Berlin S-Bahn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
S-Bahn Berlin
Train station Berlin Friedrichstrasse 5.jpg
Berlin Friedrichstrasse railway station, crossing point for the Stadtbahn and the Nord-Süd-Tunnel routes of the Berlin S-Bahn
Locale Berlin
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 15[1]
Number of stations 166[1]
Daily ridership 1,300,000 (average weekday, 2013)[2]
Annual ridership 402 million (2013)[2]
Website S-Bahn Berlin GmbH
Began operation August 8, 1924
Operator(s) S-Bahn Berlin GmbH
System length 332 km (206 mi)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (standard gauge)
Electrification 800 V DC Third rail
The Berlin S-Bahn network

The Berlin S-Bahn is a rapid transit railway system in and around Berlin, the capital city of Germany. It has been operated under this name since December 1930, having been previously called the special tariff area Berliner Stadt-, Ring- und Vorortbahnen (Berlin cross-city, circular, and suburban railways).[1]

While in the first decades of this tariff zone the trains were steam-drawn, and while even after the electrification of large parts of the network a number of lines remained under steam, today the term S-Bahn is used in Berlin only for those lines and trains with third-rail electrical power transmission and the special Berlin S-Bahn loading gauge. The third unique technical feature, of the Berlin S-Bahn, the automated mechanical train control is being phased out and replaced by a communications-based train control system, but which again is specific to the Berlin S-Bahn.

In other parts of Germany and other German-speaking countries, the brand name S-Bahn is used without those Berlin specific features. The Hamburg S-Bahn is the only other system using third-rail electrification.

Today, the Berlin S-Bahn is no longer defined as this special tariff area of the national railway company, but is instead just one specific means of transportation, defined by its special technical characteristics, in an area-wide tariff administered by a public transport authority. The Berlin S-Bahn is now an integral part of the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, the unique tariff zone for all kinds of public transit in and around Berlin and the federal state (Bundesland) of Brandenburg.


The brand name "S-Bahn" chosen in 1930 mirrored U-Bahn, which had become the official brand name for the Berlin city-owned rapid transit lines begun under the name of Berliner Hoch- und Untergrundbahnen (Berlin elevated and underground lines), where the word of mouth had abbreviated "Untergrundbahn" to "U-Bahn", in parallel to "U-Boot" formed from "Unterseeboot" ("undersea ship" – submarine).

Services on the Berlin S-Bahn have been provided by the Prussian or German national railway company of the respective time, which means the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft after the First World War, the Deutsche Reichsbahn until 1993 (except West Berlin from 1984 to 1994) and Deutsche Bahn after its incorporation in 1994.

The Berlin S-Bahn consists today of 15 lines serving 166 stations, and runs over a total route length of 332 kilometres (206 mi).[1] The S-Bahn carried 395 million passengers in 2012.[2] It is integrated with the mostly underground U-Bahn to form the backbone of Berlin's rapid transport system. Unlike the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn crosses Berlin city limits into the surrounding state of Brandenburg, e.g. to Potsdam.

Although the S- and U-Bahn are part of a unified fare system, they have different operators. The S-Bahn is operated by S-Bahn Berlin GmbH, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn, whereas the U-Bahn is run by BVG, the main public transit company for the city of Berlin.



The S-Bahn routes all feed into one of three core lines: a central, elevated east-west line (the Stadtbahn), a central, mostly underground north-south line (the Nord-Süd Tunnel), and a circular, elevated line (the Ringbahn). Outside the Ringbahn, suburban routes radiate in all directions.

Lines S1, S2 and S25 are north-south lines that use the North-South tunnel as their midsection. Lines S3, S5, S7 and S75 are east-west lines using the Stadtbahn cross-city railway (S3 ends temporarily, from December 2011 to 2015, at Ostkreuz instead of Spandau during a phase of the remodelling of the Ostkreuz interchange station[3]). S41 and S42 continuously circle around the Ringbahn, the former clockwise, the latter the opposite way. Lines S45, S46 and S47 link destinations in the southeast with the southern section of the Ringbahn via the tangential link from the Görlitzer Bahn to the Ring via Köllnische Heide. Lines S8, S85, and S9 are north-south lines using the eastern section of the Ringbahn between Bornholmer Straße and Treptower Park via Ostkreuz, using the Görlitzer Bahn in the South.

Generally speaking, the first digit of a route number denotes the main route or a group of routes. Thus, S25 is a branch of S2, while S41, S42, S45, S46, and S47 are all Ringbahn routes that share some of the same route. So S41, S42, S45, S46 and S47 are together S4. However, the S4 as such does not exist.

