Group photo with representatives of the Potsdam Science Park and State Secretary Uwe Schüler in front of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg
Handover of over 12,000 signatures in favour of the RB23 connection with representatives of the Potsdam Science Park and the state capital Potsdam to State Secretary Uwe Schüler (3rd from left) in front of the Brandenburg Ministry for Infrastructure and Regional Planning. ©sevens[+]maltry

Connection to the future: Petition handed over to State Secretary – over 12,000 people demand reliable rail connection for the Potsdam Science Park

On 27 March, representatives of the Potsdam Science Park handed over more than 12,000 signatures to Uwe Schüler, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg, in support of maintaining the hourly RB23 train service between the Potsdam Science Park in Potsdam-Golm and Berlin. The petition signatures were presented by Agnes von Matuschka, CEO of the site management of Brandenburg’s largest innovation centre and science park, together with representatives from the University of Potsdam, the state capital Potsdam, the Fraunhofer and Max Planck Institutes and the companies in the Potsdam Science Park.

The central demand of the petition is to maintain the regional train line RB23 as an hourly direct connection between Golm and Berlin on weekdays with stops at the Potsdam stations Park Sanssouci, Charlottenhof, Hauptbahnhof and Griebnitzsee (university campus) as well as at the Berlin stations Wannsee, Charlottenburg, Zoologischer Garten, Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof, among others.

The Potsdam Science Park is thus positioning itself against the planned deterioration of the region’s rail service – and in favour of the goals of the transport transition (Verkehrswende). The regional transport plan of the state of Brandenburg envisages a significant reduction in regional rail connections for Golm. With the planned timetable change at the end of 2025, only a few direct daily connections to and from Berlin will remain. This drastic setback must be avoided. Potsdam-Golm and the Potsdam Science Park need a reliable connection to the future! The site management of the Potsdam Science Park (Standortmanagement Golm GmbH) is asking the state government to reconsider its plans.

This is necessary in order not to jeopardise the expected growth of the largest innovation park and science location in Brandenburg and to make it sustainable in terms of the transport transition and the ongoing shift towards a more sustainable mobility system. Around 13,000 scientists, students and employees are already researching, learning and working at the Potsdam Science Park. Many of them commute between Berlin and Potsdam-Golm. Around 100 new companies are to be established here in the coming years. Reliable local rail transport to the capital is a key factor in attracting skilled workers in the long term and further strengthening the Potsdam Science Park as an economic driver for the region.

The online petition launched on Change.org in November 2023, titled “The train has left? Not with us! Together for the RB 23 to Berlin!” has been signed by over 12,000 people so far.

Regional transport plan promises “more rail & bus”

The federal state of Brandenburg is focusing on the expansion of local rail transport in order to respond to economic developments and population growth as well as to improve the structural development of rural areas and the transport and climate transition. The current regional transport plan states: “Transporting more people in environmentally friendly modes of transport is a declared goal of the state government.”

With this petition, the Potsdam Science Park takes the state government at its word and speaks out in favour of reliable and attractive local rail transport in the region. In view of the ongoing research and academic activities and the expected growth of the site, good rail connections are of crucial importance for its future viability and for the entire innovation ecosystem of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region.

Restrictions coming as early as the end of 2025

The regional transport plan envisages the extension of the RB23 line from Golm to Wustermark. At the same time, the line towards Berlin will be thinned out. From the timetable change in December 2025, there will be only three direct connections in each direction between Berlin and Golm in the early morning (with the last journey to Golm at 7.34 a.m.) and four in the afternoon (with the last journey to Berlin at 5.43 p.m.). These times are unsuitable for the needs of science and teaching, as well as for local companies.

Transport survey: high demand for local rail services

A transport survey conducted by the University of Potsdam in 2023 shows how important local rail transport is for the scientists, students and employees of the Potsdam Science Park. Two thirds live in Berlin or Potsdam and nealry 90 per cent say that they regularly use public transport to get to work. The RB23 line is the most popular connection.

In addition, the entire commuter service between Berlin and Potsdam would suffer from the cuts, as the RB23 is an alternative for many people to the RE1, which is often overcrowded due to its low frequency.

Signers of the petition cite a variety of reasons for their support. Scientists and employees state that they have chosen Golm as a place to live or work because of the existing railway connection and that the reduction in the number of trains would significantly worsen their quality of life. For some, it would mean that they would have to use their car in future.

Agnes von Matuschka, CEO of the site management (Standortmanagement Golm GmbH), emphasized on the occasion of handing over the petition signatures: “The hourly connection to Berlin with the RB23 is essential for people who commute to work, but also for cooperation partners, guests of our conferences, customers and service companies. In addition, we have a strong focus on sustainability at the Potsdam Science Park and public transport plays a central role in this.”

“The joint and agreed goal of the city and state government is to further develop the Potsdam Science Park into an international innovation location. The state capital is actively promoting this expansion in its fields of action. The current transport planning is slowing down this process – not only for the state capital of Potsdam, but also with regard to the business location and the creation of jobs in Brandenburg. This is where the state government comes in. Good regional and supra-regional accessibility is an essential prerequisite for location development. A clear commitment by the state to Golm as an innovation location – in and also beyond the mobility issue – is urgently needed,” underlined Bernd Rubelt, construction officer of the state capital of Potsdam.

Caption

  • Sascha Thormann, Representative of the President for Start-ups and the transfer of knowledge and technology, University of Potsdam
  • Dr. Eva Ehrentreich-Förster, Deputy Director, Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses IZI-BB
  • State Secretary Uwe Schüler, Ministry for Infrastructure and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg (MIL)
  • Agnes von Matuschka, CEO, Standortmanagement Golm GmbH – site management of the Potsdam Science Park
  • Bernd Rubelt, Councillor for Urban Development, Construction, Economy and Environment of the State Capital of Potsdam
  • Jan Degen, Managing Director, kez.biosolutions GmbH, company representative

Copyright photo: sevens[+]maltry

On 27 March, representatives of the Potsdam Science Park handed over more than 12,000 signatures to Uwe Schüler, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg, in support of maintaining the hourly RB23 train service between the Potsdam Science Park in Potsdam-Golm and Berlin. The petition signatures were presented by Agnes von Matuschka, CEO of the site management of Brandenburg’s largest innovation centre and science park, together with representatives from the University of Potsdam, the state capital Potsdam, the Fraunhofer and Max Planck Institutes and the companies in the Potsdam Science Park.