Stuttgart 21’s Impending Capacity Problems and Timed Connections

The largest single transportation project in Germany today is a new underground main station for Stuttgart, dubbed Stuttgart 21. Built at a cost of €8.2 billion, it will soon replace Stuttgart’s surface terminal with a through-station, fed in four directions by separate tunnels. The project attracted considerable controversy at the beginning of this decade due to its cost overruns and surface disruption. It’s had a long-term effect on German politics as well: it catapulted the Green Party into its first ever premiership of a German state, and the Green minister-president of the state, Winfried Krestchmann, has remained very popular and played a role in mainstreaming the party and moving it in a more moderate direction.

But the interesting thing about Stuttgart 21 now is not the high cost, but a new problem: capacity. The new station will face capacity constraints worse than those of the surface station, particularly because Germany is transitioning toward timed connections (“Deutschlandtakt”) on the model of Switzerland. Since Stuttgart is closing the surface station and selling the land for redevelopment, a second underground station will need to be built just to add enough capacity. It’s a good example of how different models of train scheduling require radically different kinds of infrastructure, and how even when all the technical details are right, the big picture may still go wrong.

What is the Stuttgart 21 infrastructure?

The following diagram (via Wikipedia) shows what the project entails.

The existing tunnel, oriented in a northeast-southwest direction, is used exclusively by S-Bahn trains. Longer-distance regional trains (“RegionalBahn“) and intercity trains terminate on the surface, and if they continue onward, they must reverse direction.

The new tunnel infrastructure consists of four independent two-track tunnels, two coming in from the northwest and two from the southeast, with full through-service. In addition, an underground loop is to be constructed on the south in order to let trains from points south (Singen) enter Stuttgart via the Filder tunnel while serving the airport at Filder Station without reversing direction. The total double-track tunnel length is 30 kilometers.

Stuttgart 21’s station infrastructure will consist of eight tracks, four in each direction:

The two tracks facing each platform are generally paired with the same approach track, so that in case of service changes, passengers will not be inconvenienced by having to go to a different platform. The interlocking permits trains from each of the two eastern approaches to go to either of the western ones without conflict and vice versa, and the switches are constructed to modern standards, with none of the onerous speed restrictions of American station throats.

So what is the problem?

First of all, the four approach tunnels are not symmetric. The Feuerbach tunnel leads to Mannheim, Frankfurt, Würzburg, and points north, and the Filder tunnel leads to Ulm and points east, including Munich; both are planned to be heavily used by intercity trains. In contrast, the other two tunnels lead to nothing in particular. The Obertürkheim tunnel leads to the current line toward Ulm, but the under-construction high-speed line to Ulm feeds Filder instead, leaving Obertürkheim with just a handful of suburbs.

On the Deutschlandtakt diagram for Baden-Württemberg, every hour there are planned to be 12 trains entering Stuttgart from the Feuerbach tunnel, 10.5 from the Filder tunnel, 5.5 from the Bad Cannstatt tunnel, and 6 from the Obertürkheim tunnel. For the most part, they’re arranged to match the two busier approaches with each other – the track layout permits a pair of trains in either matching to cross with no at-grade conflict, but only if trains from Feuerbach match with Filder and trains from Bad Cannstatt match with Obertürkheim are both station tracks facing the same platform available without conflict.

A train every five minutes through a single approach tunnel feeding two station tracks is not normally a problem. The S-Bahn, depicted on the same map in black, runs 18 trains per hour in each direction through the tunnel; bigger cities, including Paris and Munich, run even more frequent trains on the RER or S-Bahn with just a single station platform per approach track, as on any metro network.

However, the high single-track, single-direction frequency is more suitable on urban rail than on intercity rail. On a metro, trains rarely have their own identity – they run on the same line as a closed system, perhaps with some branching – so if a train is delayed, it’s possible to space trains slightly further apart, so the nominal 30 trains per hour system ends up running 28 trains if need be. On an S-Bahn this is more complicated, but there is still generally a high degree of separation between the system and other trains, and it’s usually plausible to rearrange trains through the central tunnel. On intercity rail, trains have their own identity, so rearrangement is possible but more difficult if for example two trains on the same line, one express and one local, arrive in quick succession. As a result, one platform track per approach track is unsuitable – two is a minimum, and if more tracks are affordable then they should be built.

How do you intend to run the trains?

If the paradigm for intercity rail service is to imitate shorter-range regional trains, then through-tunnels are both easier and more desirable. A relatively closed system with very high frequency between a pair of stations calls for infrastructure that minimizes turnarounds and lets trains just run in the same sequence.