Line Terminus Route Terminus Color
Berlin S1.svg Potsdam Hauptbahnhof Potsdam Griebnitzsee - Wannsee - Nikolassee - Mexikoplatz - Schöneberg - Yorckstraße - Potsdamer Platz - Friedrichstraße - Gesundbrunnen - Schönholz - Wittenau - Frohnau - Hohen Neuendorf - Birkenwerder - Oranienburg Oranienburg RAL 4003
Berlin S2.svg Blankenfelde Blankenfelde - Lichtenrade - Südkreuz - Yorckstraße - Potsdamer Platz - Friedrichstraße - Gesundbrunnen - Bornholmer Straße - Pankow - Blankenburg - Karow - Buch - Bernau Bernau RAL 6001
Berlin S25.svg Teltow Stadt Teltow Stadt - Lichterfelde Ost - Südkreuz - Yorckstraße - Potsdamer Platz - Friedrichstraße - Gesundbrunnen - Bornholmer Straße - Schönholz - Karl-Bonnhoeffer-Nervenklinik - Tegel - Hennigsdorf Hennigsdorf RAL 6001
Berlin S3.svg Erkner Erkner - Friedrichshagen - Karlshorst - Ostkreuz Ostkreuz RAL 5017
Berlin S41.svg Südkreuz Ringbahn Südkreuz (clockwise) RAL 8004
Berlin S42.svg Südkreuz Ringbahn Südkreuz (counter-clockwise) RAL 8021
Berlin S45.svg ✈ Berlin-Schönefeld Südkreuz - Tempelhof - Neukölln - Baumschulenweg - Schöneweide - Schönefeld Südkreuz (↔ Bundesplatz) RAL 1011
Berlin S46.svg Königs Wusterhausen Westend - Messe Nord/ICC - Südkreuz - Tempelhof - Neukölln - Baumschulenweg - Schöneweide - Grünau - Zeuthen - Königs Wusterhausen Westend RAL 1011
Berlin S47.svg Spindlersfeld Schöneweide - Spindlersfeld Hermannstraße RAL 1011
Berlin S5.svg Spandau Spandau - Olympiastadion - Westkreuz - Charlottenburg - Zoologischer Garten - Hauptbahnhof - Friedrichstraße - Alexanderplatz - Ostbahnhof - Warschauer Straße - Ostkreuz - Lichtenberg - Friedrichsfelde Ost - Wuhletal - Mahlsdorf - Hoppegarten - Strausberg - Strausberg Stadt - Strausberg Nord Strausberg Nord RAL 2008
Berlin S7.svg Ahrensfelde Ahrensfelde - Springpfuhl - Lichtenberg - Ostkreuz - Warschauer Straße - Osbahnhof - Alexanderplatz - Friedrichstraße - Hauptbahnhof - Zoologischer Garten - Charlottenburg - Westkreuz - Nikolassee Wannsee RAL 4005
Berlin S75.svg Wartenberg Wartenberg - Springpfuhl - Lichtenberg - Ostkreuz - Warschauer Straße - Osbahnhof - Alexanderplatz - Friedrichstraße - Hauptbahnhof - Zoologischer Garten - Charlottenburg - Westkreuz Westkreuz RAL 4005
Berlin S8.svg (Zeuthen ↔) Grünau Zeuthen - Grünau - Schöneweide - Baumschulenweg - Treptower Park - Ostkreuz - Schönhauser Allee - Bornholmer Straße - Pankow - Blankenburg - Bergfelde - Hohen Neuendorf - Birkenwerder Birkenwerder RAL 6018
Berlin S85.svg (Grünau ↔) Schöneweide Not in Service Waidmannslust RAL 6018
Berlin S9.svg ✈ Berlin-Schönefeld Schönefeld - Schöneweide - Baumschulenweg - Treptower Park - Ostkreuz - Schönhauser Allee - Bornholmer Straße - Pankow Pankow RAL 2003

Stations in brackets are serviced at certain times only (Monday through Friday during offpeak in the case of S45 and during peak in the case of S8 and S85). S85 only runs Monday through Friday.

Also, not every train reaches the nominal terminus of a line. For example, every other train on S1 runs only to Frohnau, five stops before Oranienburg, and the last stop on S3 towards Erkner which is reached by every train is Friedrichshagen. Similarly, some northbound S2 trains terminate only at Gesundbrunnen, and most S5 trains run only to Strausberg or even Mahlsdorf, rendering Strausberg Nord the least frequented stop on the whole network.

On 31 August 2009 a few permanent changes to the line routes were applied. Because of renovations to Ostkreuz station, which includes dismantling tracks connecting the Stadtbahn and the Ringbahn, S9 (formerly ✈ Berlin-SchönefeldSpandau) cannot turn west at this station any more. The line thus follows the Ringbahn and then branches northwards past Schönhauser Allee, like S2 and S8, and terminates at Pankow. To compensate for the diminished throughput on the Stadtbahn, the S3 (formerly ErknerOstbahnhof) was extended westwards to Spandau. Because of the progress achieved in the Ostkreuz renovation, the S3 now operates only between Ostkreuz and Erkner. As a replacement, the S5 now travels to Spandau and the S75 operates every 10 minutes between Westkreuz and Wartenberg.

