Since the beginning of the planning in 1996, there have been both protesting and supportive voices. Even after more than 20 years of demonstrations, the historic Black Thursday, the referendum throughout Baden-Württemberg and the final start of construction, opinions are still divided. We visited the construction site tour of S 21 and informed ourselves on site about the current status of the work.
The S 21 construction site is almost like a small town within Stuttgart. Its own streets lead from the main station to the northern station, traffic lights regulate the traffic and excavations from the 14th century show the old Nesenbach Canal. 60 kilometres of tunnels, a completely new quarter with 6,500 new apartments, 20 hectares of parking space and perhaps one day a Neckar philharmonic hall will be built here. It's not easy to imagine all this - but the model in the tower of the main station and a short film will help you to imagine the futuristic Stuttgart.
The construction site guide can explain to us in detail the effort behind the individual construction phases. Her explanations range from the laying of new water channels and the resettlement of nature-protected lizards to elevation injections in the Kernerviertel, which raise the entire quarter by 13 millimetres. It often takes months to obtain permits and prepare the infrastructure to such an extent that construction can even begin. We can see this very clearly in the former railway headquarters: In order to preserve the listed building, the building was cleared and supported with six piles. So, it can be preserved and the construction work around and under it can continue. We are very impressed how this works.
Right next to it, the new Feuerbach tunnel goes into the Kriegsberg. The statue of St. Barbara hangs protectively on the wall in front of the tunnel opening. At first, we are surprised about the belief in miracles of a holy tunnel godmother in this future-oriented project. But it is also nice to see that despite all the efforts for efficiency, time is taken for this tradition.
Whether we are supporters or opponents of the railway project at the end of the tour, everyone will have to decide for themselves. In any case, we have gained a deep insight into the work and can rethink our opinion on it more thoroughly.