AN 11 km extension of Hamburg’s S-Bahn from Neugraben to Buxtehude is envisaged as the first stage in a major expansion of the city’s urban rail network. Hamburger Verkehrsverbund announced the scheme in January as part of a regional development plan for 2010 being drawn up by the city and the Länder of Niedersachsen and Schleswig-Holstein.

HVV and S-Bahn Hamburg GmbH favour dual-system EMUs as a cheaper option than building segregated tracks for the 1·2 kV third-rail network. A study by DE-Consult puts the cost of a dual-system extension to Buxtehude at DM100m, compared to DM300m for a new line. This includes DM18·3m for rebuilding platforms to match the floor height of the S-Bahn cars, and DM81·7m for rolling stock. Six new dual-system EMUs would be needed, and 24 existing sets would be rebuilt with 15 kV 16 2/3 Hz capability. Niedersachsen is expected to contribute the bulk of the funding.

If the pilot is successful, HVV would like to see the S-Bahn extended from Pinneberg to Elmshorn, Itzehoe and Neumünster, eliminating the need to change trains. Other services could use electrified lines to reach Buchholz, Lüneburg and Stade. Electrification of DB’s Hamburg - Lübeck line would allow services to run beyond Aumühle to Schwarzenbek and Büchen.

Within the city, HVV envisages around 40 km of light rail to link the U-Bahn and S-Bahn networks with new housing developments and areas of high employment.