DAccording to information from this newspaper, the full opening of the new Stuttgart main station could be postponed from the end of 2025 to autumn 2026. According to the railway's preliminary plans, if the new underground station were temporarily put into operation, only two to three trains per hour could be handled. In addition, a temporary electronic signal box would probably have to be put into operation.

A spokesman for the Stuttgart 21 project company, however, said that commissioning is still scheduled for December 2025. However, the next network timetable for 2026 will still be drawn up “based on the old infrastructure with the existing terminal station”. The railway will not announce how many trains could enter the new station every hour if it opens in 2025 until June of this year. The aim is to put “all essential elements of Stuttgart 21 into operation by the end of 2026 at the latest”. In doing so, the railways are effectively admitting that the new station will by no means be the central transfer station for long-distance and regional transport next year.

The pressure is increasing in Baden-Württemberg's state politics and in the green-black state government. Almost all of the CDU, SPD, FDP and Greens want the entire station to be put into operation safely, successfully and with as little chaos as possible. The Green parliamentary group leader Andreas Schwarz told the FAZ: “That cannot satisfy us. The railway has repeated like a mantra that Stuttgart 21 will go into operation when the timetable changes in 2025. He doesn't see any confetti showering for an opening next year. “It is therefore fundamental and extremely urgent that we find out what commissioning will look like. We are pushing for commissioning that works! There shouldn't be a bumpy start.” The transport policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group, Thomas Dörflinger, also advocated a postponement if the “full promised scope of services” could not be offered at the time of commissioning.

“After the long construction phase of the project, the goal must remain that the digital node is best put into operation as a whole,” said the federal government’s rail transport commissioner, Michael Theurer (FDP), to the FAZ. The traffic light coalition wants “Stuttgart 21 to be completed as early as possible.” , for this to happen capacity and operational quality must be ensured.

There is a lack of digitalization

According to FAZ information, a key reason for the delays is that electronic components that are needed for the digitalization of the new rail junction are not certified. The certification of “object controllers”, which report the operating status of switches and signal boxes, is said to have failed at the first attempt and has not yet been clarified. In a written statement from the railway it was said: “The delays arose in the generics for newly developed components. Generic means that the technology developed in the Digital Hub Stuttgart pilot project first requires general approval in order to then be able to use it both in the pilot project and in the entire Deutsche Bahn network.”

Another problem is the financing of the third stage of the digitalization of the rail junction. In December 2023, the project partners federal, state, city and Stuttgart region decided on a financing agreement: the federal government will pay 471 million euros and the railway will pay 180 million euros. But the funds have apparently not been released by the railway committees at the moment.

The project company announced: “In December 2023, the financing agreement (…) was only signed subject to committee approval, as the financial resources for the overall rail infrastructure program are currently inadequate. We are in close discussions with the Federal Ministry of Transport to cover the financing of the following service phases.” The design of rail digitalization also depends on the money that is available in the federal budget for 2025 and in the following years. Rail transport commissioner Theurer said that the Bundestag and the federal government had approved all three digital construction stages, and now the railway must bring it to completion “quickly”.