On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, Bahnwelt hosted the Kranichstein District Meeting at the Railway Museum. In addition to other rail-related topics, the focus of the regularly held citizen participation event was on the new construction project of the ICE parking and cleaning facility (ARA) by DB Fernverkehr AG on the site of the former marshalling yard. As part of the long-distance expansion plans, traffic is to be expanded to 260 million passengers per year throughout Germany, for which about 140 new ICE trains are to be procured in addition to the active 460. This will also require the construction of ten to 15 new ARAs. Bahnwelt is also involved in the implementation of the Kranichstein facility: Parts of the former marshalling yard will be preserved and integrated into the exhibition concept. In addition, the museum will have its own in-house track along the new facilities.
Representatives of Deutsche Bahn presented the project to the more than 120 citizens present and answered their questions. The project will have a significant impact on everyday life in the Darmstadt district in the coming years. On the one hand, according to Deutsche Bahn, about 100 jobs will be created, but on the other hand, citizens fear significant disruptions due to extended closing times of the railroad crossing, noise and construction site traffic. However, the representatives of Deutsche Bahn were able to dispel these concerns. Trains will only enter and leave the ARA during nighttime hours, and shunting operations on site would not require closure of the level crossing. Noise emissions are also not an issue, since the ICE trains are very quiet overall and travel only slowly in the station.
Preliminary construction work is already underway, with animal and plant species currently being mapped. In June/July, Deutsche Bahn plans to submit the planning approval documents to the Federal Railway Authority. Between August and November, the site will then be examined by the explosive ordnance disposal service. After reviewing the documents, the Federal Railway Authority will make them available to the public. Construction is scheduled to start in 2025.
In a series of conversations with local residents on the sidelines of the event, the Bahnwelt staff received a lot of appreciation for their volunteer efforts as well as for the museum’s planning around the siding!