PLANNING approval for the second phase of the ambitious Stuttgart 21 remodelling programme was granted by the Federal Railway Office on September 6, paving the way for DB to start construction in the second half of 2006.

EBA has approved the technical specifications for the 9·5 km Filder tunnel, which runs southeast from the relocated Hauptbahnhof to the start of the planned Neubaustrecke to Ulm at Wendlingen. The line will pass under Stuttgart Airport, where a low-level through station is proposed. The link will be built as two parallel single-track bores with connecting cross-passages.

Work is already underway on the first phase of the Stuttgart 21 programme, which includes a major redevelopment of the city centre (RG 3.01 p141). By 2014, the existing terminal platforms are due to be replaced by a new eight-track through station lying beneath the present buildings. Judges in Mannheim are expected to rule shortly on a legal challenge to the plans for the underground station.

Meanwhile, DB expects to submit for EBA approval this month its proposals for the 1·5 km tunnel running northwest from the new station to join the existing main line to Mannheim at Feuerbach. Further connections will carry regional services to Nürnberg and Pl