Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Siemens Mobility have developed what they claim is the world’s first train that operates by itself in rail traffic.
The digital S-Bahn had its premiere run at the opening of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS), taking place in Hamburg until 15 October.
During the congress, four digital S-Bahn trains are operating automatically along the 23-km section of S-Bahn Line 21 between the Berliner Tor and Bergedorf/Aumühle stations.
Hamburg rail project
The train was presented by Dr Richard Lutz, CEO of DB, and Dr Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens, along with Dr Peter Tschentscher, mayor of Hamburg as part of the Digital S-Bahn Hamburg project.
“We’re experiencing the true turn of an era: The railroad has arrived in the digital future and Digital Rail Germany has become a reality,” said Lutz. “With automated rail operations, we can offer our passengers a significantly expanded, more reliable and therefore improved service – without having to lay a single kilometre of new track.
“It is our goal to make rail transport attractive to ever-larger numbers of people, which is the only way we can achieve the mobility transition.”
Digitisation holds a lot of potential for the entire Hamburg S-Bahn network. We are creating greater capacities on the existing tracks and improve reliability and punctuality of rail travel”
The train is controlled by digital technology and is fully automated. The driver remains on the train to supervise the journey with passengers on board. Shunting, such as turning the train around, is done without on-board personnel.
The project partners DB, Siemens Mobility, and the City of Hamburg have invested a total of €60 million in the digital S-Bahn Hamburg, which is part of DB’s Digital Rail Germany project.
Tschentscher, first mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg: “Digitisation holds a lot of potential for the entire Hamburg S-Bahn network. We are creating greater capacities on the existing tracks and improve reliability and punctuality of rail travel.