Local news translated – Feb 21, 2024

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

Host Nation Update, Feb. 21, 2024

Stuttgart 21: New tunnel for trains from Tübingen clears next hurdle

On Tuesday, with excavators, a tunnel wall was breached at the Große Wendlinger Kurve. The S21 addition is set to play an important role, especially for trains from Tübingen.

The tunnel, which connects the railway traffic from Tübingen to the new Stuttgart 21 infrastructure, has been inaugurated. During the so-called tunnel breakthrough, a wall that separated the tunnel from the open air was ceremoniously breached on Tuesday near Oberboihingen (Esslingen district). Representatives from state politics and Deutsche Bahn attended the event. Tunnel specialists had spent around eleven months prior digging through the rock with the help of excavators and explosives. Michael Pradel, managing director for the Stuttgart-Ulm railway project, described the tunnel breakthrough as another milestone.

In 2018, the state of Baden-Württemberg commissioned the addition of Stuttgart 21 of the Deutsche Bahn. The goal was to avoid a bottleneck effect for trains coming from the direction of Tübingen. With the Große Wendlinger Kurve, which now adds to the Kleine Wendlinger Kurve, the Neckartalbahn will be integrated into the new dual-track route. Additionally, intersections will be avoided. No serious accidents- the tunnel team thanks patron saint. According to Deutsche Bahn, the overall connection is 1,600 meters long. After a digging stretch of 660 meters, the tunnel specialists successfully made the planned breakthrough in Oberboihingen with an accuracy of eleven millimeters. During the celebration, participants held a service and sang the traditional “Steigerlied” together. With the celebration, they wanted to express their gratitude in the traditional manner to Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners, for the fact that there were no serious accidents during the tunnel work.

The Oberboihingen mayor hopes for peace in the coming months, the installation of the “inner shell” is still pending in the tunnel. Oberboihingen’s mayor, Ulrich Spangenberg (non-partisan), expressed relief that this marks the end of the third major project by Deutsche Bahn in his municipality. “Over the years, the residents had to endure a lot,” said Spangenberg. Overall, compared to the other two projects, this one has progressed by far the fastest. “Communication has also gone well, which somewhat reconciles,” Spangenberg added. Trains are expected to run by 2026. The planned start date for train traffic via the Kleine and Große Wendlinger Kurve is December 2026, as Deutsche Bahn has now announced. From then on, the existing railway line between Stuttgart and Tübingen will be connected to the infrastructure being developed as part of Stuttgart 21. Originally, the commissioning was planned to coincide with S 21 for the year 2025. The construction project was budgeted at around 100 million euros, with the final costs not yet known (SWR Aktuell, Laura Cloppenburg 20 Februar 2024).

Pickpockets at Böblingen Train Station
Beware of pickpockets at Böblingen Train Station, Böblingen. Two men, both 69 years old, fell victim to pickpockets at Böblingen Train Station on Monday afternoon. Both were in the area of the underpass or stairway leading to Talstraße between 12:00 and 12:25 when the unknown perpetrators struck.

The men had their wallets in the back pockets of their pants, from which the unknown individuals eventually pulled out and stole them. In total, the thieves made off with just over 100 euros in cash as well as personal documents and bank cards (SZBZ Peter Maier 21 Februar 2024).

Warning Strike on Wednesday: Few Buses and Trains in Stuttgart and Esslingen.

The union ver.di has called for another warning strike at municipal transport companies. Therefore, only private companies and the S-Bahn are operating in Stuttgart and Esslingen.

Those wishing to travel by train or bus in Esslingen and Stuttgart on Wednesday will once again face restrictions. The union ver.di has called for a full-day warning strike for the employees of the Municipal Transport Company Esslingen (SVE) and the Stuttgart Tramways Company (SSB). ver.di is demanding more money for employees. The trams and buses operated by SSB and SVE are to remain in the depots from around 3 am until the end of service, it is said. The reason for the renewed warning strike is the ongoing wage negotiations with the Municipal Employers’ Association (KAV). S-Bahn trains and buses operated by private companies in Esslingen and Stuttgart are not affected by the warning strike- they are operating according to schedule.

ver.di criticizes that the municipal employers did not present an offer for the approximately 6,500 employees in public transportation during the second round of negotiations earlier this month. Therefore, ver.di sees no other option than the warning strike.

From the union: Delays should also count as working time. In this collective bargaining round, the union is demanding, among other things, that delays be counted as working time. Furthermore, the weekly working hours should be reduced. In addition, a “public transport allowance” should reflect the daily stress behind the wheel and the responsibility for passengers.

The warning strike in Stuttgart is supported by the alliance “Wir fahren zusammen” (We drive together), which also includes the climate movement “Fridays for Future.” A petition to local politicians will also be handed over on Wednesday. A third round of negotiations is planned for March 5th and 6th in Stuttgart (SWR Aktuel 20.Februar 2024).