The Shinkansen works this way, leveraging three key features: its near-total isolation from the legacy train network, running on a different gauge; the very high demand for trains along individual corridors on specific city pairs; and the generally high punctuality of Japanese trains even on more complex systems. As it happens, Tokyo is a terminal, with trains going north and south but not through, as a legacy of the history of breaking up Japan National Railway before the Shinkansen reached Tokyo from the north, with different daughter companies running in each direction. However, Shin-Osaka is a through-station, fitting through-trains as well as terminating trains on just eight tracks.

In the developed world’s second busiest intercity rail network, that of Switzerland, the paradigm is different. In a country whose entire population is somewhat less than that of Tokyo without any of its suburbs, no single corridor is as strong as the Shinkansen corridors. Trains form a mesh with timed connections every hour, sometimes every half hour. Intercity trains are arranged to arrive at Zurich, Bern, and Basel a few minutes before the hour every 30 minutes and depart a few minutes later. In that case, more approach tracks and more platform tracks are needed. Conversely, the value of through-tracks is diminished, since passengers can transfer between trains more easily if they can walk between platforms without changing grade.

Infrastructure-timetable integration

Germany aims to integrate the infrastructure and timetable, as Switzerland does. However, Stuttgart 21 is a failure of such integration. The Deutschlandtakt service paradigm calls for many trains entering and leaving the station within the span of a few minutes. Today there are four effective approaches with two tracks each, same as under the Stuttgart 21 plan, but they are better-distributed.

The idea of Stuttgart 21, and similar proposals for Frankfurt and Munich, is solid provided that the intention is to run trains the Japanese way. It Stuttgart were designed to be the junction of two consistently high-intensity lines, then it would work without additional infrastructure. But it is not: its approach tunnels are supposed to support such design, but the service pattern will not look this way because of how the tunnels are placed relative to Germany’s population distribution. Even highly competent engineering can produce incompetent results if the details do not match the big picture.


  1. adirondacker12800

    If you want a train coming in every 3 minutes, someone somewhere isn’t going to make their connection. Life’s tough.

        • adirondacker12800

          You don’t. Some people will have long connection times. Life is tough.
          If you have ten lines and they all come in at :59 and depart at :01 and then again at :29 and :31,the tracks and platforms, all 20 of them, sit there doing nothing 56 minutes of an hour. If you are really lucky your train is on one far side and you want a train on the other far side, two minutes isn’t enough time to cross the station and you miss your connection anyway. Or each line gets to use the same track and platform for 3 minutes twice an hour.

  2. Herbert

    I take issue with your implicit claim that dead end stations make for more comfortable connections. Just look at Munich, a dead end station, and its labyrinthine layout and long walks to get from one train to another

    • Max Wyss

      The problem in München is that there is no mid-platform connector. Everything has to go via platform head.

          • Herbert

            I’ve heard Leipzig central station (!) called Europe’s largest by some measure…

          • Olivier

            Leipzig Hbf is Europe’s largest train station by floor area but it has “only” 23 platforms.

          • Herbert

            Platforms in a dead end station have less capacity than platforms in a through station

          • michaelrjames

            Herbert: By which measure is it “Europe’s largest”?
            By the only measure that counts: passenger number. However apparently they count the RER pax so perhaps a bit of a cheat? Not really a cheat because those RER lines (B, D, E) arose from previous Transilien services that terminated at Gare du Nord.
            One of those tv train docos (Michael Portillo, or Chris Tarrant?) visited Leipzig and while it is vast it was also like an empty barn–could have fired a shotgun without injury–which you could never accuse Paris-Nord of. Berlin-Hauptbahnhof also now claims to be the biggest in Europe but again, only by size. With Paris’ ginormous visitor numbers and its mega-city size and its centrality in Europe means it will be difficult for any other station to exceed it. In a few years when the renovations are complete they might count the merged Nord + Est as one station which would mean it will be even bigger. Equally I suppose that there must be plans for the Gare Pleyel to take some load off Paris-Nord (and St-Lazare) especially as it will also be a node on M15 (which itself will connect 13 of the then 18 metro lines, including M17 from CDG?). I imagine some Eurostar and Thalys services will terminate there? (Pleyel eventually will be the terminus of M14.)

          • Herbert

            Should S-Bahn U-Bahn and tram pax count for Berlin? Should connecting pax count twice?

          • Alon Levy

            There’s no public data on ridership by station on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn, but based on the few stations that do provide data plus the interstation segment data I blogged here there’s no way anything here adds up to anything approaching the Metro and RER volumes at Gare du Nord, Saint-Lazare, Chatelet + Les Halles, etc. As of 2009 the busiest station was Alexanderplatz, with 55,100 workday ons and offs, so maybe 8.2 million annual ons, which would rank #29 in Paris.