Service hours[edit]

The normal daytime service runs fundamentally between 04:00 and 01:00 Monday-Friday, between 05:00 and 01:00 on Saturdays and between 06:30 and 01:00 on Sundays. However, there is a comprehensive nighttime service on most lines between 01:00 and 05:00 on Saturdays and 01:00 and 06:30 on Sundays, which means that most stations enjoy a continuous service between Friday morning and Sunday evening. One exception to this is the section of the S8 between Blankenburg and Hohen Neuendorf which sees no service in these hours. Most other lines operate without route changes, but some are curtailed or extended during nighttime. Particularly, the S1, S2, S25, S3, S41, S42, S5, S7 are unchanged, and the S45 and S85 have no nighttime service. Westbound lines S46, S47, S75, and northbound S9 terminate at stations Südkreuz, Schöneweide, Lichtenberg and Treptower Park, respectively.


Berlin S-Bahn was converted from steam to third rail electrification starting in the late 1920s. The rail is bottom-contact. Seen here at the level crossing at Lichtenrade station


With individual sections dating from the 1870s, the S-Bahn was formed by and by as the network of suburban commuter railways running into Berlin, then interconnected by the circular railway connecting the various terminal railway stations, and in 1882 enhanced by the east-west cross-city line (called the "Stadtbahn", "city railway"). The forming of a distinct identity for this network began with the establishment of a special tariff for the area which was then called the "Berliner Stadt-, Ring- und Vorortbahnen", and which differed from the normal railway tariff. While the regular railway tariff was based on multiplying the distance covered with a fixed price per kilometer, the special tariff for this Berlin tariff zone was based on a graduated tariff based on the number of stations touched during the travel.[4]

The resulting network is primarily above-ground but with some tunnels.


The core of this network, that is the cross-city ("Stadtbahn") East-West line and the circular Ringbahn, and several suburban branches were converted from steam operation to a third-rail electric railway in the latter half of the 1920s. The Wannsee railway, the suburban line with the highest number of passengers, was electrified in 1932/33. A number of suburban trains remained under steam, even after the Second World War.

Timeline of electrifications
Date Stretch Length
(in m)
01 July 1903 Potsdamer RingbahnhofLichterfelde Ost (550 V DC) 09,087
08 August 1924 Stettiner VorortbahnhofBernau 22,676
05 June 1925 GesundbrunnenBirkenwerder 18,019
04 October 1925 Birkenwerder – Oranienburg 07,765
16 March 1927 Schönholz-ReinickendorfVelten 21,162
11 June 1928 Potsdam – Stadtbahn – Erkner 57,168
10 July 1928 Wannsee – Stahnsdorf 04,135
23 August 1928 CharlottenburgSpandau West 09,279
06 November 1928 Charlottenburg – Südring – Grünau 25,883
NeuköllnWarschauer Straße 05,677
Schlesischer BahnhofKaulsdorf 11,258
01 February 1929 Charlottenburg – Nordring – Baumschulenweg 25,755
Frankfurter Allee – Warschauer Straße 00,580
Niederschöneweide-JohannisthalSpindlersfeld 03,972
18 April 1929 Potsdamer RingbahnhofPapestraße 03,440
Potsdamer Ringbahnhof – Ebersstraße 01,060
HalenseeWestend 02,713
02 July 1929 Potsdamer RingbahnhofLichterfelde Ost (conversion to 800 V DC) 09,087
18 December 1929 Jungfernheide – Gartenfeld 04,460
15 December 1930 Kaulsdorf – Mahlsdorf 01,366
15 May 1933 Potsdamer Wannseebahnhof – Wannsee 18,988
Potsdamer BahnhofZehlendorf Mitte (main line track) 11,960
Wannsee Railway–Zehlendorf Mitte mainline link 01,040
28 July 1936 Humboldthain – Unter den Linden 02,691
HeerstraßeReichssportfeld 01,467
15 April 1939 Unter den Linden – Potsdamer Platz 00,941
Priesterweg – Mahlow 11,595
09 October 1939 Potsdamer Platz – Großgörschenstraße 04,243
06 November 1939 Anhalter BahnhofYorckstraße 01,571
06 October 1940 Mahlow – Rangsdorf 07,396
08 September 1943 Lichterfelde Ost – Lichterfelde Süd 02,668

After the East-West cross-city line: the North-South link[edit]

After building the East-West cross-city line connecting western suburban lines, which until then terminated at Charlottenburg station with eastern suburban lines which terminated at Frankfurter Bahnhof (later Schlesischer Bahnhof), the logical next step was a North-South cross-city line connecting the northern suburban lines terminating at Stettiner Bahnhof with the southern suburban lines terminating at the substations of the Berlin Potsdamer Bahnhof. The first ideas for this project emerged only 10 years after the completion of the East-West cross-city line, with several concrete proposals resulting from a 1909 competition held by the Berlin city administration. Another concrete proposal, already very close to the final realisation, was put forth in 1926 by the Breslau university professor Jenicke.

