INTRO: Despite changes in funding arrangements for investment in Germany’s already extensive S-Bahn networks, new construction and modernisation are forging ahead. Hubertus R Jäger assesses the state of play

NEARLY ALL Germany’s S-Bahn networks are expanding. Funds are still flowing from federal sources under the Community Transport Financing Law (GVFG), which requires the Länder to make their own contribution. By doing so they are able to secure numerous jobs, with obvious implications.

Nonetheless, the picture is fundamentally different from a year ago. Germany’s railway reforms included the transfer on January 1 1996 of financial responsibility for regional and local services from federal government to the Länder, who order and pay for specific services. The transfer saw the available funds in the GVFG cut from DM6·3bn in 1995 to just DM3·7bn in 1996 and following years. The other DM3bn is still available to the Länder, but there is no requirement to spend it on rail investment projects.

For this reason there are a large number of projects which have reached an advanced planning stage, but are not included in GVFG packages. German Railway is therefore seeking other ways to obtain funds, especially through direct agreements with the Länder. This may sound as though developments are being delayed, but numerous schemes are being implemented in 10 cities and conurbations. Not only that, but many enjoy the status of priority projects.


The most important project under way is to raise capacity on the busy section under the centre of the city. At the moment this limits the number of trains that can be run on the various routes that converge on the city. The aim is to run 10min interval services on some S-Bahn lines.

An agreement to fund a DM100m programme to raise capacity is due to be signed shortly with the Land of Bayern. This will pave the way for 120 Class ET420 three-car S-Bahn units to be fitted with LZB continuous speed control. Trains will be able to run at shorter headways on each track of the 13·9 km double track section between Westkreuz and Leuchtenbergring.

Extra tracks are being added to segregate S-Bahn trains from main line traffic heading for Rosenheim and Austria. They use these as far as Grafing, where they turn off to reach Ebersberg. Four tracks are available as far as Zorneding, and work is now in progress to add two more tracks from there to Grafing. This will give Route S5 its own tracks throughout from 1999. Double-tracking on the 11 km eastern section of Route S2 from Giesing to Deisenhofen will also be finished by 1999.

Funding was agreed on August 28 for the Neufahrner Spange, a chord which will provide a second S-Bahn link to München’s Franz-Josef Strauss airport (RG 3.96 p117). The DM300m project will see a 6·7 km section of new alignment built east from Neufahrn, on the main line to Passau used by Route S1, to the existing underground airport station.


Work is currently in hand to complete the first phase of the basic network, taking its length from 41 km to 67 km. The project requires upgrading of the 26 km south from Nürnberg to Roth, and efforts are now concentrated on the Eibach - Reichersdorf section and on construction of a bridge over the Main-Danube canal.

The second phase covers a 39 km S-Bahn route from Nürnberg north to Fürth, Erlangen and Forchheim. This will be carried out in conjunction with German Unity Project Number 8·1 that will eventually provide a high-capacity high-speed route all the way from München to Berlin. This provides for segregation of regional traffic on the line to Forchheim, and also for some sections of separate alignment for freight.


Separate S-Bahn tracks are currently being laid between Frankfurt and Darmstadt in the Rhein-Main conurbation. Two more tracks are being laid as far as Langen, and one extra with passing loops from there to Darmstadt. Services are due to start this summer.

Construction of a new station to serve Frankfurt’s trade fair ground is in hand; this is located between the Hauptbahnhof and Frankfurt West. Four S-Bahn routes will call there when it opens in 1998.


Of all the S-Bahn projects currently in hand, this is perhaps the most significant. Around DM1·7bn is being invested in the programme, which will create five S-Bahn routes by 2000, when Expo 2000, a major trade fair, is to take place at a special site south of the city.

The five routes will form a 226 km network, of which 67 km will be on dedicated tracks. They are:

S1: Stadthagen - Wunstorf - Hannover Hbf - Weetzen - Haste;

S2: Nienburg - Wunstorf - Hannover Hbf - Weetzen - Haste;

S3: Hannover Hbf - Lehrte - Celle;

S4: Bennemühlen - Langenhagen - Hannover Hbf - Weetzen - Hameln;

S5: Langenhagen airport - Langenhagen - Hannover Hbf - Weetzen - Hameln.

During peak hours trains will run at 30min intervals, reducing to hourly off-peak. The first services will be launched this year, and they will use two extra tracks being laid between Seelze, west of the city, and the main station.

In 1998 Hannover will receive the first of a fleet of 60 four-car ET424 trains. The trains are articulated, offering 152 second class and 24 first class seats, plus 30 folding seats and space for 246 standees at 4/m2. Gangways between cars are almost full width, and passengers will appreciate the low floor which is just 798mm above rail top, allowing same level boarding. A continuous power rating of 2350 kW will allow a maximum speed of 160 km/h.

To cater for large flows of visitors to Expo 2000, up to four EMUs will be able to run in multiple. To reach the Expo site trains will use the existing main line tracks running from north to south. An extra track will be laid from Bismarckstrasse to Wülfel for about 1 km to take trains right into the exhibition grounds to a terminus at Hannover Messe/Laatzen.

Another single track link is under construction to serve Langenhagen airport north of the city. This will have a two-track underground station directly below the terminal area.


As part of the upgrading work for the PBKA high speed line project the Düren - Horrem - K