30. October 2014

Commemorative plaque for the ‘Jewel on the Elbe’

Train Station of the Year 2014: celebration in Dresden on October 30

The commemorative brass plaque will adorn the station’s entrance hall from Thursday.

Dresden, October 30, 2014. From today, the entrance hall in Dresden’s main station is decorated with a heavy brass plaque. From now on, its waterproof engraving will inform travellers that Germany’s most customer friendly train station is in Saxony’s capital city. Friends of the railways and the German Pro-Rail Alliance came together for the winner’s ceremony after the impressive building was awarded the title of Station of the Year in the city category. The competition is now in its eleventh year. In the presence of the chairman of DB Station & Service Andreas Zeug, the jury members unveiled the commemorative brass plaque in the award winning station’s entrance hall. Heiko Klaffenbach (Deutsche Bahn), manager of Dresden station, and the mayor of Dresden Jörn Marx (CDU) each received a certificate for their good cooperation on reconstructing and operating Dresden’s main station.

The jury of six members is made up of representatives from the rail customer groups Pro Bahn and DBV, the transport club VCD, the Autoclub Europa ACE, the German cyclist association ADFC and the German Pro-Rail Alliance. It made awards to Saxony’s capital Dresden in the city category as well as to Hünfeld station in the state of Hesse (category small town).

Unveiling ceremony: station manager Heiko Klaffenbach and the mayor of Dresden Jörn Marx are still holding their certificates as the jury members unveil the brass plaque.

Dresden main station: the jewel
“Dresden station combines the splendour of past eras with the modern demand for functionality,” said Jury member Karl-Peter Naumann from the passenger group Pro-Bahn. “Dresden’s main station proves every day that such a balancing act is possible,” was the jury’s verdict. It is not only the fact that the magnificent building is both a railway terminus and a through station. After extensive rebuilding, and surviving flooding, the burden of history on this protected, sandstone ensemble was “transformed into bright and uplifting lightness”, was Naumann’s enthusiastic verdict. Jury member Christian Schultz from DBV was full of praise for how the building’s quiet serenity shines down on travellers. “There is no hectic rush in Saxony’s state capital. It would be a real pity to simply rush to this jewel of a station for your onward journey.” After making its incognito visit to the station where it carried out thorough checks on the travel centre and its 43 shops, the six travel experts were unanimous: “The station’s employees are highly motivated, the staff in the travel centre and in shops such as ‘Kekserei’, Marché and in the tobacconist’s are all happy to be of service,” said the jury members from DBV and Pro-Bahn. “This Train Station of the Year is like a good wine – it is there to be enjoyed.”

Train stations are places of travel culture
“A train station like Dresden is a breath-taking combination of old and new, it is both traditional and contemporary,” said Jury member and Pro-Rail Alliance managing director Dirk Flege. In contrast with functional buildings built on greenfield sites such as airports, “train stations are pillars of a society’s travelling culture”. It is therefore not surprising that an artist such as the architect Norman Foster, who also modernised the Reichstag in Berlin, could be attracted to the project, said Flege.

Out and about with the checklist
The Pro-Rail Alliance has made the awards for the ‘Train Station of the Year’ competition to Germany’s best station in a city and in a smaller town since 2004. Only stations that satisfy the needs of customers and citizens, according to a defined set of criteria, can receive the award. Objective demands such as customer information, cleanliness, and integration with the city and connections with other modes of transport are as important to clinching the vote as more subjective ‘feel-good’ factors. Dirty toilets, for example, are an obvious knockout factor. The previous winners were 2013: Göttingen and Oberursel, 2012: Bremen and Aschaffenburg, 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.

Additional information (in German)