The decision to build was taken in 1933, as part of the public works programme undertaken by the new Nazi government to reduce unemployment. Construction of this Nord-Süd-S-Bahn (North-South S-Bahn), as it was called, began in 1934, with a tunnel from Berlin Anhalter Bahnhof to Berlin Stettiner Bahnhof (today 'Nordbahnhof') as its core section. A first phase, from the north to Unter den Linden was opened just in time for the 1936 Berlin Olympics; the southern section, via Potsdamer Platz, opened the month after the Second World War began, in October 1939.

During and after World War II[edit]

Some Type 477 trains, built before World War II, remained in service until the early 21st century

Many sections of the S-Bahn were closed during the war owing to enemy action. The Nord-Süd-Bahn tunnel was flooded on 2 May 1945 by retreating SS troops during the final Battle of Berlin[citation needed]. The exact number of casualties is not known, but up to 200 people are presumed to have perished, since the tunnel was used as a public shelter and also served to house military wounded in trains on underground sidings. Service through the tunnel commenced again in 1947.

After hostilities ceased in 1945, Berlin was given special status as a "Four-Sector City," surrounded by the Soviet Occupation Zone, which later became the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Allies had decided that S-Bahn service in the western sectors of Berlin should continue to be provided by the Reichsbahn (DR), which was by now the provider of railway services in East Germany. (Rail services in West Germany proper were provided by the new Deutsche Bundesbahn.)

During the war, Berlin S-Bahn cars were overhauled at Luben to the east of Berlin. Since that town, now known as Lubin, was ceded to Poland under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement in 1945, 84 cars currently in the works were thus lost to Berlin. Further cars were sent east as war reparations, and eventually at least 287 cars were sent to the Soviet Union where they were converted for use in Moscow, Kiev, and Tallinn. Additionally at least 80 two-car sets were retained in Poland, where they were used on suburban services in the Gdańsk-Gdynia region until 1976. Some of the latter cars were then converted for use in overhead line maintenance trains, and some still exist in that role. One set is preserved in its Gdańsk-Gdynia condition at a museum at Kościerzyna near Gdynia.[5]

Cold War[edit]

As relations between East and West began to sour with the coming of the Cold War, the Berlin S-Bahn soon became a victim of the hostilities. Although services continued operating through all occupation sectors, checkpoints were constructed on the borders with East Berlin and on-board "customs checks" were carried out on trains. From 1958 onward, some S-Bahn trains ran non-stop through the western sectors from stations in East Berlin to stations on outlying sections in East Germany so as to avoid the need for such controls. East German government employees were then forbidden to use the S-Bahn since it travelled through West Berlin.

Alexanderplatz is an important transport hub in eastern Berlin

The western sectors of the city were physically cut off from East Germany on August 13, 1961, by what was later called the Berlin Wall, in a well-prepared plan to separate the two halves of the city – and at the same time, to divide the Berlin public transit network into two separate systems.

Stadtbahn services were curtailed from both directions at Friedrichstraße station. This station was divided into two physically separated areas, one for eastern passengers and one for westerners. Although the station lay within East Berlin, western passengers could transfer between S-Bahn lines or to the U-Bahn without passing through border checks, much like passengers changing planes at an international airport. The GDR also operated an Intershop in the portion of the station with services to and from West Berlin, where persons arriving from West Berlin (again without passing through border controls) could buy luxury goods such as tobacco and alcoholic beverages at discounted prices (compared to prices in West Berlin), provided they paid in hard currency, in part because Intershop customers did not pay West German taxes on their purchases. The West Berlin authorities were aware of this situation but did not impose stringent customs controls on such purchases out of political considerations. Friedrichstraße station also became the main entry point for train and U-Bahn passengers from West Berlin into East Berlin.

