Nuremberg U-Bahn

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Nuremberg U-Bahn
Locale Nuremberg
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 3[1][2]
Number of stations 48[1][2]
Daily ridership 410,000[3]
Website VAG Nürnberg
Began operation 1972
Operator(s) VAG Nürnberg
System length 37.1 km (23.1 mi)[2]
Electrification 750 Volts[1]
Average speed 33.4 mph (53.8 km/h)[1]
System map
U-, S-Bahn and tramway network in Nuremberg

The Nuremberg U-Bahn is a metro run by Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft Nürnberg (or Nuremberg Transport Corporation), which itself is a member of the VGN (Verkehrsverbund Großraum Nürnberg or Greater Nuremberg Transport Network). The Nuremberg U-Bahn is Germany's newest metro, having begun operation in 1972. In 2008, driverless and fully automated trains were introduced on the new U3 line, making it Germany's first automatic U-Bahn line. The current network of the Nuremberg U-Bahn is composed of three lines, serving 48 stations, and comprising 37.1 kilometres (23.1 mi) of operational route, making it the shortest of the four metro systems in Germany behind Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.[2] Its DT1 vehicles are largely the same design as the A cars found on the Munich U-Bahn, and both transport companies once lent each other trainsets as reserve rolling stock for major events (such as the Munich Olympics) at the time when both systems were quite new. Such swaps are now no longer possible, as the rolling stock on each system have developed in ways that would require modification for use on the other system. The newer Nuremberg trains (the DT3, for example) are incompatible with the Munich system.


Plans for a subway in Nuremberg go back to 1925, when Nuremberg graduate engineer Oscar Freytag spoke out in favor of building a subway under Fürther Straße. This was not to replace the parallel tram according to the then ideas, but complemented as a quick connection. In addition, it should be extended over the Plärrer along the Frauentorgrabens to Nuremberg Central Station. At that time, however, the project failed because of the high technical complexity and the costs. The first real forerunners of a subway came in 1938 during the Nazi era, when the tram routes were buried under Allersberger Strasse and Bayernstrasse. These still existing facilities were built to not disturb the streetcar by the deployment columns of the SS barracks and the masses of visitors of the rallies held on the adjacent Nazi party rally grounds in their operations.

Only after the Second World War and with the onset of the economic miracle and the increasing motorization of the population were new plans for a sub-paved tram set up. The suggestion of the Ulm professor Max-Erich Feuchtinger to move the streetcar between Plärrer and main station under the earth, rejected the Nuremberg city council on 19 March 1958. In 1962, the city council commissioned the Stuttgart traffic scientist Professor Walther Lambert to prepare an opinion on the future of Nuremberg public transport. The "Lambert report" with the recommendation to build a sub-paved tram was in 1963 before, and so the city council decided on April 24, 1963 to their construction with the option of a later conversion to full metro.

On November 24, 1965, the city council revised its decision of 1963 and decided to build a classic subway. This was preceded by a personal statement by Hans von Hanffstengel, head of the Nuremberg city planning office, on the opinion of Professor Lambert. Hanffstengel spoke out against the temporary solution of an underground tram and demanded the direct construction of a full underground. He was supported indirectly by the federal government, which offered a participation in the construction costs of 50%, and the then Bavarian Prime Minister Alfons Goppel, who assured the financial equality of the Nuremberg subway plans with those of the state capital. Practical reasons, however, were the necessary closure of the entire line during a conversion for a period of several years.


Modell „P“
Modell „Q“
Modell „R“
Modell „S“

Initial considerations for a subway network already existed after the City Council decision of 1965, but concrete Grundnetz planning began only in the late 1960s after the adoption of the land-use plan of 1969. The first subway axis was at this time already under construction and thus included in all variants. It will connect the newly emerging satellite town of Langwasser via the main station, the old town and the Plärrer with Fürth and follows essentially the former tram line 1. For the other lines were the connection of the destinations airport, Meistersingerhalle, Municipal Hospital (today: Klinikum Nord ) and Tiergarten, the large-scale development of the urban area with as few stops as possible as well as a simple expansion of the network in urban area enlargements made a condition. All these considerations eventually led to a large number of network proposals, of which the models P, Q, R and S most closely approximated the specifications.

