The Digital S-Bahn Hamburg pilot project signalled the start of digitalising Hamburg’s entire S-Bahn system. A feasibility study commissioned by the City of Hamburg showed that the ATO-over-ETCS technology being demonstrated for the first time in the pilot project will have a significant impact if introduced across the board, with passengers set to be the main beneficiaries.
The study concluded that digital rail operations will enable 30% more capacity on existing infrastructure and reduce knock-on delays by 40%. To achieve this, both the vehicle fleet and the infrastructure must be upgraded for the new technologies.
Three specific steps have already been agreed upon:
1. EUR 6.7 million has been earmarked in Germany's federal budget for the further design of a new digital signalling facility, which will be named Hamburg City. The facility will use digital signalling technology and will form the centrepiece of the Hamburg S-Bahn signalling system. It is intended to replace equipment such as the S-Bahn rail signalling system at Hamburg Main Station.
2. A total of 64 new class 490 trains featuring the new ATO and ETCS technologies have been ordered directly from the manufacturer under an existing option.
3. The city of Hamburg is providing a further EUR 7.7 million to retrofit the existing fleet. This means the existing S-Bahn Hamburg trains will also be made ready for digital rail operations.