            There’s a real issue with comparing mainline rail stations in France and Germany, in that SNCF reports ridership data whereas DB reports both riders and visitors. So if I go to Hauptbahnhof to look at trains, or because it has open stores on a Sunday, I count in the station’s traffic figures. There just aren’t enough intercity rail or even RegionalBahn passengers to get to multiple hundred thousand per day; France’s single busiest TGV station, Gare de Lyon, has if I remember correctly around 30 million TGV ons and offs every year, and it’s not really plausible that Frankfurt or Berlin or Hamburg has more intercity rail riders.

          • michaelrjames

            Dunno. I assume, perhaps naively, that there is either an official or a de facto standard for measuring such things. This is the third century of trains so ….

            Anyway, surely you guys aren’t seriously arguing this? France is Europe’s biggest country by size and second biggest by population (but is forecast to surpass Germany) and one of the most centralised nations, plus being the crossroads of western Europe. This one station happens to connect the three biggest economies of Europe. Paris is the EU’s biggest city (12.4m) and Gare du Nord is Paris’ biggest train station with TGV’s that serve at least 4 international routes including Eurostar which serves EU’s second biggest city (London) and connects Europe’s second busiest airport. And yes, has 3 RER lines which have about 400m annual ridership, and 3 metro lines.
            A lot of people who routinely use Gare du Nord probably wish it wasn’t so.

          • Herbert

            It being a dead end station also introduces a lot of forced connections

          • Untangled

            By which measure is it “Europe’s largest”?

            Any measure that ignores Leipzig apparently. /s

        • Oreg

          Many terminal stations have mid-platform connectors: Frankfurt, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Luzern, Zurich, Paris Gare de Lyon.

      • Alon Levy

        Does Zurich have a mid-platform connector? I don’t remember seeing one when I was there, but that was 2 years ago and I didn’t specifically check.

  3. Eric

    I suppose they could use 6 of the 8 platforms (numbered 2-7) for the Feuerbach-Filder route, and just the outer two platforms for suburban (Bad Cannstatt-Obertürkheim) trains? Then the platform:approach ratio for intercity trains would be 3:1 not 2:1.

  4. sg

    Looking at the current schedule through Stuttgart Hbf it seems that it’s mostly a node on the main line from Frankfurt to Munich, with a few regional connections (to Karlsruhe, Heidelberg, etc.) and an intermittent train to Zurich. Is it a natural point for major intercity connections? If not maybe it’s OK to have trains go through in whatever order. Or is the issue that this will mess with regional trains?

    • Herbert

      Zürich – Stuttgart might at some point get upgraded to something actually worthwhile which would of course increase demand

      • Max Wyss

        Zürich-Stuttgart would be an ideal candidate for the SBB RABDe503 tilting trains (or get the ICE-T back).

        • Herbert

          There’s only one thing DB likes less than tilting trains: competition on its rails…

          • Herbert

            For the tilting trains at least they have the excuse of virtually all tilting trains DB ever owned requiring a LOT more maintenance than normal trains

          • Alon Levy

            To be fair, so do virtually all tilting trains in Europe that DB didn’t own. The only tilting trains I know of that aren’t maintenance nightmares are Talgos and active-suspension Shinkansen, and both tilt much less than the Pendolino or ICE-T – their cant deficiency is 180 mm, not 270-300.

          • Max Wyss

            Well, the Class 503 will eventually take over the Zürich-München services; currently, there is one Frankfurt – Milano service with this type. As soon as the Ceneri base tunnel is operational, there won’t be any further need to use 503/ETR 610 on the Gotthard route, and the Giruno can start running.

            Just FWIW, I kind of miss the ICE-T; I had a client in München, and at the time, the last connection from Zürich was the ICE-T to Stuttgart, continuing (transfer for maintenance) to München. That gave me roughly 5 hours of time for work, thanks to the power plugs.

            And my most memorable trip between Zürich and Stuttgart was catching up 13 minutes of delay from Rottweil to Stuttgart…

          • Max Wyss

            @Alon: It really depends on who does the maintenance. SBB has not that big issues with the ICN, as well as even the 503 (even if they are from Alstom). Yes, maintenance is needed, and has to be done properly. Total lemons were the ETR 470, which were partially maintained in Italy. But, interestingly, the similar ETR 460 worked quite well, just in Italy (that’s where the saying comes from “trains built in Italy work well … in Italy only).

          • Herbert

            So if all tilting trains are repair hangar queens, why do they exist at all?