In the model "P" all lines are aligned to the main station as a central hub, which at the same time the advantage - bundling all means of transport (U- and S-Bahn, ZOB) at one point - the model is. The disadvantage is the difficult because of the surrounding buildings structural engineering execution of the intersection station Hauptbahnhof and the route Hauptbahnhof - Plärrer. The lines would be as follows:

  • U1: Langwasser – Hauptbahnhof – Altstadt – Plärrer – Fürth
  • U2: Flughafen – Rathenauplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Opernhaus – Plärrer – Gebersdorf
  • U3: Tiergarten – Hauptbahnhof – Opernhaus – Röthenbach
  • U4: Thon – Rathenauplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Opernhaus – Plärrer – Wetzendorf

The "Q" model is based on a new settlement axis between Nuremberg and Fürth along the Willstraße and new road tangents to be served by the U3 line. Positive effects are attributed to this network model for the development of the new settlement axis, negative could be the transfer links from the U3 to the city center and the supply of defective trains to the depots. The line network would look like this:

  • U1: Langwasser – Aufseßplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Altstadt – Plärrer – Gostenhof – Fürth
  • U2: Flughafen – Rathenauplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Steinbühl – Röthenbach
  • U3: Tiergarten – Aufseßplatz – Steinbühl – Schlachthof – Gostenhof – St. Johannis – Rathenauplatz – Erlenstegen
  • U4: Gebersdorf – Schlachthof – Gostenhof – St. Johannis – Wetzendorf

In the model "R", the three main lines intersect in the points Aufseßplatz, Hauptbahnhof and Plärrer and thus correspond to the classic network concept, the u. a. was also applied in Munich. An advantage would be a uniform utilization and development potential of all lines, as a disadvantage could arise unwanted settlement developments along the U3 north direction Thon and the U5 South direction Gartenstadt. The lines would be as follows:

  • U1: Langwasser – Aufseßplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Altstadt – Plärrer – Gostenhof – Fürth
  • U2: Flughafen – Rathenauplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Plärrer – Gostenhof – Schlachthof – Röthenbach
  • U3: Tiergarten – Aufseßplatz – Steinbühl – Plärrer – Gostenhof – St. Johannis – Thon
  • U4: Erlenstegen – Rathenauplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Plärrer – Gostenhof – Schlachthof – Gebersdorf
  • U5: Gartenstadt – Steinbühl – Plärrer – Gostenhof – St. Johannis – Wetzendorf

In the model "S" all lines run independently of each other and only intersect at the stations Aufseßplatz, Friedrich-Ebert-Platz, Hauptbahnhof, Rathenauplatz, Plärrer, Steinbühl and Schlachthof. The advantage is that there are no shared sections of the route and thus no delayed delays on one line. As a disadvantage, the frequent Umsteigevorgänge be considered that the passengers z. B. would have to take on a ride from Erlenstegen to Zerzabelshof. The lines would have been as follows in this model:

  • U1: Langwasser – Aufseßplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Altstadt – Plärrer – Fürth
  • U2: Flughafen – Rathenauplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Plärrer – Schlachthof – Röthenbach
  • U3: Gebersdorf – Schlachthof – Steinbühl – Aufseßplatz – Tiergarten
  • U4: Thon – Friedrich-Ebert-Platz – Plärrer – Steinbühl – Gartenstadt
  • U5: Erlenstegen – Rathenauplatz – Friedrich-Ebert-Platz – Wetzendorf
The Master Plan

In the end, the model R turned out to be the most useful of the four models in terms of urban planning, operational engineering and development possibilities. It was slightly modified and formed the basis of the adopted on September 8, 1971 by the City Council "Nuremberg General Transit Plan" (GNVP). The planned subway network should thereafter be out of the three main lines, from which the lines U2 and U3 should receive branching possibilities at the stations Friedrich-Ebert-Platz (direction Thon), Rathenauplatz (direction Erlenstegen), Steinbühl (direction Gartenstadt) and Schlachthof (direction Gebersdorf).

  • U1: Langwasser – Aufseßplatz – Hauptbahnhof – Altstadt – Plärrer – Fürth (under construction)
  • U2: Stein – Schlachthof – Plärrer – Hauptbahnhof – Rathenauplatz – Flughafen
  • U3: Wetzendorf – Friedrich-Ebert-Platz – Plärrer – Steinbühl – Aufseßplatz – Tiergarten

One point of criticism is the insufficient consideration of the territories incorporated into the GNVP on July 1, 1972, since subway planning was only slightly adapted to the new settlements.