Similarly, selected sections on the Berlin S-Bahn together with the Ringbahn were cut at the borders of West and East Berlin; border fortifications such as a locked door were put up between the designated stations. These included:

  • Spandau West – Albrechtshof (West Berlin - East Germany), the remainder of the section was cut in 1969
  • Heiligensee – Hennigsdorf (West Berlin - East Germany), the remainder of the section (Hennigsdorf - Velten) was cut in 1984
  • Frohnau – Hohen Neuendorf (West Berlin - East Germany), the remainder of the section was extended in 1962
  • Lichtenrade – Mahlow (West Berlin - East Germany), the remainder of the section was cut in 1962
  • Lichterfelde Süd – Teltow (West Berlin - East Germany)
  • Wannsee – Stahnsdorf (West Berlin - East Germany)
  • Wannsee – Griebnitzsee (West Berlin - East Germany), the remainder of the section was cut in 1962
  • Gesundbrunnen – Schönhauser Allee (Ringbahn)
  • Bornholmer Straße – Pankow (the middle tracks were sealed with a fence, another compensatory track from Pankow to Schönhauser Allee was built as a result)
  • Sonnenallee – Treptower Park (Ringbahn)
  • Köllnische Heide – Baumschulenweg (Ringbahn)

DR and BVG had discussed separate arrangements for the Nord-Süd-Bahn by restricting travel to West Berliners only as it passed through the East Berlin territory in the city centre, and it did not stop at underground East Berlin S-Bahn stations, which were called ghost stations. Two armed guards were positioned at all ghost stations to ensure that no passengers jumped aboard trains or smashed windows to allow escape from East Berlin. Only some maintenance works on the Nord-Süd-Bahn were allowed between 1961 and 1989, and trains had to slow down to 60 km/h instead of the normal speed limit. Bornholmer Straße was also a ghost station, because the exits were only towards the border crossing.

Because the S-Bahn was operated by the DR, West Berliners vented their frustration at the building of the wall by boycotting the S-Bahn since its fares were seen as subsidising the communist regime in the East. "Keinen Pfennig mehr für Ulbricht," or "not a penny more for Ulbricht," became the S-Bahn opponents' chant. Within days of the Berlin Wall being built, the BVG, with assistance from other transit companies in West Germany, began providing "solidarity-with-Berlin buses" – new bus services that parallelled the S-Bahn lines and therefore provided an alternative. After many years of declining passenger use and difficult industrial relations between the West Berlin workforce and their East Berlin employers, most of the western portion of the S-Bahn was closed down on 11 September 1980 following a strike.

A 20-minute service was still provided on the Stadtbahn from Westkreuz to Friedrichstraße as well as services on the Nord-Süd-Bahn between Frohnau, Friedrichstraße, Lichtenrade, or Wannsee. After the strike, the only sections that were reopened were Frohnau to Lichtenrade, Helligensee to Lichterfelde Süd and Wannsee to Friedrichstraße on 22 September 1980. The following routes were also cut:

  • Gesundbrunnen – Jungfernheide – Westkreuz – Schöneberg – Sonnenallee / Köllnische Heide (reopening in 1993 to 2002)
  • Westkreuz – Olympiastadion – Spandau (reopening in 1999)
  • Spandau – Staaken
  • Jungfernheide – Gartenfeld (Siemensbahn)
  • Jungfernheide – Spandau
  • Zehlendorf – Düppel

By contrast, during the same period, services on the S-Bahn in East Berlin were increased and new lines built as housing projects expanded eastward from the city centre. With most of the U-Bahn located in West Berlin, the S-Bahn became the backbone of the East Berlin transit network.

The track system is a fully separated and independent rapid transport system within the city. Station: Anhalter Bahnhof

The 1980 incidents turned media and political attention toward what was left of West Berlin's S-Bahn network. The city government decided to enter negotiations with East Germany, which were finally successful. On January 9, 1984, the BVG took over responsibility for the operation of S-Bahn services in West Berlin. After further closures that same day, a limited service was restored, initially comprising only two short sections with no direct interchange between them. In the years between 1984 and 1989, several sections were gradually reopened, resulting in a network of 71 km (44 mi) and three lines – with one line running on the Stadtbahn and two on the Nord-Süd-Bahn – comprising about 50% of West Berlin's original network. This development brought West Berlin's S-Bahn back into public awareness and restored its popularity.

Until 1984, all Berlin S-Bahn routes were allocated letters as a means of identifying the route of the train. These letters were occasionally followed by Roman numerals to indicate a short working or bifurcation in the service (e.g., A, BI, BII, C,) and are still used internally by the Berlin S-Bahn GmbH for timetabling and in conjunction with radio call-signs to each train unit. When the BVG took over the responsibility for the operation of S-Bahn services in West Berlin in 1984, it introduced a new unified numbering scheme for both the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn, which it also operated. Existing U-Bahn route numbers were prefixed with the letter U, while the new S-Bahn route numbers were prefixed with the letter S. This system of numbering routes was used in other West German cities and was extended to the S-Bahn service for the whole city after reunification.


