sun shine. This will be the end for the time being this week before Christmas: The German weather service announced rain for Monday. Temperatures are expected to rise to up to 13 degrees from Tuesday on. The winter sports facilities on the Alb will therefore pause until the start of the next frost. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 19)

Christmas vacation in Baden-Württemberg – These routes are particularly prone to traffic jams, according to ADAC      

Anyone setting off by car to visit their loved ones must be prepared for traffic jams in view of the upcoming Christmas holidays. The ADAC Württemberg expects a lot of traffic in the southwest, and drivers should expect crowded roads especially the two days before Christmas Eve. “Those who want to avoid the biggest traffic jams on their way to Christmas vacation should ideally avoid the Thursday as well as the Friday before Christmas,” recommended Holger Bach, head of the traffic and environment department at ADAC Württemberg.  Commuter and vacation traffic will converge at the end of the work week, Bach said. “In addition, the travel traffic toward the Alpine countries will be much heavier this time than in past COVID years.” On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the expert expects less traffic. “During Dec. 26, the roads will become more congested again as many people return from visiting relatives and family,” Bach said.  Routes in Baden-Württemberg that are particularly prone to congestion include the Autobahn 6 between the Weinsberg interchange and the Hockenheim interchange, as well as the section from Stuttgart to Ulm on the A8. According to the ADAC, travelers should also prepare for delays at the border crossings into Switzerland and Austria in the direction of ski resorts. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 19)

Winter in the Böblingen district – Snow plowers are ready as early as 3 a.m.

The winter services have to be ready to go before the snow arrives – because towards the end of the year, things can move fast. As is the case these days, when flakes are suddenly falling from the sky. The division in the Böblingen district is clear: the freeways are cleared by the freeway maintenance services, the roads outside the towns are cleared by the road maintenance services, and the routes within the towns and communities are cleared by the local operating services.

The Leonberg road maintenance department, which is responsible for the northern part of the district and the Böblingen area, started early on Wednesday morning with nine vehicles. “They have five of their own cars – and when there is a lot to do, four more are called in from a service provider,” explains Benjamin Lutsch from the Böblingen district office. On the first day, 300 tons of salt were already spread. On Thursday evening, the five own vehicles are sufficient, but on Friday morning at 3 a.m., the complete fleet starts again.  The clearing services in the municipalities have to operate on a much smaller scale. In Böblingen, for example, in addition to the technical operating services with the large vehicles, the municipal gardening department is also on duty – two hand gritting crews with three people each and a clearing tractor ensure safe paths in the core city, while in Dagersheim another tractor and employees are on the road in the hand clearing service. “At the onset of winter, the employees had to contend with icy roads under the snow, especially on inclines,” reports Gianluca Biela from the Böblingen city administration. The fact that the work is no walk in the park can also be seen in figures that normally do not appear in any statistics: per day of operation, the technical operations services easily make five large pots of coffee – to stay awake.

Fortunately, there were mainly fender benders and only minor injuries in the first winter accidents in the Böblingen district. “Everything went smoothly,” reports Yvonne Schächtele, spokeswoman for the Ludwigsburg police headquarters, which is also responsible for the Böblingen district. Between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, the police headquarters registered 134 accidents on roads and highways in the districts of Böblingen and Ludwigsburg. A total of 14 people were slightly injured. The total damage to property amounts to more than 550,000 euros. The highest numbers in the Böblingen district, where there were around 50 accidents by Thursday morning, were reported by the Leonberg police station (18 accidents), followed by Sindelfingen (13), Böblingen (9) and Herrenberg (6). (BB.heute.de, Dec 19)

At Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof – man dies as he tries jumping on departing train

After the fatal accident at Stuttgart Central Station on Sunday afternoon, the investigation continues. A 60-year-old man had been caught between a train and the platform at platform 5 at around 3:30 p.m., when he – like several of his companions – still wanted to board the train that was already departing. Together with passers-by, the group had previously opened the already locked doors again.

According to the police, the train driver apparently did not notice the accident at first. The train continued its journey, but was then stopped in Zuffenhausen. There, police officers questioned the passengers and took personal information. Chaplains took special care of the accident victim’s companions. After about two hours, the train was able to continue its journey towards Berlin.

The train was not one of the Deutsche Bahn, but a connection of the provider Flixtrain. The train was scheduled to depart from Stuttgart to Berlin at 15:29. The private long-distance train company confirmed the incident on Monday afternoon. “Flixtrain regrets to confirm that there was an accident at Stuttgart Central Station on Sunday in which a person was killed. All our sympathies go out to the relatives and friends of the deceased,” a spokesman said.

The company spokesman added that the company was in close contact with the police “in order to clarify the course of events and the cause of the accident as quickly as possible”. A detailed statement will be made as soon as the investigations have been completed.

In fact, the incident raises several questions. Not only why passers-by on the platform had the idea of opening the door of a moving train. But also why this was possible in the first place. Investigations by the criminal investigation department are continuing. Witnesses are asked to call 07 11 / 89 90 – 57 78. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 19)