On 20 March 1967, German transport minister Georg Leber and Nuremberg Oberbürgermeister ("Lord Mayor") Andreas Urschlechter had the honour of "striking the first blow" for the new metro. This was done in Bauernfeindstraße when they triggered the pile driver.

On 1 March 1972, the first 3.7-kilometre (2.3 mi) stretch of the system opened, U1 Langwasser Süd to Bauernfeindstraße. Over the next few years, further stretches of U1 were opened. Uniquely, the metro was built "from the outside in", starting in the rather outlying area of Langwasser before reaching the historical core and the central train station.

On 28 January 1984, Nuremberg's second U-Bahn line, U2, went into service between Plärrer and Schweinau. This line, too, underwent further extensions, eventually even reaching the airport in 1999.

In 2004, 6 Munich A cars were bought by VAG to supplement its own rolling stock fleet. However, owing to the divergence in specifications between the Nuremberg and Munich systems, it turned out that the old Munich stock could not be coupled with Nuremberg stock. As a result, it was not possible to compose trains using both types, although they can at least run on the same tracks. VAG left the Munich stock in its old white and blue Munich livery, reasoning that it was not worth repainting in Nuremberg livery, given that it was approaching the end of its service life.

On 4 December 2004, a new 1.3-kilometre (0.81 mi) section of U1 opened in Fürth, stretching from Stadthalle station to Klinikum station. On 8 December 2007, U1 was further extended to Fürth Hardhöhe.

On 14 June 2008, the newest U-Bahn line, U3, opened for service.[4] U3 extended in 2017 with Nordwestring being the latest station to open, but further expansions are already underway along that line.


Network map
Line map

The U-Bahn network comprises three lines,[1] covering about 39 kilometres (24 mi) of network route[1] of which 35 kilometres (22 mi) is operational route.[2] The network serves 46 stations[1][2] which can all be reached by lift, something that makes the system unique in Germany. Another thing that makes this system special is the use of "firm track" (i.e. with rails fastened to a solid trackbed, rather than to sleepers on ballast) in almost all tunnels, although not at Langwasser Mitte (U1) and the adjoining tunnel up to just before Gemeinschaftshaus. Also, ballast is still used on the inbound track, at the entrance to Schoppershof station (U2).

Line Route Opened Length Stations
U 1 Fürth HardhöheLangwasser Süd 1972–2007 18.5 km (11.5 mi) 27
U 2 Flughafen/AirportRöthenbach 1984–1999 13.2 km (8.2 mi) 16
U 3 Gustav-Adolf-StraßeNordwestring 2008–2017 8.1 km (5.0 mi) 13


Fürth Hardhöhe ←→ Langwasser Süd

Within Fürth there are seven U-Bahn stations: Stadtgrenze (partly within Nuremberg, partly within Fürth – indeed the station's name means "city boundary" – but assigned to and run by Nuremberg), Jakobinenstraße, Fürth Hauptbahnhof, Rathaus, Stadthalle, Klinikum and Hardhöhe.

The planned extension to Kieselbühl is now in question, because the expected developments in this area are partially cancelled.


Nuremberg Airport ←→ Röthenbach

The airport connection makes Nuremberg the only city in Germany with a direct subway link to an airport since the closing of Berlin Tempelhof Airport.[5]

In 1984, a new section on the line U2 named Plärrer–Schweinau began operation. At first the trains ran by day as line U21 (not to be confused with the current U21) by way of Weißer Turm and Lorenzkirche to Aufseßplatz or Langwasser Süd. Since 1988, the line has run as U2 by way of Opernhaus to Hauptbahnhof (Nuremberg Main Railway Station). After further extensions in 1990, 1993 and 1996, U2 reached its current terminus at the airport in 1999.

In September 2009 the first driverless trains ran in passenger service on line U2. Four out of the eight trains in service on the line moved to automatic control, with the aim of full automation by January 2010.[6] As of 2018 automaton of lines 2 and 3 is complete but it is not planned to automate line 1.


Gustav-Adolf-Straße ←→ Nordwestring

The latest U-Bahn line, U3, was opened on 14 June 2008. This line uses the U2 tunnel between Rathenauplatz and Rothenburger Straße and diverts north of Rathenauplatz to the northwest and south of Rothenburger Straße to the southwest of Nuremberg. The U3 line has fully automatic operation without drivers.

