19. October 2012

Brass plaque for Aschaffenburg's railway station

Train Station of the Year 2012: winner's ceremony on October 19th

Aschaffenburg, Bavaria: a brass plaque that was unveiled on the concourse of Aschaffenburg’s main station on October 19th bears witness to the fact that even a newly built train station can also earn the greatest accolade that passengers can give. Transport experts and railway enthusiasts, together with the German Pro-Rail Alliance, celebrated Aschaffenburg’s Train Station of the Year award for 2012. With the chairman of DB Station and Service André Zeug looking on, the jury members unveiled the winner’s plaque in the station. The manager of Aschaffenburg station Elmar Hirsch (Deutsche Bahn) and the local mayor Klaus Herzog (from the SPD) each received a certificate for their team effort during the planning and construction phases of the new station, which was completed in January 2011 after countless planning sessions with Aschaffenburg’s city parliament.

Jury member Karl-Peter Naumann from the rail travellers’ organisation Pro Bahn praised the station’s particularly close relationship with its town. “Regardless of how a traveller accesses or exits the station, the building is so well integrated with its environment that entering or leaving it appears seamless,” said Naumann. During its incognito visit to the “light and airy” station, the jury felt that it was “taken by the hand” and guided “harmoniously”, said Naumann. With the opening of the underground passage to the Damm district in 2012, the station now offers 360-degree access to the town. “It couldn’t be more accessible,” added Naumann. Jury member Dieter Harms from the Autoclub Europa (ACE) praised the customer service, the affordable parking facilities and even the station’s underground passage. “A pedestrian subway is normally something that travellers are genuinely afraid of. In Aschaffenburg they even have roses on the wall”. But the fact that the station, which is very functional, also boasts mosaic flooring is what made the jury very excited. “This station is an architectural masterpiece. Absolutely wonderful.”

Jury member Dirk Flege from the Pro-Rail Alliance pointed out that Aschaffenburg was already in the public’s top ten list during the nomination phase for the town station category. “That was an important lead for us. The station has quite obviously become a part of the town, and the town’s citizens can identify themselves with it.” At the same time, the facilities in Aschaffenburg also show that travellers have become more demanding. “Anybody who owns a high-tech car as an alternative mode of transport, with air conditioning, heated seats and a navigation system, also expects more comfort when travelling by train,” said Flege. He rejected the critical generalisations that are often made about many stations having been turned into better shopping centres. “The combination of shopping and travel in Aschaffenburg is a great success. Anyone who complains about the glitter of commerce taking hold of train stations really does not understand the needs of travellers,” said Flege.

Along with Aschaffenburg (town category), the Station of the Year award for 2012, now in its ninth year, also went to Bremen (city category). The previous winners were 2011: Leipzig and Halberstadt, 2010: Darmstadt and Baden-Baden, 2009: Erfurt and Uelzen, 2008: Karlsruhe and Schwerin, 2007: Berlin Main Station and Landsberg am Lech, 2006: Hamburg Dammtor and Oberstdorf, 2005: Mannheim and Wismar, and 2004: Hannover and Lübben. With its title for Aschaffenburg, the State of Bavaria has now drawn level with Baden-Wurttemberg in the ranking of winning stations, with both states now proudly hosting 3 winning stations. In contrast, the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland, for example, have not yet received a single award.


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(in German)