          • michaelrjames

            Herbert, 2019/09/02 – 01:57
            So if all tilting trains are repair hangar queens, why do they exist at all?

            Presumably it is a tradeoff between cost of maintenance and cost of creating larger turning radii; some of that is capital cost but a lot is also political, versus train speed/traverse times. Witness the horrendous pushback in UK against HS2 which is a relatively short HSR line. I have read at least two newspaper OpEds urging Boris to cancel it immediately. Luckily he’s got a few more pressing issues to deal with.
            And geography: no accident that Italy purchased the BR Tilt-train IP when Maggie cancelled the program and turned it into Pendolino.
            Incidentally, the topic is the perfect segue into that other German alternative that makes all these olde-worlde technologies superfluous …

          • Alon Levy

            Hopefully Boris’s most pressing personal issue will be unemployment very soon.

            The big advantage of tilting trains is that they run faster on a given curve. It’s not about creating larger curve radii exactly – new-build lines just have wide enough curves and (except in Germany and its mixed lines) high superelevation. It’s about running faster on a legacy line with fixed characteristics. If the line has low superelevation because of freight and regional traffic, let’s say 80 mm, then the speed difference between a non-tilting train with 150 mm of cant deficiency and a 270 mm Pendolino is a factor of 1.23, and even at 150 mm of superelevation the factor only shrinks to 1.18. Active suspension in Japan is similarly a strategy for legacy HSR lines, especially Tokaido, built for 210 km/h rather than 300+.

        • michaelrjames

          Alon Levy, 2019/09/02 – 03:08
          Hopefully Boris’s most pressing personal issue will be unemployment very soon.

          The big advantage of tilting trains is that they run faster on a given curve. …. It’s about running faster on a legacy line with fixed characteristics.

          Yes. It’s why BR was working on Tilt train tech from the 70s to 1981 when Thatcher spitefully cancelled their R&D. It was an attempt to get more out of their legacy lines, and being austerity Britain (since the war) at lowest cost. HS2 is generating so much fury partly due to the cost, and its endless cost blowouts, but also because it requires creating a mostly new ROW which involves a lot of land resumption (’eminent domain’). Though the level of ignorance and misinformation is depressing. Most of that land resumption is of course from the ultra-wealthy elite in the UK, exactly the sort to support Brexit yet the dupes objecting are also likely Leave voters. (Apparently almost 20% of land has no official record of ownership because it hasn’t changed hands since the Norman invasion–which was the time of a giant land grab/reallocation. Ha, blame it on the French I suppose! They should adopt the French ‘solution’ too. The Mall or maybe Trafalgar Square could substitute for Place de la Concorde and Place du Trone … )

          As for Boris, yes, he might be spending “more time with his family” (though don’t ask which one). Alas, he gets paid almost £700k pa just for his weekly newspaper column (and yes, UK parliamentarians, even cabinet ministers, can have all kinds of second jobs. Ridiculous.). I am glad to see that the Queen’s rubberstamping of the closure of parliament is provoking a lot of neo-republican thinking, or at least acknowledgment that their ‘unwritten’ constitution is utterly inadequate to proper governance. Boris is the 20th old Etonian to become PM. Burn the lot down, I say.

          • Alon Levy

            Hey, that’s not a French solution, England did that in 1649, it just had a successful counterrevolution whereas France blundered into the Third Republic.

          • michaelrjames

            Alon Levy, 2019/09/02 – 05:43
            … England did that in 1649, it just had a successful counterrevolution whereas France blundered into the Third Republic.

            Yeah, Not-So-Glorious Revolution.
            And the Second Republic and then Second Empire were not bad. Remember, when he was plain old Louis-Napoleon, he was the first-elected president of France. More legitimate leader than Boris is today or probably ever will be.

          • michaelrjames

            Speaking of revolutions, why aren’t you in Hong Kong reporting on how their amazing Metro system is handling those 2 million protestors when they decide to suddenly relocate from, say, Central to Causeway Bay, via the Metro? And how the police have finally cottoned on to it and close it down at different times (and block all transit to the airport). I don’t know but it seems a first for the tactical use of the modern transit system in a people’s protest movement like this.

            (Well, I suppose there was Lenin’s arrival back in Russia at St Petersburg’s Finland station to stage the October revolution.)

          • Alon Levy

            Are you asking me why I’m not spending money I don’t really have to fly to a famously expensive city where I don’t know the language and where I need to buy a second set of electronics because I can’t bring anything over the border in order to interview people?

          • michaelrjames

            Yikes, Alon, you’ve turned German quickly. Lost your SOH.