Each of the stations along U3 route has tubes resembling yellow fluorescent light tubes running the length of the platform. These tubes emit radar waves and monitor the track for any fallen obstacles. If an object or person falls into the track, automatic brakes on trains are triggered.

On 30 October 2008, the first accident resulting in a death occurred at Rathenauplatz station. A passenger fell onto the track as a driverless train approached the platform. The train was unable to halt in time because of the short distance to the fallen passenger and limitations of its braking system. Even if the same incident had occurred with a manually operated train, the driver would not have been able to halt in time, either.

The U3 line was extended from Maxfeld to Kaulbachplatz and Friedrich-Ebert-Platz stations on 11 December 2011. The further extension to Klinikum Nord and Nordwestring stations is completed, and the service to the new terminus station started on 22 May 2017.[7] Further extensions towards Großreuth are under construction along the Southern end of the line and already shown with dashed lines or a lighter color on official schedules and network plans.

Former services[edit]

Nuremberg U-Bahn train type DT1
Nuremberg U-Bahn train type DT2

To increase passenger capacity on the central parts of the subway, additional trains were scheduled which reversed before the line terminus and ran through only the central areas of Nuremberg. Service on both of those routes were discontinued in May 2017, when an extension of the U3 line opened to Nordwestring and gone up into the main route. To reduce passenger confusion these trains were assigned a different line designation (line number):

Line Route Opened Length Stations Service ended
U 11 EberhardshofMesse 1972–2007 8.1 km (5.033 mi) 14 2017
U 21 RöthenbachZiegelstein 1984–1999 11.0 km (6.835 mi) 15 2017



U11 service ran on the U1 line between Eberhardshof and Messe most of the day, adding passenger capacity between Nuremberg main station, the car-free main shopping district and the Plärrer.



U21 trains ran only from Röthenbach to Ziegelstein on the U2. Since the single-track tunnel between Ziegelstein and Flughafen ("Airport") could only accommodate a train frequency of 400 seconds at the time (or roughly one train every 6​23 minutes), only every second train during the day ran to the airport (Flughafen), while the other trains reversed at Ziegelstein. On the way back all trains were designated as U2 since they all run to Röthenbach, and therefore indicating whether trains originated from Ziegelstein or Flughafen was meaningless to passengers.

Further extensions[edit]


Fürth Kieselbühl

With the Fürth Hardhöhe station, the U1 has reached its provisional end point after 40 years. Whether the Fürth Kieselbühl station northwest of the Hardhöhe is still to be built depends heavily on the financial power of the city of Fürth and on the development of this district. The area is designated in the land use plan as a commercial area. If the area was to be developed in the future, an extension of the subway could take place in connection with the construction of a park-and-ride facility.

Nuremberg University

With the decision in 2017 that Nuremberg should become a university city, policy planning for a metro station "University" was determined. The subway stop is planned in the Brunecker Strasse industrial area, between the stations Hasenbuck and Bauernfeindstraße, where the university and the new Nuremberg Lichtenreuth district are planned.

Branch Scharfreiterring

Also in discussion is a possible branch of the subway from the station Scharfreiterring to Klinikum Nürnberg-Süd. Possible intermediate stops would be Thomas Mann Street and Gliwice Street.


With the opening of the route to the airport station, the U2 Nuremberg city area is completed.


In order to open up a planned industrial area, construction work was carried out on the construction of the tunnel for a Marienberg station between the brick and airport stations.

Branch northeast station

In the current planning of the policy a branch is desired starting from the station north-east station, so that the industrial estate can be connected to the Nordostpark. Subsequent stops would be Schafhof and Nordostpark.

Branch High Marter

Another program is the planning of a branch on the Hohen Marter, which should run in a southerly direction to Reichelsdorf. Possible stops would be Röthenbach-Ost, Jägerstraße, Eibach-Mitte, Eibach-Süd, Einsteinring and Reichelsdorf-Nord. This project has been criticized by experts so far, because the already existing traffic could not be reduced by the already similar running S-Bahn and bus lines.

U3 Nord (Northern branch)[edit]

The northern branch (U3 Nord) diverts from the U2 tunnel north of Rathenauplatz to run west under the northern quarters of Nuremberg. This branch will consist of 5 stations, of which three stations (Maxfeld, Kaulbachplatz and Friedrich-Ebert-Platz) have been completed until December 2011. The last two stations (Klinikum Nord and the terminus station Nordwestring) have been completed in December 2016 and were opened for service in May 2017, thus completing this branch. As of 2017 there are no plans or proposals to further extend this branch.

