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Karlsruhe’s tunnel „combined solution“ (Kombilösung) starts operation

New underground stop at Marktplatz | © Julian Klein @marginauto

It took more than two decades, 1.5 billion euros were spent, and now the time has come:

After long discussions at the political level and with citizens and city officials, a referendum and finally 12 years of construction, the so-called Kombilösung („combined solution“) in Karlsruhe’s city centre went into operation. The light rail (TramTrain) and tramway tunnel under Kaiserstraße with the southern branch from Marktplatz to Ettlinger Straße and the above-ground track in Kriegsstraße are part of it, as well as a (not yet completed) road tunnel under Kriegsstraße, The Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Digital Affairs and Transport, Michael Theurer, the Minister of Transport of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Hermann and the Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe, Dr. Frank Mentrup were among the guests at the ceremony, as were the two managing directors of Karlsruher Infrastruktur-Gesellschaft (KASIG), Dr Alexander Pischon and Frank Nenninger.

Opening ceremony by KASIG Managing Directors Frank Nenninger and Dr. Alexander Pischon, Secretary of State Michael Theurer, Regional Minister of Transport Winfried Hermann, Lord Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup and his predecessor Heinz Fenrich | © KVV Presse – www.diekombiloesung.de

The Kombilösung consists of the light rail and tram tunnel under Kaiserstraße with a length of 2.4 kilometres and four new stops as well as the approximately 1.2-kilometre-long southern tunnel branch from Marktplatz into Ettlinger Straße with three new stops. The project also includes the reconstruction of Kriegsstraße with a new track on surface and a 1.6-kilometre-long car tunnel underneath. In the tunnel, as in the entire Karlsruhe public transport system, the Intermodal Transport Control System MOBILE-ITCS from INIT is used.

The route network has been completely redesigned and tram and light rail services through Karlsruhe’s main shopping street, Kaiserstraße, ended on the same day.

No more tram and light rail service on surface at Kaiserstraße | © Julian Klein @marginauto

The previous and the new line routes:

Line 1
Previously: Durlach – Tullastraße – Marktplatz – Europaplatz – Oberreut
New: Durlach – Tullastraße – Marktplatz (U) – Europaplatz (U) – Heide

Line 2
Previous: Wolfartsweier – Tullastraße – Rüppurrer Tor – Hauptbahnhof – ZKM – Karlstor – Europaplatz – Knielingen North
New: Wolfartsweier – Tullastraße – Marktplatz (U) – Ettlinger Tor (U) – Hauptbahnhof – ZKM – Europaplatz – Knielingen North

Line 3
Previously: Tivoli – Main Station – Karlstor – Europaplatz – Heide
New: Rintheim – Durlacher Tor – Rüppurrer Tor – Tivoli – Hauptbahnhof – Karlstor – Europaplatz – Entenfang – Daxlanden / Rappenwört

Line 4
Previous: European School – Durlacher Tor – Marktplatz – Europaplatz – Karlstor – Hauptbahnhof – Tivoli
New: European School – Durlacher Tor – Rüppurrer Tor – Ettlinger Tor – Karlstor – Europaplatz – Oberreut

Line 5
Previous: Rintheim – Durlacher Tor – Rüppurrer Tor – Entenfang – Rheinhafen
New: Durlach train station – Tullastraße – Rüppurrer Tor – Ettlinger Tor – Karlstor – Weinbrennerplatz – Entenfang – Rheinhafen

Line 6
Previously: Hirtenweg – Konzerthaus – Karlstor – Europaplatz – Entenfang – Daxlanden / Rappenwört
Discontinued as of 12 Dec 2021

Line 8
unchanged

Line S2
Previously: Stutensee – Durlacher Tor – Marktplatz – Europaplatz – Entenfang – Rheinstetten
New: Stutensee – Hauptfriedhof – Tullastraße – Durlacher Tor (U) – Marktplatz (U) – Europaplatz (U) – Entenfang – Rheinstetten

AVG lines:
The S-Bahn lines S1, S11, S4, S5, S51, S7 and S8 of the AVG will all run through the new light rail tunnel from 12.12.2021. The new line S12 will run as an “express train” from Ittersbach/Ettlingen from Albtalbahnhof via Karlstraße, Europaplatz, Mühlburger Tor to Rheinhafen. The route Konzerthaus – Volkswohnung (in future Kongresszentrum Gleis 1 und 2) – Philip-Reis-Straße will continue to be used for transfer as well as depot access trips. In future, Philipp-Reis-Straße stop will only be served by express trains of line S2 and by the school tram line 16. The changes to the AVG lines at a glance:

© AVG on Twitter
Situation until 11 Dec 2021 | © Robert Schwandl (http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/de/ka/karlsruhe.htm)

Situation since 12 Dec 2021 | © Robert Schwandl (http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/de/ka/karlsruhe.htm)


The time line

In a referendum in 2004, a majority of 55.6 percent decided in favour of the combined solution. On 21 January 2010, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of the light rail and tram tunnel, and on 21 April 2017 for the reconstruction of Kriegsstraße with an above-ground track and a car tunnel underneath. The latter will not be opened until the end of March 2022 due to global material supply shortage in the construction industry.

Previous stop at Durchlacher Tor (here in 2019) – line 1 now runs underground | © UTM/b
Durchlacher Tor 2019 | © Budach
Today line S5 uses the tunnel access (right) – here in 2019 | © UTM/b
Opening day | © KVV Pressemeldung / Nicolas Lutterbach
New network scheme | © KVV
11.12.2021
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