A modern S-Bahn train at Griebnitzsee

After the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, the first broken links were re-established, with Friedrichstraße on 1 July 1990, as the first. The BVG and DR jointly marketed the services soon after die Wende. Administratively, the divided S-Bahn networks remained separate in this time of momentous changes, encompassing German reunification and reunification of Berlin into a single city, although the dividing line was no longer the former Berlin Wall. DR and BVG (of the whole of reunified Berlin from 1 January 1992, after absorbing BVB of East Berlin) operated individual lines end to end, both into the other party's territories. For example, S2 was all BVG even after it was extended northward and southward into Brandenburg/former East German territory. The main east-west route (Stadtbahn) was a joint operation. Individual trains were operated by either BVG or DR end-to-end on the same tracks. This arrangement ended on 1 January 1994, with the creation of Deutsche Bahn due to the merger between DR and the former West Germany's Deutsche Bundesbahn. All S-Bahn operations in Berlin were transferred to the newly formed S-Bahn Berlin GmbH as a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, and the BVG withdrew from running S-Bahn services.

Technically, a number of projects followed in the steps of re-establishing broken links in order to restore the former S-Bahn network to its 1961 status after 1990, especially the Ringbahn. In December 1997 the connection between Neukölln and Treptower Park via Sonnenallee was reopened, enabling S4 trains to run 75% of the whole ring between Schönhauser Allee and Jungfernheide. On 16 June 2002, the section Gesundbrunnen – Westhafen also reopened, re-establishing the Ringbahn operations.

Date Stretch Length (in m) Notes
1 April 1992 Wannsee – Potsdam Stadt 08,968 Closed on 13 August 1961
31 May 1992 Frohnau – Hohen Neuendorf 04,176 Closed on 13 August 1961
31 August 1992 Lichenrade - Blankenfelde 05,750 Closed on 13 August 1961
17 December 1993 Westend – Baumschulenweg 18,344 Closed on 28 September 1980. (Westend – Köllnische Heide)
Closed on 13. August 1961 (Köllnische Heide – Baumschulenweg)
28 May 1995 Schönholz – Tegel 06,846 Closed on 9 January 1984.
Priesterweg – Lichterfelde Ost 03,979 Closed on 9 January 1984.
15 April 1997 Westend – Jungfernheide 02,227 Closed on 28 September 1980.
18 December 1997 Neukölln – Treptower Park 03,358 Closed on 28. September 1980 (Neukölln – Sonnenallee)

Closed on 13. August 1961 (Sonnenallee – Treptower Park)

16 January 1998 Westkreuz - Pichelsberg 04,774 Closed on 28 September 1980.
25 September 1998 Lichterfelde Ost – Lichterfelde Süd 02,668 Closed on 9 January 1984.
15 December 1998 Tegel – Hennigsdorf 08,302 Closed on 9 January 1984. (Tegel – Heiligensee)
Closed on 13. August 1961 (Heiligensee – Hennigsdorf)
30 December 1998 Pichelsberg – Spandau 04,146 Closed on 28 September 1980.
19 December 1999 Jungfernheide – Westhafen 03,146 Closed on 28 September 1980.
17 September 2001 Pankow – Gesundbrunnen 02,648 Closed on 13 August 1961 (Pankow – Bornholmer Straße)
Closed on 9 January 1984 (Bornholmer Straße – Gesundbrunnen)
Schönhauser Allee – Gesundbrunnen 01,783 Closed on 13 August 1961
Schönhauser Allee – Bornholmer Straße 01,688 New construction
15 June 2002 Westhafen – Gesundbrunnen 03,463 Closed on 28 September 1980.
24 February 2005 Lichterfelde Süd – Teltow 02,880 Closed on 13 August 1961, moved to Teltow Stadt.

Service reductions[edit]

On 20 July 2009, known locally as "Black Monday," the S-Bahn service was significantly reduced owing to safety checks on the trains ordered by the German Federal Railway Authority. These checks were ordered because of an accident on 3 May 2009, involving an S-Bahn train.[6] Maintenance for this train was delayed by 2 years, symptomatic for the strategy to cut spending in the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary.[7] Having so many trains taken out of service for inspection left less than 30 percent of the system's rolling stock available for revenue service. Eight routes, including most through services on the Stadtbahn, were closed, and on other lines headways were reduced to 20 minutes and trains shortened.[8]

Some minor restorations in service were made on 3 August 2009. Owing to new inspection troubles the S-Bahn network was again reduced dramatically on 8 September 2009 when 75% of the trains were withdrawn from service for inspection and faulty brake cylinders.[9] There were again no trains on the Stadtbahn between Westkreuz and Alexanderplatz and no S-Bahn trains to Spandau. Trains on the circle lines, S41 and S42, were running at 10-minute intervals. Other routes were running with extended intervals and reduced distances.[10]

In late 2009, the Berlin Senate expected that normal operations would only resume in 2013.[11] In January 2010, DB announced that they expected the system to resume normal service in December 2010 and employed 300 new staff in their workshops.[12] In the same month, the Berlin transport Senator Ingeborg Junge-Reyer rejected an extension of the traffic contract with the operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) which is due to expire in December 2017.

