DB and Siemens develop digitized operation at S-Bahn Hamburg

Siemens, Deutsche Bahn and the city of Hamburg have signed a cooperation agreement for the ”Digital S-Bahn Hamburg. Hamburg is thus a pioneer in digitized operation of the German rail network.
Under the agreement, the 23 kilometer stretch on the S-Bahn line 21 between the stations Berliner Tor and Bergedorf / Aumühle is set up for highly automated operation. Four trains will also be equipped with the required technology. The three partners have agreed to share the approximately EUR 60 million costs. In October 2021, when Hamburg will host the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), these vehicles will operate digitally controlled.
Under the “Digital S-Bahn Hamburg” project, trains will operate on the future European Automatic Train Operation (ATO) standard in combination with European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2. While drivers will continue to be on board for operation outside the automated area, they will only intervene when required along the automated section of track.
Following this pilot phase, it is planned to automate the entire Hamburg S-Bahn network.
In Hamburg we are starting to digitalise operations in one of our most important S‐Bahn networks in Germany. This is a milestone in our future‐oriented “Digital Tracks for Germany” programme, for it marks 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”, DB board member for infrastructure, Ronald Pofalla, 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 also be cut, and costs for the operator can be reduced, such as through optimised travel profiles”, Chief Technology Officer and Member of the Board of Management of Siemens, Roland Busch, commented.