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Setback for the tram extension in Munich: Still no approval for the Nordtangente tramway through the English Garden

Chinesischer Turm stop with the garden landscape | © MVG

On Monday 8 July 2024, the Free State of Bavaria reiterated its rejection of the section of the northern tram tangent through the English Garden to Stadtwerke München (SWM) and the mobility department of the City of Munich. As the owner of the English Garden, the approval of the Free State is a prerequisite for building the route through the park.

Since being commissioned by the state capital in 2018, SWM has been working intensively on the planning for the northern tram tangent and thus also for the section through the English Garden. After the planning documents were submitted in May 2023, the Free State of Bavaria rejected offers of dialogue at working level and stated that it wanted to wait for the planning approval documents first. As a result, the city council passed the routing resolution for this section at its plenary meeting in December 2023 and instructed SWM to submit the application for planning approval to the government of Upper Bavaria.

SWM prepared the application for planning approval right up to the end and invested around 5.4 million euros in the planning and several million euros in the development of the Akkutrams. The fact that the project makes economic sense is confirmed by the standardised assessment with a benefit-cost ratio of well over 1, which is also a prerequisite for eligibility for funding under the Municipal Transport Financing Act.

MVG CEO Ingo Wortmann and the City of Munich’s mobility officer Georg Dunkel discussed the points put forward by the Free State in talks with Minister of State Florian Herrmann and Minister of State Georg Eisenreich. Ingo Wortmann: “We have reiterated our offer of talks with the Free State. We are prepared to discuss the critical points in a solution-orientated manner and to discuss ways of making the route narrower. However, the state ministers have rejected further talks. This is very regrettable, as it makes an economically sensible transport project that relieves the roads impossible.”

Mobility officer Georg Dunkel: “The northern tram tangent is of outstanding importance for urban development and Munich as a business location, as well as having a high benefit-cost factor. It is therefore all the more regrettable that the Free State of Bavaria has not agreed to our compromise proposals. It is quite paradoxical that the Free State of Bavaria has assessed major interventions in the garden monument differently in favour of the equally sensible expansion of the Föhringer Ring.”

Crossing with English Garden without catenary has very little visual impact | © MVG

The Nordtangente (northern bypass) is an essential part of the extensive expansion plans for Munich’s tram network. It is intended to provide attractive direct connections between Neuhausen, Schwabing and Bogenhausen and offer greater capacity than the articulated buses currently in use. The core element is the 2.2 km long connection from Elisabethplatz to the Tivolistraße stop, which is to cross the English Garden over a length of around 800 metres on the bus route that has already existed for decades (!). In order to minimise the impact on the garden landscape, there will be no catenary and the trams operate in battery mode.

Stadtwerke München (SWM) has reacted to the strict rejection of the state government and is freezing the planning for the new line as long as the State of Bavaria maintains its position. The current planning status will be documented accordingly. If the political framework conditions change, SWM can resume planning.

Future stop at Münchner Rück | © MVG