By spring of 2011, some 420 train sets were in service, a considerable improvement over the situation in 2009 but still insufficient compared to the 500 needed to provide a normal full service. The S-Bahn announced it was to invest €120 million to achieve the goal of 500 train sets in service by December 2011.[13] Rüdiger Grube, the head of the DB, announced that losses due to the S-Bahn crisis had reached €370 million at the end of 2010. He expected them to reach €700 million by the end of 2014, with no operating profits to be made before the end of the contract in December 2017.[14]

MTR Corporation, National Express Group, Berlin S-Bahn GmbH and RATP Development had tendered for their procurement process, and were soon followed by train manufacturer Stadler Rail for their operations from 2018 to 2033. The specific contracts are:

Ringbahn -

  • S41 Südkreuz - Südkreuz (clockwise Ring)
  • S42 Südkreuz - Südkreuz (anticlockwise Ring)
  • S46 Berlin Main Station - Westend - Königs Wusterhausen
  • S47 Spindlersfeld – Südkreuz, and
  • S8 Hohen Neuendorf - Zeuthen

Stadtbahn -

  • S3 Erkner - Ostkreuz
  • S5 Spandau - Strausberg-Nord
  • S7 Ahrensfelde - Wannsee
  • S75 Wartenberg - Westkreuz
  • S9 Berlin-Schönefeld - Pankow

Nord-Süd Bahn -

  • S1 Potsdam - Oranienburg
  • S2 Blankenfelde - Bernau
  • S25 Teltow Stadt - Hennigsdorf
  • S45 Berlin-Schönefeld - Südkreuz
  • S85 Grünau - Waidmannslust

Infrastructure work[edit]

Starting in 2010, DB Netz is replacing mechanical train stops on the S-Bahn network with electronic balises.[15] The track-side installation of new ZBS train control system shall be completed in 2015 whereas there is migration phase for train operation up to 2025.

Rolling stock[edit]


  • BVG Class 480 (since 1986, in use on lines S41, S42, and S8)
  • DB Class 481/482 (since 1996, in use on all lines, but also occasionally on lines S3, S46, S47 and S8)
  • DR Class 485/885 (since 1987, in use on lines S46, S47, S75, and S9)


  • DR Class ET 125 (from 1935 until 2003)
  • DR Class ET 165 (from 1928 until 1997)
  • DR Class ET 166 (from 1936 until 2000)
  • DR Class ET 167 (from 1938 until 2003)
  • DR Class ET 168 (from 1926 until about 1962, some units converted to train type EIII for the Berlin U-Bahn)
  • DR Class ET 169 (from 1925 until 1962)
  • DR Class ET 170 (from 1959 until 1970)

Excursion trains[edit]

  • DB Class 488.0 (Panorama train, converted from former DB Class ET 167 coaches from 1997-1999)
  • Museum train Class ET/ES 165
  • Tradition train Class ET/ES/EB 165
  • Viertel train Class ET/EB 167 (built in 1938, converted in 1991)


Redevelopment projects[edit]


Demolition of the southern curve in 2008

In 1988, Deutsche Reichsbahn presented plans for the transformation of Ostkreuz station. The long postponed renovation of the station began in 2007.

With nine lines (four on the Stadtbahn and five on the Ringbahn), Ostkreuz is one of the busiest stations on the network. Since the reconstruction is taking place during full operations, it is not known when it will be completed. Deutsche Bahn expects it to be finished in 2016.

With the progress of construction work on 31 August 2009, the southern connection and platform A were decommissioned. This route had to be realigned as a result. The construction plans envisaged that the connection would be restored by 2014. After its completion, traffic will again be able to be run from the southern Ringbahn onto the Stadtbahn.

In October 2009, the new Regionalbahn station on the Ringbahn was sufficiently complete for S-Bahn trains on the Ringbahn to use it temporarily. Demolition of the Ringbahn platform could then start and the new platform, including a concourse, could be built. This was put into operation on 16 April 2012, after a 16-day possession.[16]

Berlin–Görlitz railway (Baumschulenweg–Grünauer Kreuz)[edit]

Renewal of the Görlitz Railway bridge over the Teltow Canal, November 2009

Rehabilitation work at Grünauer Kreuz on the Berlin–Görlitz railway began on 12 July 2006.[17][18] In 2010 and 2011, rebuilt stations were put into operation in several stages at Baumschulenweg and Adlershof and the bridges over the Britz Canal and the Teltow Canal were replaced. During the reconstruction, the platform at Adlershof was relocated directly above Rudower Chaussee (street).[19][20]

