Pacemaker for Munich's trams

Just 50 years ago, the tram in Munich was considered a discontinued model – just like in Hamburg and West Berlin. Everywhere there, the city politicians wanted to rely solely on the subway and S-Bahn, while the tram tracks were to gradually disappear.

Not least due to massive civil protests, however, a rethink began in Munich City Hall in the 1980s. And so the tram is not only an integral part of the cityscape and transports around 70 million passengers a year on 13 lines. But according to a decision by the city council, the Munich tram network is to be expanded in the coming years for several hundred million euros.

Ironically, the “heart of the Munich tram” remained untouched by this renaissance, says Ingo Wortmann. The head of the Munich Transport Company ( MVG ) is referring to the tram depot on Ständlerstrasse, where the city’s trams are serviced and repaired. “You could see in the workshops that we’re still in a situation from the past,” complains Wortmann. But that should change now.

MVG wants to build a new tram depot on the approximately 100-hectare site between Ständlerstrasse and Lauensteinstrasse for 400 million euros. A first part of this major project has now been completed – and therefore the reason why Ingo Wortmann and other MVG employees came together this Friday. Because they are celebrating the opening of the so-called interim workshops, which serve as an interim solution until the tram depot is completed.

Local public transport: More than just a parking lot for trams: the new halls cost around 20 million euros.

More than just a parking lot for trams: the new halls cost around 20 million euros.

(Photo: Robert Haas)

The new halls, which are designed to operate for six to eight years, cost around 20 million euros. “We have now created a temporary solution and can breathe easy,” says Wortmann. “Because here you can work cleverly.”

This was exactly what was not the case before, after defects in the building structure of the previous assembly hall were discovered in 2018. This had to be closed as a result, which led to considerable operational restrictions. Thanks to the interim workshops, more vehicles can now be repaired in less time, says Oliver Glaser, who is responsible for the rail division at MVG. “For the passengers, this results in a more stable service with fewer breakdowns, and higher productivity for our workshop.”

In addition, the new halls are a prerequisite for the starting signal for a “protracted open-heart operation”, as Oliver Glaser calls the new tram depot. MVG has been dealing with this since 2015. Three years later, the plans had to be revised as a result of the increased demand and the entire site up to Lauensteinstraße had to be included in the considerations – including the sports facilities in the south, the previous club site of SV Stadtwerke München.

Its footballers recently said goodbye to their long-standing home for good. Now the demolition of the sports fields and the sports hall is in progress, says project manager Andreas Lindner. The track construction halls are to be dismantled next year, so that work on the actual tram depot can start in early 2024. This will not only include new workshops and storage capacities, but also parking spaces for 100 vehicles, says Lindner. “In total, there will be a track length of ten kilometers on the site.”

According to the project manager, the project is currently in the final phase of design planning; The approval process is scheduled to start in early 2023. “Noise protection, environmental protection and nature conservation will be important issues,” announces Lindner. He promises extensive citizen participation, including workshops and an information stand on the site. A first tour with residents will take place this Monday, followed by a public information event in October. A website for the project is also going online this week – at mvg.de/bhs.

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