Just in time for the launch of the 49-euro ticket at the beginning of May, commuters in the greater Stuttgart area have to be prepared for massive restrictions on the rails – or switch to the car altogether. In the transport committee of the state parliament, the railway informed the deputies about further details of the planned closures between Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt and Waiblingen, which are necessary due to construction work.

Accordingly, the section of the route will be completely closed between May 12th and June 8th. During this time there is no S-Bahn traffic between Bad Cannstatt and Waiblingen, nor do regional trains run on the section, explained Rüdiger Weiß from the railway subsidiary DB Netz. During this time, the railway will set up a replacement service. With 80 articulated buses, a five-minute cycle is to be set up, express buses are planned that commute between Cannstatt and Waiblingen, and those that drive to all intermediate stops. Up to 5,000 commuters per hour are affected during peak traffic times. Further lockdowns are planned between April 21st and 25th. There will also be rail replacement services during this time.

Transport Minister Winfried Hermann nevertheless fears major restrictions for passengers. “What can be transported in the S-Bahn cannot be transported in buses,” said the Greens politician. He appealed to all commuters to work from home if possible or to carpool with colleagues.

The representative of Deutsche Bahn (DB) for Baden-Württemberg defended the short-term route closures. “We are not building the digital node for its own sake, but for the good and benefit of the Stuttgart metropolitan region,” said Thorsten Krenz. An attempt was made to carry out the necessary work during the closure breaks that were planned anyway. However, this is not possible due to the complexity. “In the Bad Cannstatt area alone, we have to cross the tracks about 70 times. You can’t always do that while the wheels are rolling,” said Krenz.

Criticism came from MPs. He was surprised by the extent of the full closure, said the FDP traffic expert Christian Jung. “There will be even greater chaos in rail traffic around Stuttgart,” he said. Hans-Peter Storz (SPD) criticized what he saw as too little compensation. The railway had announced that it would compensate holders of annual tickets with a one-off payment of 49 euros. “The train makes a slim foot,” said Storz. Although the subscription only cost 49 euros a month due to the introduction of the Deutschlandticket, the restrictions lasted longer than a month.

Deutsche Bahn announced in mid-March that important connections in the greater Stuttgart area would have to be interrupted for several weeks due to construction work. As part of the Stuttgart 21 project, the railway junction is to be expanded to become the first digitized junction in Germany. For this purpose, the digital train control system ETCS is being laid everywhere along the routes. According to the railways, thousands of kilometers of new cables are required.

The Bad Cannstatt/Waiblingen area is affected by the closures from April 21 to the end of July. In the second half of the year, routes in the Vaihingen/Airport/Böblingen area are to be closed.