Other major construction projects are planned along the route:

  • Rebuilding of Schöneweide station, including the construction of a new road underpass
  • Replacement of bridges over Sterndamm (street)
  • Construction of additional electronic interlocking equipment along the route
  • Conversion of Wildau station
  • Renewal of the mainline tracks and the re-establishment of the overhead contact line system

New lines[edit]

Berlin-Schönefeld Airport-Berlin Brandenburg Airport extension[edit]

In preparation for the opening of Berlin-Brandenburg Airport in Schönefeld in the south of Berlin, the S-Bahn line will be extended from the current terminus at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport in a long curve to the new terminal. Directly below the not yet opened terminal, Berlin Brandenburg, a station has been built with six platform tracks. Four through platform tracks are provided for long-distance services. Two tracks are being built for the S-Bahn on the approach from the west. In early July 2008, the first 185-metre-long section of the station was completed so that the terminal could be built. On 24 July 2009, the airport company transferred the completed shell of the airport railway station and the first part of the tunnel to DB.[21] The new line includes the stations of Waßmannsdorf and Berlin Brandenburg Airport and has a length of approximately 7.8 kilometres.[21][22] The construction cost was specified as €636 million. This amount also included the cost of construction of long-distance tracks.[21]

Planning of line S21 (Second Nord-Süd Bahn: first stage)[edit]

Template:Berlin S21 The second Nord-Süd Bahn will link the northern ring to the Hauptbahnhof, Potsdamer Platz station and the Wannsee Railway to the southern ring. Today's plans are almost identical to plans submitted to the 1907-1910 Greater Berlin competition by Albert Sprickerhof.[24] Since then, there have been a number of alternatives proposals for such a route. A similar line was included in the plans for Welthauptstadt Germania ("World Capital Germania") in the 1930s.[25]

The line will be built in sections. In 2005, the zoning approval for the northern part of the route from the Ringbahn to Hauptbahnhof was adopted.[26] In October 2009 a loan agreement was entered into between the Senate and Deutsche Bahn for the first section. This provided for total costs of €226.5 million. On 27 November 2009, the preparatory work for this phase of construction started at the Hauptbahnhof. For the underground excavation in Invalidenstrasse, diaphragm walls were built into the ground and the trench in between was covered with a reinforced concrete lid.[27][28][29]

This stage involves the construction of a curve to the Westhafen and an eastern connection to Wedding inside the northern Ringbahn. Structural preparation for these junctions to these lines had already been made during the construction of the North–South mainline in 2006. From there, the existing line will run in a southerly direction (in the tunnel layer) to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof east of the North–South mainline. The realization of an intermediate station under the working name of Perleberger Brücke (as a two-level station in a V-shape) is provided as an option. It is proposed to build this 1,600-meter-long section by 2016.[30]

Planning of line S21 (Second Nord-Süd Bahn: second stage)[edit]

The construction of the second section of the S21 is to begin no earlier than 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2023. The new S-Bahn line will run in a tunnel from near the Hauptbahnhof past the Reichstag to Potsdamer Platz. It will run next to the existing Nord-Süd Tunnel to Brandenburg Gate and separate from it to run to Potsdamer Platz. The first north-south S-Bahn tunnel was designed in 1939 with room for an additional two tracks at Potsdamer Platz and to its south for the new line. The cost of the S-Bahn line (phases 1 and 2) has been estimated at €317 million (2009 prices).[27] The benefits of additional expenditure to the east of the Reichstag are still under investigation. This would increase the cost to about €330 million.

There are currently no dates set for the other phases of construction to the southern Ringbahn. It has so far only been defined in the Berlin land use plan.[31]

Proposals for further extensions[edit]

Since reunification, there have been suggestions that lines that have not been used since 1961 or 1980 should be rebuilt and connected to the network by some new lines. Many of these plans have changed several times since then or have been abandoned.

Following a decision of the Berlin House of Representatives, the goal is essentially to restore the S-Bahn network to its extent in 1961. This was stated in an agreement between Deutsche Bahn, the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Senate on 4 November 1993.[32] The network was to be restored by 2002. On this basis, the plans were included in the land use plan of 1995. In a study of the transport development by the then Department for Transport and Commerce in 1995, a plan was published for a network. Only the Jungfernheide–Stresow, Spandau–Staaken and Zehlendorf–Düppel sections, which had existed until 1980, were not incorporated in these plans. This political commitment is now only symbolic as some projects are now aimed at points beyond the original destinations or to miss them entirely. Budgetary difficulties, changing traffic flows and alternative development projects using Regionalbahn trains have led to the cancellation or postponement of projects that had already been developed.


See also[edit]



External links[edit]


Template:Public transport in Berlin Template:S-Bahn systems in Germany Template:Urban public transport in Germany