GERMAN Railway officially launched its latest S-Bahn network in Hannover on May 27, ahead of the start of public services with the summer timetable change the following day. It accounts for around DM1·6bn of the DM2bn investment made by DB and the Land of Nidersachsen in preparation for the opening of Expo 2000 in Hannover on June 1.

With five lines totalling 249 route-km, the Hannover S-Bahn is the fourth largest in Germany, behind München, Rhein-Ruhr/Rhein-Sieg, and Berlin. Around 60 route-km is on dedicated tracks, and the rest shares track with other services. It is also the first to be fully accessible for mobility-impaired riders; all station platforms are 760mm above rail, which will offer level boarding when the low-floor ET424 EMUs enter service.

As well as the new Expo station at Hannover Messe-Laatzen, the city’s Hauptbahnhof has been totally rebuilt at a cost of DM180m. A new branch takes S-Bahn services into an underground terminal beneath the city’s airport.

  • With over 12 million people expected to visit Expo before October 31, DB is operating a network of direct ICE, IC and IR services to Hannover from most major German cities. The S-Bahn network is also operating on a temporary configuration, with all services running to the Expo; regular routings will start in the autumn.