Work on the Stuttgart 21 Project to replace the existing Stuttgart main station with an underground station has begun.

The new station will be built on the same site 12m below ground with through platforms to avoid the need for the reversal of long-distance ICE and other services, according to the Railway Gazette.

Under the new project, the historic main building will be retained and will provide access to the four platforms and eight tracks of the future station.

The project will feature a 9.5km Filder tunnel running south from the main station to a new station serving Stuttgart airport and the trade fair grounds that will cut down journey time to eight minutes compared with the current 27 minutes.

The second part of the project will comprise the development of an 84km high-speed line up to far as Ulm to be built parallel to the A8 Autobahn.

The project is expected to be completed by 2019.