            Actually my comment was provoked by watching an hour long documentary last night that was filmed from the street level by an ABC (Australian public broadcaster) crew in the thick of it, that followed the protestors as they reacted like an organism swarming down into the Metro etc. The use of the Metro is fascinating and of course it is also great to see all modern social media tools being used against the authorities instead of as a tool of the authorities or big money (same difference). Right at this particular moment in history I feel Hong Kong is at the forefront, at some kind of threshold–and not just for Hong Kong but all of us. If people aren’t inspired by this then they really have a dead heart and mind.

            I don’t quite grasp your comment about electronics. It’s really not at all like that, AFAIK. And unlike some places in the west I don’t think they fingerprint you on entry or demand your passwords to your computer and phone. Seeing what we have inflicted on ourselves steadily over the past two decades, in the name of national security, should make us appreciate even more what the Hong Kongers are standing up for. By comparison we westerners look utterly complacent.

            Oh, and just for Richard Mlynarik, leading to the ’97 handover, Maggie rescinded three million Hong Konger’s British passports which gave them the right of abode in the UK, and instead gave them British Nationals (Overseas) passports, which allowed visa-free travel to the UK but did not grant the right to live or work in Britain; the BN(O) became known as “Britain says No”. Today there are some British politicians saying they should return those passports and welcome them.

            HK is not expensive unless you want to buy property. Even hotels and guesthouses (and there are so many) are quite reasonable–even more so at the moment since their occupancy has taken a hit.

          • adirondacker12800

            You and your family have been paying the taxes on it since the Domesday Book was compiled, it’s yours.

          • michaelrjames

            adirondacker12800, 2019/09/02 – 08:44
            You and your family have been paying the taxes on it since the Domesday Book was compiled, it’s yours.

            You’ve just confirmed what we always thought of you, ‘dacker, that you’d fit right into the feudal world!
            It’s almost sweet that you think those feudal lords were the ones paying tax, when actually it was they who extracted their ‘share’ of everything produced in ‘their’ domain. One of the main reasons why the Brits worked to reinstate the royalty after the French revolution which transformed the previously tax-free status of most landed gentry (and the church) was to maintain those privileges of landed gentry. And the fiendish British leasehold system allowed them the best of all worlds: perpetual ownership while the occupants not only paid all costs but paid the lords to ‘rent’ the land. One of the UK’s richest persons is Hugh Grosvenor (so many titles, to call him Lord is not adequate) who owns the freehold of Mayfair, central London, and who at 28 years old is one of the youngest rich-listers because he inherited his $15 billion with the trick of not paying a penny in tax. That toxic leasehold system is still not completely unwound in the UK (it was supposed to be done when I first lived there 40+ years ago).

            What’s astonishing about (Shrubsole’s) research is how little has changed in the last 1,000 years. His figures reveal that the aristocracy and landed gentry – many the descendants of those Norman barons – still own at least 30% of England and probably far more, as 17% is not registered by the Land Registry and is probably inherited land that has never been bought or sold. Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population. The homeowners’ share adds up to just 5%: “A few thousand dukes, baronets and country squires own far more land than all of Middle England put together.”

          • michaelrjames

            Absolutely not. But you can shout even louder if you like (hint: not a good strategy telling me what irritates you). But you should not think I am being trivial about this stuff. You can witter on about gauges and pax/m of carriage etc, or dissect prices in a nickel-and-dime fashion, but the reality is that there are far more important factors that have expression in the form of transit you see today. Indeed the form of almost anything you see today. Thatcher’s (and Reagan’s) toxic influence has spread over 4 decades now, and even negatively affected Germany via their embrace of their own version of Thatcherite austerity politics and dislike of public transit. Covering your ears does not make it go away.

          • adirondacker12800

            The stuff they sold off since the Norman Conquest defines the edges. If you have been collecting rent, tax free, it’s yours. In complicated arrangement based on a contract in Latin but you can’t claim it’s well defined when it comes time to collecting rent or exercising it’s tax free status, for centuries, and then claim it’s unclear.

          • Herbert

            Imagine if the French hadn’t sent Khomeini into Iran in 1979 and if Galtieri had started a war with Pinochet over Patagonia instead.

            Reagan would never have gotten elected and Thatcher would’ve remained that weird one term aberration…

          • michaelrjames

            Nah, you’ve got some of that backwards.
            The primary cause of the Iranian revolution was the intervention by the US (condoned by UK) to protect their oil interests by installing Reza Pahlavi as their proxy.
            The French didn’t send “Khomeini into Iran in 1979”. Khomeini happened to be resident (in exile) in France and he chose to return upon the overthrow of Pahlavi. He had long been the spiritual leader-in-exile of Iranian Shiites.

