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New Gateway Gardens S-Bahn station at the airport was ceremonially inaugurated

09.12.2019 | 19:32 Clock | Business
New Gateway Gardens S-Bahn station at the airport was ceremonially inaugurated

Commuters from the Groß-Gerau area, but especially from Kelsterbach, have been put to a tough test of patience in recent weeks. Due to the connection of the S-Bahn lines S8 and S9 to the new station Gateway Gardens, the S-Bahn traffic was diverted via the airport long-distance station, which meant that the station Kelsterbach was not served since mid-October. A rail replacement service was set up, but it had been extremely overcrowded, especially at peak times. And during the bus drivers' strike, the situation worsened drastically. In addition, the trip to Frankfurt took much longer, as the S-Bahn not infrequently stopped for minutes to wait for oncoming trains.

Not a nice state of affairs, but it should be over in a few days. Then, after only three years of construction, the S-Bahn connection of the new Gateway Gardens district at Frankfurt Airport will go into operation on time on December 15. This will not only make the commuters affected by the line closure very happy, but also the people who work in the commercial area.

Gateway Gardens, with its future 18,000 workplaces in office and conference buildings, hotels, gastronomy and retail, will then be reachable with the S8 and S9 lines in just under ten minutes from Frankfurt's main station. According to forecasts, around 13,000 journeys a day will be shifted from car to rail thanks to the new rail link. Sounds good - even if some commuters might break out in a cold sweat at the thought of even more crowded trains. After all, even the long full trains are already more than well utilized at peak times. But of course there was no room for such fears on the part of the people who have to travel this route every day at the opening ceremony. Here, the expected relief of around 27 percent for the adjacent road network was emphasized above all.

"With the rail connection, we - state, region and railway together - have created an attractive and efficient connection. A very concrete contribution to the climate and mobility turnaround. With the "Frankfurt RhineMain plus" infrastructure programme, the region, together with the federal government and the railways, has been working for years to increase the capacity and quality of rail transport. Today is a milestone in this regard," said Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, at the ceremonial opening of the new connection.

Together with Tarek Al-Wazir, Hesse Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing, Councillor Klaus Oesterling, Head of Transport for the City of Frankfurt am Main, and Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director and Spokesman of the Management Board of Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund, Pofalla arrived at the new station in a special train operated by S-Bahn Rhein-Main. There, around 400 guests welcomed the first S-Bahn at Gateway Gardens. It was quite a big station in the truest sense of the word.

Tarek Al-Wazir, Hesse's Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing, emphasised how important an attractive public transport service is for the positive development and attractiveness of a location: "Thousands of employees, hotel guests and visitors of the companies and institutions located in Gateway Gardens will receive a direct S-Bahn connection - the Gateway Gardens station creates an attractive alternative for commuters, improves the rail infrastructure in the Rhine-Main region and contributes to relieving the road network and the environment. And for the district, it is a location factor, as public transport connections are becoming increasingly important for attracting businesses."

And Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director and Spokesman for the Management Board of Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund, also celebrated the new connection: "The new Gateway Gardens station is a quantum leap for public transport connections in the district. With 211 departures a day, our passengers will benefit from a continuous 15-minute interval right from the start, which will take them to the airport, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt or Offenbach without having to change trains - and the future holds even more connections in store with the Regionaltangente West. What's more, the station is a prime example of how rapid planning and rapid construction go hand in hand, making it a model for all other major projects."

It will be interesting to see whether the day-to-day reality will conform to these praises. But even if there are justified doubts about this, City Councillor Klaus Oesterling, Head of Transport for the City of Frankfurt am Main, is convinced of the benefits that the direct connection will bring to Frankfurt: "With the new S-Bahn connection and, in a few years, the RTW, the many thousands of workers will finally have an attractive connection to local public transport. Only with high-quality connections like these will people in Frankfurt and the region be offered an alternative to the car, and that's how the transport turnaround can succeed."

Dr. Michael Blaschko, Chairman of the Executive Board of Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG, then went on to discuss the challenges of tunnel construction: "We are pleased that we were able to make a contribution to improving the transport infrastructure in the greater Frankfurt area with the rapid completion of the two-kilometer tunnel section and the new Gateway Gardens stop. As a company, this makes us both proud and grateful. The new transport link enables fast, comfortable and sustainable mobility."

The four-kilometer-long new S-Bahn line between Frankfurt Stadium and Frankfurt Airport Regional Station with the new Gateway Gardens S-Bahn station was built in just three years. A two-kilometre tunnel had to be built under the Frankfurt motorway junction - one of the busiest road junctions in Europe - without restricting road traffic to ten lanes. The investment volume of the Gateway Gardens S-Bahn connection amounts to 300 million euros.

From the timetable change on the night of Sunday, December 15, 2019, the S-Bahns of lines S8 and S9 to and from the airport will stop regularly at Gateway Gardens. The first scheduled S-Bahn trains to reach the new station will be the S9 towards Hanau at 0.17 and the S9 towards the airport at 0.41. This will also mark the end of the seven-week total closure on the Stadion - Flughafen Regionalbahnhof - Kelsterbach line on December 15.

For more information on the S-Bahn to Gateway Gardens project, visit

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