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Results of the referendums: A NO for the new light rail in Regensburg – but a YES to the interurban tramway StUB in Erlangen

Stadt-Umland-Bahn Nürnberg-Erlangen-Herzogenaurach, Bridge (design) over the Regnitz | © Claus Hirche / Zweckverband StUB

At the same time as the European elections, referendums were held in the two major Bavarian cities of Erlangen and Regensburg on the long-planned construction of new light rail systems.

The preliminary final results were available on the evening of 9 June 2024:

In Erlangen, 52.4% of the eligible voters were in favour of the major infrastructure project, with more than 54,000 people taking part in the vote, far exceeding the necessary quorum of 8,304. The result of the referendum should hopefully now finally pave the way for the construction of the new, standard-gauge, low-floor interurban light rail system. It is to start from the current Am Wegfeld terminus of the Nuremberg tram and run from there through the south, city centre and west of Erlangen and on to Herzogenaurach. The StUB is to be 26 kilometres long in future. In Herzogenaurach, 75% of voters had already spoken out in favour of the project years ago, and in Erlangen there was also a vote in favour of continuing the planning at the time in 2016. We presented the project here:

Stadt-Umland-Bahn Nürnberg-Erlangen-Herzogenaurach | © Zweckverband StUB

The outcome of the referendum on the introduction of a modern low-floor tram in Regensburg, on the other hand, is not so encouraging: 53.6% of the authorised voters were against the city’s plans to improve transport conditions in the city. We reported on the project here:

Core network of the planned Regensburg light rail system | © Stadt Regensburg

Mayor Gertrud Maltz-Schwarzfischer was not the only one to express her disappointment: ‘I am convinced that we have missed a historic opportunity.’ The other supporters and those involved in the planning were also disappointed. It is therefore still completely unclear how public transport in the city can be adapted to the current requirements of modern mobility.

The outcome of referendums on major infrastructure projects always harbours a high potential for uncertainty and surprises – projects for the reintroduction of modern light rail systems have failed in Aachen and Wiesbaden, for example, and such decisions are still pending in Salzburg and elsewhere. This makes the outcome of the election in Erlangen all the more pleasing – and of course no less disappointing for many on the ground the result in Regensburg.

Starting point for the future StUB will be current Am Wegfeld terminus of Nuremberg’s tramway | © Budach