Hamburg S-Bahn to run trains with ATO and ETCS

S-Bahn auf einer Brücke in Hamburg mit Michel im Hintergrund - Baureihe ET 490 über die Alster

Alstom will deliver 64 new Class 490 S-Bahn vehicles for Hamburg with Automatic Train Operation. This will be Germany’s first implementation of ATO in automation level 2 for new S-Bahn vehicles. They are scheduled to start running in Hamburg from 2025.

Initially, Alstom will manufacture three vehicles that will undergo extensive testing and inspection, in particular for approval of their ETCS and ATO functionalities. For the first time in Germany, S-Bahn trains will be equipped with the European Train Control System (ETCS) Baseline 3 Release 2 and automated train operation (ATO) technology. The deliveries to Hamburg are scheduled for 2025 and 2026.

The order is an option from a framework contract signed in 2013 between Alstom and S-Bahn Hamburg GmbH. It is valued at around 500 million euros.

More frequent service

“Implementing this modern technology for series operation in such a large city represents an important step for the digitalisation and capacity increase of local transport systems in German conurbations”, says Michael Konias, Head of Digital & Integrated Systems at Alstom for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

At the end of 2025, ETCS Level 2 operation with ATO GoA2 will begin on the S-Bahn main line. Together, these technologies mean more frequent service and enable Hamburg to provide more fluid transport. This will enable increasing the overall number of train journeys. In addition, the flexibility of Hamburg’s new S-Bahn trains means that they will couple with the 82 Class 490 S-Bahn trains already in service.

“Equipping the trains with the latest ETCS and ATO technology is a milestone on the path to the digitalisation of Hamburg’s rail traffic, and we are proud to make a decisive contribution to this”, says Müslüm Yakisan, President of Alstom in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Improved spaces for passengers

The technological changes are mostly invisible for passengers, but the new S-Bahn trains will also have some improvements in the interior. For example, the middle cars will feature a multipurpose area with room for bicycles, luggage, and dedicated spaces to accommodate passengers with limited mobility.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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