            The main significance of the Falklands war was that it secured Thatcher her second term (even though she won only 44% of the vote; as usual). Prior to the war hysteria she was heading towards being a one-termer. (I’m sure you know but for others, Thatcher was never popular, indeed she never exceed 50% approval, even after the Falklands IIRC, but in the usual British version of democracy her party never won a majority on votes, merely on seats via FPTP. During that epoch she was hugely assisted by incompetent and poor leadership of Labour.) Nothing like a little war to boost a leader’s cred and popularity and divert attention from grim domestic affairs. Of course that is exactly why Galtieri made his move on the Falklands/Malvinas, and for similar reasons why it saved Thatcher: economic recession, in Thatcher’s case self-inflicted by austerity policies.
            So yes, that was a potential turning point. (It might have also been my own personal turning point, when I comprehensively gave up on the Brits.)

            But note that a healthy democracy is very difficult in the UK with their ridiculous electoral system and class system. I was living there in the early 80s, and as a commonwealth citizen was entitled to vote and always voted for the Social Democrats (SDP). That was a huge year (the Falklands election) because it was their debut election and with so much dissatisfaction with both parties the SDP + Libs alliance won 25% of the vote (almost unprecedented for a third and new party; only 3 points less than Labor; combined they had a majority which in any fair system should have led to a SDP-Lib-Lab coalition government but not in UK! so note, that actually Thatcher didn’t really win that election!) but of course FPTP only delivered them a tiny handful of seats; naturally the electorate lost heart and they never achieved as high a voteshare again. So, while one can lay a lot of blame directly on Thatcher, the UK dysfunction was inherent in their political, electoral (non-democratic not to mention House of Lords) and class system. Brexit and Boris are not a surprise but are the endpoint of this at least 40 years if not 70 years, if not century or more, since its system has not been fit for purpose. I mention this because there are clear parallels between then and today where the Tories are very close (watch parliament tomorrow) to fission and Labour are extremely divided too (for Millennials: 40 years ago this year the SDP was formed by renegade Labour MPs and the EU was one of the reasons) . The trouble is their system is totally unable to cope with such divisions and anything other than an inflexible hyperpartisan two-party system. Most of them won’t even admit there is any need for fundamental change.

            In fact, the glass half-full is that there is a huge historic opportunity here which the UK desperately needs to grab. Trouble is, no one, me especially, believes they are capable of grabbing it. There is no sign of a Macron rising out of the burnt-out embers of the old UK parties.

            Of course it is also why they have such trouble planning, funding or running an adequate train system!

          • Herbert

            Khomeini opposed Mossadegh, which goes against your neat little narrative of “west bad”.

            And France made a deliberate choice to let Khomeini go to Iran. An Islamic counter revolution in 1979 without Khomeini is about as likely as a Bolshevik coup without Lenin in 1917…

            In fact, a likely outcome of the fall of the Shah would’ve been a Tudeh party takeover…

          • Herbert

            Macron is a neoliberal austerity and deregulation promoter whose popularity is somewhere around that of Trump

    • Herbert

      Or we could just bypass Stuttgart altogether. Nobody needs to go there anyway…

    • Alon Levy

      It depends! In Stuttgart the solution could have been:

      1. Build Stuttgart 21, but set up the tunnels so that trains from Singen and trains from Ulm enter from two different approaches, to spread the load.

      2. Build Stuttgart 21 as-is (or even with just two approach tracks in each direction), but keep the surface station for timed pulses instead of closing it.

      • Herbert

        A multilevel station necessitates long walks. Especially of the original plan didn’t account for that and Berlin main station is basically the only multi level station planned as such.

        Munich with its U-Bahn and S-Bahn tunnel under main station was never planned that way. Not was Leipzig with the city tunnel, but was Nuremberg with two levels of subway beneath and a tram in front of the station…

      • adirondacker12800

        But doesn’t through running solve all problems including teenage acne?

  5. yuuka

    Actually, it is technically possible to have through running at Tokyo Station – only platforms 16-19 are a dead end.

    The current Tohoku Shinkansen platforms (20-23) were once suburban platforms for trains headed south. The ROW is still there south of the platforms, it wouldn’t be too difficult to build a turnout. This also applies to 14-15, which can be approached from the north since the ROW still exists.

    The main reason why they didn’t do that is because of electrification standards – while both 25kV, the frequency is 50Hz in the eastern areas and 60Hz in the west – paralleling the area power grid. Consequently, the Tokaido and westwards use 60Hz while the Tohoku and northwards use 50Hz, a decision from JNR times. Apparently JNR did some trickery to convert power for the Tokaido Shinkansen to 60Hz within Kanto, but I’d guess the cost was too prohibitive to apply it on the Tohoku shinkansen network.

