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Wendlingen-Ulm HSR line and Stuttgart 21, Germany [free access]

January 1, 2018

Key players: Deutsche Bahn (DB) AG is the developer.


Project description: Restructuring of the Stuttgart rail node (also known as Stuttgart 21 or S21) as well as construction of a new line (NBS) between Wendlingen and Ulm for high-speed rail (HSR) operations.


Background: The Stuttgart-Ulm high-speed rail (HSR) project was announced in April 1994 and entered into construction in February 2010. The line is part of the 1,500-km long Magistrale for the European HSR line connecting Paris, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Ulm, Munich, Vienna and Bratislava.


The project has faced cost escalation, planning delay and restrictive specifications in procurements. It is being developed in two parts – restructuring of S21 and construction of the Wendlingen-Ulm Line.


The S21 project involves restructuring the Stuttgart rail node, which spans 57 km (including 33 km of tunnels and cuttings) and covers three stations (Stuttgart Main, Flughafen/Messe for the airport and trade fair grounds and the Mittnachtstraße rapid transit station in the new Rosenstein district).


The S21 project was estimated to cost EUR2.6 billion when it was launched in 1995 but the costs climbed up to EUR4.5 billion in 2009 and EUR6.5 billion in 2012. Later, in December 2017, the authorities announced that the project cost has increased to EUR7.6 billion (excluding contingency cost) and that its completion has been delayed by three years to 2024.


The S21 project is financed by the Deutsche Bahn (DB) AG, federal government, European Union (EU), state of Baden-Württemberg, state of Stuttgart, Stuttgart Airport and Verband Region Stuttgart. The federal government will consult with the Supervisory Board of DB to decide on the next steps to manage escalated project cost and timeline.


The Wendlingen-Ulm Line will span 59.6 km (including 30.4 km of tunnels and cuttings) and cover one station (reconstructed Ulm railway station).


The new line is estimated to cost EUR3.26 billion, of which EUR2.235 billion will be funded by the federal government (including EUR554.12 million funding from the EU), EUR950 million by the state of Baden-Württemberg and EUR75 million by DB. The line is planned to be inaugurated by end-2021 and begin passenger services by early-2022. The completion deadline of new line might also be extended because of S21’s escalated cost and timeline.


Journey time: The line will reduce the journey time between Stuttgart and Ulm from 54 minutes to 28 minutes, and that from the Stuttgart train station to the airport from 27 minutes to eight minutes. The trains will operate at a speed of 250 km/hr.


Recent development:


(1 EUR [Euro] = 1.20 USD)