Commuters from the Groß-Gerau area, but especially from Kelsterbach, have been put to a tough test of patience in recent weeks. By connecting the S-Bahn lines S8 and S9 to the new Gateway Gardens station, the S-Bahn traffic was diverted via the airport long-distance train station, so that the Kelsterbach station has not been served since mid-October. A rail replacement service was set up, but it had been extremely crowded, especially at peak times. And during the bus driver strike the situation worsened drastically. In addition, the journey to Frankfurt took much longer, as the S-Bahn often stopped for several minutes to wait for oncoming trains.
No nice condition, but should be over in a few days. After a construction period of only three years, the S-Bahn connection of the new Gateway Gardens district at Frankfurt Airport will then go into operation on time on 15 December. Not only the commuters affected by the route closure, but also the people working in the business park will be very happy about this.
Gateway Gardens with its 18,000 future workstations in office and conference buildings, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets can then be reached from Frankfurt Central Station with the S8 and S9 lines in just under ten minutes. According to forecasts, the new rail link will shift around 13,000 journeys daily from cars to rail. Sounds good - even if some commuters might break out in a sweat when they imagine even more overcrowded trains. Even at peak times, even the long full trains are already more than well utilised. 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. In this context, the expected relief of around 27 percent for the adjacent road network was particularly emphasized.
"With the rail connection, we - the state, region and railways together - have created an attractive and efficient connection. A very concrete contribution to climate and mobility change. With the "Frankfurt RheinMain plus" infrastructure programme, the region has been working together with the federal government and the railways for years to increase the capacity and quality of rail transport. Today is a milestone in this respect," said Ronald Pofalla, Director of Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, at the opening ceremony of the new connection.
Together with Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing, City Councillor Klaus Oesterling, Head of the Transport Department of the City of Frankfurt am Main and Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Pofalla, Member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Bahn, and the Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Bahn. Knut Ringat, managing director and spokesman for the management of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund, drove Pofalla into the new station in a special train of the S-Bahn Rhein-Main. There about 400 guests welcomed the first S-Bahn in Gateway Gardens. That was literally a big train station.
Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing, stressed the importance of an attractive public transport offer for the positive development and attractiveness of a location: "Thousands of employees, hotel guests and visitors to the companies and institutions based in Gateway Gardens will have a direct S-Bahn connection - the Gateway Gardens station creates an attractive alternative for commuters, improves the rail infrastructure in the Rhine-Main area and contributes to relieving the road network and the environment. And for the district it is a location factor, because the public transport connection is becoming increasingly important for the settlement of companies."
And also Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director and Spokesman of the Board of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund, celebrated the new connection: "The new Gateway Gardens station is a quantum leap for the public transport connection of the district. With 211 departures a day, our passengers benefit from a continuous 15-minute cycle right from the start, which takes them to the airport, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt or Offenbach without having to change trains - and the future holds even more connections in store with the regional tangent West. In addition, the station is a prime example of how fast planning and fast construction go hand in hand, thus setting an example for all other major projects."
You can be curious as to whether daily reality will conform to these praises. But even if there are justified doubts about this, City Councillor Klaus Oesterling, Head of Transport of the City of Frankfurt am Main, is convinced of the advantages of the direct connection for Frankfurt: "With the new S-Bahn connection and RTW in a few years' time, the many thousands of employees will finally have an attractive connection to public transport. Only with high-quality connections such as these will people in Frankfurt and the region be offered an alternative to the car and so the turnaround can succeed."
Dr. Michael Blaschko, CEO of Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG, then went on to explain the challenges of tunnel construction: "We are delighted 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. This makes us as a company both proud and grateful. The new transport connection 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. Among other things, a tunnel two kilometers long 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 S-Bahn connection Gateway Gardens amounts to 300 million euros. From the timetable change in the night to Sunday, December 15, 2019, the S-Bahn lines S8 and S9 to and from the airport regularly stop at Gateway Gardens. The first scheduled S-Bahn trains to reach the new station will be the S9 towards Hanau at 0.17 hrs and the S9 towards the airport at 0.41 hrs. The seven-week total closure on the stadium - airport - regional train station - Kelsterbach route will also end on 15 December.
Further information on the S-Bahn to Gateway Gardens project can be found at www.s-bahn-gatewaygardens.de