    Trains capable of navigating the frequency change didn’t show up until the E7/W7 anyway.

  6. gertikan

    In Today’s News: Emperor’s New Clothes Unsuitable for Outside Weather.

    Some of those fantasy tact plans have two or three trains jointly using one track during rush hours with 50 trains per hour. Apparently, we will reliably pump intercity trains through the station in two minute intervals like the Japanese? S21 is “optimally prepared” for the Deutschlandtakt with its “S-Bahn-like intercity service”? Who believes that claptrap?

    Stuttgart 21 started out as a solution in search of a problem, has turned into a massively expensive €10billion vanity project, and will end with a whimper as a train stop of lower mediocrity. Which is fitting. To get the authorities to turn a blind a eye to the illegal gradient in the station, S21 was declared a ‘minor stop’ where such things are admissible.

    An integrated schedule was not even on the radar when S21 was (mis)conceived. But allegedly it’s ‘great’ for everything. That just shows what a grand gaslighting excercise it is.

    There will be a semblance of a tact schedule but never the real thing.

    • adirondacker12800

      The French and the Japanese get by with five minute intervals on the intercity network. In a few high demand places. Stuttgart isn’t Tokyo. Or Paris.

      • herbert

        If all else fails, it’s cheap to build a bypass and reroute trains via the to be built airport station…

      • Alon Levy

        The intervals people are talking about are minimum intervals, not average intervals. It’s something that took me a while to understand when reading the brochures about the 110-second intervals on the Olten-Bern line in Switzerland – the line doesn’t run these frequencies consistently to provide 32 tph, it runs bursts of 7 trains in 4 minutes every half hour in order to fit trains into the integrated takt schedule. The S21 plans that Richard linked to likewise call for some impressively short headways between trains on the approach tracks, but they come in bursts. Japan doesn’t have a national takt, but does slot local and express trains with timed overtakes, and the same principle applies – a local Shinkansen can leave 3 minutes behind an express one on the same line, but JR Central wishes it could run 20 tph rather than the 15 it currently gets.

        Something similar happens on the North River Tunnels. They get 25 tph in at the peak, but that’s in a context in which there’s a pretty short shared segment, a four-track portion at Secaucus where trains could be arranged, and a ton of tracks at Penn Station, and ultimately it doesn’t matter too much if trains arrive in the wrong sequence because all that matters is getting people from different parts of Jersey to Penn Station. (The conclusion from this is that you cannot do an integrated timed transfer plan in New York and shouldn’t even try. Let’s just say there’s a reason why, with every iteration of my New York regional rail crayon, the extent of interlining decreases.)

        • Onux

          I’m confused, did you mean a burst of 4 trains in 7 minutes (at 140s intervals)? Wouldn’t 7 trains in 4 minutes be 40s intervals?
          I’m assuming fence post counting with the first train at 0:00, the 4th at 7:00, etc.

          • Onux

            If a takt pulse can spread over 7 min (actually more, since you need transfer time from last arrival to first departure) then wouldn’t Suttgart’s solution be multiple small pulses a few minutes apart, each berthing 8 trains? Say Tracks 1/3 at :00 and :06, Tracks 2/4 at :03 and :09, etc.? This somewhat defeats the concept of a pulse in that all trains cannot interchange with all others, but as you noted in your German HSR post, not all connections are needed, for instance, trains coming from Ulm via Oberturkheim don’t need to pulse with trains from Munich/Ulm via Filder. I would think it possible to make a few missed connections at stations like Zuffenhausen or the Airport by playing with the takt (first-in last-out at one, first-in first-out at another).
            Doesn’t D-Takt already do this? Maybe I’m reading the takt diagram wrong, but aren’t there only 10 arrivals across both Feuerbach and Bad Cannstatt between :57 and :10?
            Put another way, is the problem that D-Takt is trying to takt too many trains? Even at the Swiss “burst” of 4 trains in 7 min, wouldn’t 12 trains from the Feuerbach tunnel take about 25 min, regardless of the number of platform tracks to receive them? That isn’t exactly a “pulse”. Even if those 12 trains are two pulses at :00 and :30, you still have your last arrival from one pulse almost as close to the first arrival of the next pulse, plus transfer time. They aren’t planning on holding a train that arrives at :00 until :13 or longer to complete any-service to any-service transfer, are they?
            My apologies if I am missing something in how the plan works, but it seems with that many trains the limitation is in approach tracks not platform tracks.

