GERMANY: Work to upgrade an existing line to S-Bahn standards to enable Stuttgart service S4 to be extended from Marbach to Backnang was launched with a ceremony on June 22.

The R31 train service is being replaced by buses from July to November while the 13·7 km route and four stations are upgraded. Work includes platform rebuilding, accessibility improvements and provision for S-Bahn services to pass freight trains on the single-track route.

S4 is due to begin operating to Backnang in December, running half-hourly on weekdays and hourly at weekends.

The €11m project is being funded with €6·5m from the Land of Baden-Württemberg, €3·1m from the Stuttgart region and local contributions.