GERMANY: Deutsche Bahn announced on March 29 its intention to cease work temporarily on the Stuttgart 21 project to rebuild the city’s main station.

DB Board Member, Technical, Dr Volker Kefer confirmed that no further contracts would be let and no more construction work undertaken until a new government has been sworn in for the Land of Baden-Württemberg. Recent elections saw the Christian Democrats defeated by a coalition of the Social Democratic and Green parties, both of which oppose the €7bn Stuttgart 21 project. DB says that it will resume negotiations once the new administration takes office in May.

The plans to redevelop the historic Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof have met with vociferous protests, both locally and nationally, focused on the cost and environmental impact of the work.

DB envisages rebuilding the station on the same site 12 m below ground, with through platforms that would avoid the need for time-consuming reversal of long-distance ICE and other services. Most of the historic main building would be retained, providing access to the four platforms and eight tracks of the future station where the design would allow daylight to penetrate to track level.

The site of the existing station and approach tracks would be released for development, including commercial and residential buildings with extensive office accommodation.

The leader of the Social Democratic Party in Baden-Württemberg, Nils Schmid, welcomed DB’s decision, adding that his party ‘wanted to let the citizens decide’ the fate of Stuttgart 21.