          • Max Wyss

            One thing is that you do not need to connect between trains coming from/going to the same destination. This allows for a little overlap of the bursts.

        • adirondacker12800

          So the tracks and platforms sit there doing nothing 52 minutes of the hour. Sounds expensive.

          The faster the trains go, the longer and longer the stopping distances become. It’s likely you can’t do 300 kph and 20 trains an hour. Or the Japanese would have done it instead of plotting a maglev relief line. The Japanese have to put the Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama onto the same tracks. Everything in the U.S. and Canada west of the Rockies is going to be “Amtrak” loading gauge and 25kV/60Hz. The “local” to D.C. or Harrisburg or Saratoga Springs or Boston can weave themselves in between the express commuter trains. That already exist. Or did and could be cheaply rebuilt.
          In all of this keep in mind there are 8 million people on Long Island and 14 million in New England who like to do things that need freight and Cross Harbor Freight is a very good idea. There will be much wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments when they want to six track the LIRR east of Jamaica. It’s cheaper than double decking the Long Island Expressway which is the alternative. We ran of out finagling things with more buses in the 90s. There’s gotta be a lot more tracks. Or lots of people have to move to Omaha.

          • Max Wyss

            Actually, the stopping distances are independent of the intervals, using suitable block lengths. For example, SNCF uses 4 blocks to stop a 300 km/h train. And with their current rather dated system, they get 17 train per hour out of Paris Gare de Lyon at peak. ETCS L2 should allow for a few more.

            About Bern: those bursts exist every 30 minutes, and some platforms are used for mid-interval trains (mainly locals) as well. Plus there is some freight over the new line too (although more at night), but it is possible to get one or two freight paths between the bursts.

    • Alon Levy

      I specifically don’t agree with the criticism the article lobs at the Y-Trasse. The reason is that the lines do not all need to be on an everywhere-to-everywhere integrated timed transfer schedule. At Hanover, there are lines heading out in five directions: Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, the Rhine-Ruhr via Bielefeld, Frankfurt. However, not all five have to be timed together, because Berlin-Hamburg and NRW-Frankfurt passengers have direct routes away from Hanover. There are also direct Hamburg-Frankfurt and Berlin-NRW trains going via Hanover. So the most important line to time is NRW Hamburg, followed by lines to Bremen from (in order) Berlin, Frankfurt, and NRW.

      In this context, you just need to set up a direct Berlin -> Bremen train to arrive at Hanover a few minutes after a direct Frankfurt -> Hamburg train; you don’t get a Berlin-Hamburg transfer out of this, but that’s fine because Berlin-Hamburg is on a faster direct line, and Wolfsburg-Hamburg is not an important enough connection to build your entire timetable around it. If it’s possible, the Cologne -> Berlin train should arrive a few minutes before the Berlin -> Bremen train leaves. Cologne is the most important NRW city to time to Bremen, since it is the farthest away from Bremen on a direct line, whereas Duisburg-Bremen today on IC is not much slower than Duisburg-Hanover-Bremen at TGV speeds could be. The Cologne -> Hamburg transfer immediately falls into place that way, and then the other NRW cities can be timed to arrive just before other trains to Hamburg.

      On a different note, I don’t get why Hanover-Bielefeld in 30 minutes is unrealistic. Draw a direct line following the Autobahn and it’s 99 km Hbf to Hbf, and then 30 minutes minus 1 minute of dwell time per station is 28 minutes, or 212 km/h. In a crunch, the line can even enter Bielefeld on the Autobahn alignment and serve it with a peripheral station, like Shin-Osaka or Avignon-TGV, but 99 km in 28 minutes doesn’t look impossible. The San’yo Shinkansen averages 224 km/h on Shin-Osaka-Hakata, doing 554 km in 2:28 twice an hour making 6 stops on the timetable – this isn’t France and its 500 km of nonstop running.

      The irony is that S21 works pretty well provided the idea of the D-Takt is thrown away and replaced with a nationwide 300 km/h high-speed rail program with Japanese or Korean frequencies on the busiest trunks (like Berlin-Hanover-NRW, Cologne-Frankfurt, and Frankfurt-Mannheim-Stuttgart). With the D-Takt and no material improvement in speed… yeah, it somehow manages to have negative transportation value even as a through-station.

  7. Pingback: High-Speed Rail for Germany and Capacity Issues | Pedestrian Observations
  8. Kristofer Van Wagner

    It is interesting how this post underlined how underground connections are created. I have always been curious about how engineers add new underground connections. Now that I understand it involves careful planning, I have a renewed sense of appreciation for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.