Deutsche Bahn and Siemens will digitalise Hamburg S‐Bahn operations
Hamburg has welcomed digitalised rail operations and by the opening of the ITS World Congress in October 2021, four trains will be operating automatically…
From left to right: Kay Uwe Arnecke, Managing Director S-Bahn Hamburg; Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure Deutsche Bahn; Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Hamburg's First Mayor and Siemens Board Member and CTO Dr. Roland Busch
A cooperation agreement for the ‘Digital SBahn Hamburg’ has been signed, meaning for the first time in Germany, an automated S‐Bahn will begin operations in Hamburg.
Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr. Roland Busch, Chief Technology Officer and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Deutsche Bahn Management Board for Infrastructure all agreed on the digitalisation and as a result, Hamburg is now a pioneer for digitalised operations in a German rail network.
The agreement specifies that a 23km‐long section of the S‐Bahn Line 21 between the Berliner Tor and Bergedorf/Aumühle stations, and four trains, will be equipped for fully automated operation.
The three partners have agreed to share the estimated €60 million in costs for the project. In October 2021, in time for the World Congress for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), these trains will be operated in full automation.
Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Deutsche Bahn Management Board for Infrastructure, said: “In Hamburg we are starting to digitalise operations in one of our most important SBahn networks in Germany. This is a milestone in our future‐oriented ‘Digital Tracks for Germany’ programme, marking the launch of the biggest technological change in years. This project will be an important reference for designing and developing the intelligent and climate‐friendly rail networks that we need, especially in large cities.”
The ‘Digitale S‐Bahn Hamburg’ will be developed and tested on the line section between the Berliner Tor and Aumühle stations. The technical basis for the highly automated operation on the line is the future European Automatic Train Operation (ATO) standard via the radio‐based European Train Control System Level 2 (ETCS). The four trains will be controlled by radio signals and data will be transmitted between the trains and the block control centre. A driver will continue to be on-board each train in the automated section, present to intervene if required.
Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, said: “Hamburg is on the way to becoming a model city for modern mobility. We want to make transport in our city – on roads and rail – more reliable, environmentally friendlier and safer.”
As of 2021, four specially equipped trains will run fully automatically out of and into the siding at the Bergedorf station, located roughly between the Berliner Tor and Aumühle stations. Between the siding and the Bergedorf platform and back again, the train will operate over 1,000m alone without personnel on-board.
Dr. Roland Busch, Chief Technology Officer and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, said: “The S‐Bahn in Hamburg is an excellent example of how the digital transformation can have a positive impact on many areas of our lives. Intelligent transport will enable us to have more and more people use urban public transport. Automated rail operations have many advantages: Considerably more people can be transported with higher capacities on the same line, energy consumption can be cut and costs for the operator can be reduced, through optimised travel profiles.”
Following a successful pilot phase, it is planned to digitalise the entire Hamburg S‐Bahn network. Over the long term, the effects of the new technologies will be particularly noticeable through the increased throughput of trains on the sections. For passengers, this means a substantially improved mobility offering.