This blog post presents our german press story about the demolition plans at the saxon train station in Werdau.
In the current issue of “Eisenbahn Romantik” (3/23) we published our detailed article on the demolition of the station in Werdau, Saxony. Here you can read the article or download it as a PDF.
If you are interested in this topic, first please read our detailed german article on the background to the near-demolition of the Werdau railway station since the purchase of the building by the city in 2012. Below we add points that have fallen victim to the shortening of the text of the article or that have happened since the editorial deadline.
Aspects not in the article because they fell victim to the cut:
# The city of Werdau has budgeted € 4.5 million for the new building project with public transport redesign, of which about € 800,000 will come from the municipal budget. Whether these funds will be enough in the end is questionable in view of the current cost developments.
# There is another initiative around the Werdauer railway station: take the Musikwinkel Express to Gunzen in the Vogtland. There, a railway enthusiast has renovated a tiny station and, in cooperation with the association “Wir in Werdau Süd” mentioned in the text, has “rescued” parts of the Werdau station’s interior and installed them here.
# If, in spite of everything, the station is completely demolished, the city will virtually degrade it to a stopping point and create a small replacement building through which access to the railway tunnel will continue to be granted. The designs so far (see article) are not yet convincing, but the mayor mentioned at the end of 2021 that the design should be put out to tender again.
# On the first evening of the aforementioned farewell festival (June 2022), during the late concerts, there was reportedly a gathering of young people outside the building in a threatening atmosphere. The following evening there was a police presence. That, too, is part of Werdau’s reality away from the spruced-up market square.
What has happened since May 2023:
# The citizens’ petition ends successfully and the city confirms that 1,227 handwritten entries were submitted. Of these, 986 valid signatures could be ascertained, which means that the necessary quorum of 844 citizens was reached.
# After the end of the citizens’ petition, Mayor Sören Kristensen initially described it as successful and said in the press that the people of Werdau would now have to decide and that there would be a referendum. He would pay the costs of the referendum out of his own pocket in the event of the city’s defeat, at least that was what he said in the press at the time.
# The city appealed to the Higher Administrative Court of Bautzen against the demolition stop due to the citizens’ petition and was granted justice in mid-May. Assuming the railway approves another time window for demolition, the city could tear down the building.
# In May there was also a fire of unknown cause, which burnt down the toilet block at the entrance to the station and left traces of soot on the building.
# At the city council meeting on 25.05.23, the Werdau city council was asked to vote on a draft resolution declaring the citizens’ petition inadmissible, which the city council again approved by a majority. The inadmissibility was justified by ambiguities regarding financing issues and a restrictive interpretation of the wording of the citizens’ petition. If one reads the public justification of the city in the council information system, one cannot help but notice that here the city expects the citizens to solve tasks that are only within the power of the city itself, as owner and budget master.
At the same meeting, the mayor categorically denied any further exchange or discussion of alternative solutions with the initiators of the citizens’ petition. Unfortunately, I am left with the impression of a city that is not looking for solutions with its citizens, but without them.
# Things are also happening at Deutsche Bahn. While it got rid of the Werdau train station years ago, it was decided in 2022 that no further stations would be sold and the remaining buildings would be developed further. Especially in eastern Germany, however, the railway now only has to look after a few buildings itself.
But the transport turnaround also means countless new projects and investments in the railways. For example, it was only recently decided in the federal government that the upcoming increase in the HGV toll should benefit the rail infrastructure. This will also provide funding opportunities for the renovation of station buildings.
Current state at Bahnhof Werdau, 07.10.2023
# In September, demolition excavators are rolling towards Werdau railway station again to start dismantling the forecourt with bus stops. In the last week of September, the Königsgang and a side extension of the station building are being demolished, while bus stop elements are still standing next to it. Since an urgent application is running in court at the same time concerning the city’s handling of the successful citizens’ petition, a temporary halt to demolition is again being imposed. Deutsche Bahn has again allowed for a time window for possible demolition from 17.10., so that decisive new developments can already take place in the coming weeks.
# Despite the provisional demolition stop, facts continue to be created in Werdau. On 6.10. and 09.10.23 the cellars of the building complex will be filled with concrete. This is clearly not to secure the building, but to prepare for demolition. For only if the building is demolished does the basement have to be filled in to protect the tracks. If the building were to be preserved, this would have caused lasting damage that could result in high costs. Further legal steps do not seem out of the question because of the situation.