In this part of the world a joke is circulating which bills itself as “Germany’s Shortest Railroad Joke.”
It goes: “Two members of the Board of Directors of the German Railroad System meet on a train.”
The point is (in case you aren’t doubled over in uncontrollable spasms of laughter) that these high-powered managerial geniuses have rarely if ever set foot in a train in their lives, otherwise why would they want to tear down this bright, convenient Central Station and replace it with a dingy underground tunnel.
They had a scheme called “Stuttgart 21” which was intended to do just that. At a cost of millions of Euros it was intended to save a couple minutes of travel time between Frankfurt and Munich, and free up scads of urban real estate which they thought they could market at a huge profit. (And of course make room on the surface for even more automobiles, but they didn’t stress that part.)
As anyone knows who has ever changed trains with a couple of suitcases or a baby carriage, it is much faster and easier if everything is on one level. Since all the tracks end here you can just walk around them to get to your new train.
And since all the trains can be driven from both ends now, there is no need to change engines. One engineer (train driver to you) gets out at the front end, his colleague gets in at the back, which is now the front, and off they go.
Stuttgart has a busy station, and with its location at the heart of central Europe, close to the borders of three nations, it has plenty of direct national and international trains. Some direct services include, for international trains, Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, and Zurich, and for journeys within Germany, Hamburg, Berlin, and Munich. Stuttgart is also on the fast ICE lines to Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg.
The best way to travel to and from Stuttgart is by train.
There are lots of modern trains and all modern conveniences at the railway station.
The best way to get around the city is by a streetcar.
If you are short of time, you can take a comfortable taxi at the entrance to the railway station and the taxi-driver will take you round the city center.
When you purchase a Baden Wurttemberg Ticket (EURO 23), you and up to five travelers can use the train for a complete day in Baden Wurttemberg. This means you can go to the Black Forest, Freiburg, Suttgart, etc.
If you happen to get the train from Stuttgart to Frankfurt Airport, you can check-in your luggage at Stuttgart train station, provided you are going on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, so you dont have to worry about dragging your suitcases off the train when you get to Frankfurt airport train station, it is all taken off for you - cool eh? :)
A single ticket for this route costs €44.60
The main train station also serves as a central hub for the U Bahn and the S Bahn trains as well as buses passing just outside. I bought a three day transportation pass from the hotel for around 18 euro. There are many lines and it took me a couple of days to figure it out.
If you are staying in Stuttgart for a longer period and plan to travel around by train it's worth buing a DeutscheBahn-card. This entitles you to travel inside Germany for something like 50% of the prices. Initially I thought it was quite expensive (some 135DM), but for those planning to travel a lot, you save the money pretty quick.
Stuttgart's main train station, or "Hauptbahnhof", is just east of the city centre, a few minutes walk from all the action.
Inside, the "DB ReiseZentrum" railroad travel agency (open 08:00-20:00, Sat 09:00-16:00, Sun 13:00-18:00) sells all tickets.
"The Arnulf-Klett-Passage" is a large underground commercial centre that connects the station with the VVS regional trains and trams; find the "VVS-Kundenzentrum" public transport customer service centre here (open 09:00-18:30, Sat 09:00-16:00, Sun 11:00-16:00).
It also connects directly to "Königstrasse", the main shopping mile and pedestrian artery of Stuttgart, with the tourist information centre.
But . . . if you can't afford one of those (and who can?), then you can get on a train at the Central Rail Station.