U3 Süd (Southern branch)[edit]

Station Gustav-Adolf-Straße with DT3 units at the platform

The southern branch (U3 Süd) diverts from the U2 tunnel south of Rothenburger Straße and runs to the west as well. Two stations of this branch (Sündersbühl and Gustav-Adolf-Straße) have been completed. The precise alignment of this branch and the location of further stations after Gustav-Adolf-Straße are still to be determined. The terminus of this branch, to be opened around 2017 or later, will be Gebersdorf Nord near the station Fürth Süd, a former station of the abandoned Bibertbahn railway at a busy street intersection south of Fürth's city limits. Further expansion beyond is under consideration on the right of way of the abandoned Bibertbahn railway into Zirndorf and possibly beyond. As of 2017, a new station called "Großreuth bei Schweinau" is under construction with service scheduled to start 2019. Further extensions are planned after that but exact routing is not yet fully clear.

Extensions to the rural district of Fürth[edit]

Possible extensions to the U2 and U3 are currently in competition with each other. For cost reasons, only one of the two projects will be implemented.

Extension of the U2 from Röthenbach to Stein was part of the network plans dating from the 1970s. A profitability study from 1994 reported a cost-benefit factor of 0.33, thus not reaching the target of at least 1 that was required for funding, although that study examined only the subsection from Röthenbach to the planned end point in Deutenbach. [8] In 1997, the Zweckverband Verkehrsverbund Greater Nuremberg (ZVGN) commissioned the engineering firm Intraplan Consult to carry out another study, this time for the section from Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof to Deutenbach. This study yielded a cost-benefit factor of 1.7 at an estimated total construction cost of 159.01 million euros (311 million D-Mark) [9] On that basis, the extension of the U2 was decided by the Nuremberg City Council. The Stein authorities were also in favour of the construction, in order to reduce traffic on the B14 road, but could not afford their share of the construction costs (over 1 million D-Mark) and the operating costs.[9] The automation of the U2, which has since commenced, would provide a new opportunity for extension to the neighboring city, which both cities are still interested in. With this in mind, ZVGN prepared a new study to investigate the impact of automatic operation on operating and maintenance costs. After the U3 extension to Zirndorf was rejected by referendum, the mayor of Stein, Kurt Krömer, called for a rapid investigation of the U2 extension parallel to the remaining U3 extension in the direction of Oberasbach / Leichendorf, to avoid missing the opportunity of obtaining subsidies under the Municipal Transport Financing Act that would expire in 2013.

When the results of the study were presented on September 23, 2013, however, the conclusion was that the chances of a benefit-cost indicator of at least +1.0 were small.

In 2013, the plans for the extension to Stein were shelved by the traffic committee of the Fürth rural district council. there was criticism because the profitability study examined only the new section from Stein to Röthenbach, not up to Plärrer in Nuremberg.

Current political planning includes only one additional station, "Schloss Stein " (Stein Castle).

In the press conference held on March 23, 2010, it was announced that there would be no extension of the U3 to Oberasbach.[10] Laut Gutachten[11] According to the report neither of the two alternatives (a tunnel under the Rothenburger Straße to Oberasbach Süd with a cost-benefit factor of 0.44 or an above-ground route following the old Bibertbahn railway to Oberasbach Nord with a negative cost-benefit factor of -0.04) achieved the legally required 1.0. [10][12]

DT3 units[edit]

Nuremberg U-Bahn train type DT3
U-Bahn station Opernhaus

Thirty new train units (named DT3) were ordered and have been delivered for U3 operations. Those trains are designed to operate without a driver, controlled by an ATC system from Siemens, and will provide the passengers with an unobstructed view from the front window into the tunnel. A normally locked drivers panel exists at every front window which enables service employees to drive DT3 units by hand if required. As with all Nuremberg subway trains, these units consist of two carriages and are half the platform length. They can be run as a single unit (short train) or coupled as double unit (long train), depending on passenger numbers. For the first time in a Nuremberg subway train, the two carriages of a unit are built with an accessible gangway. This is intended to improve passenger distribution in the train as many stations in the system have their exits at the very ends of the platform and therefore often the first and the last carriages of a 4 carriage (long) train are rather full, while the two middle carriages are relatively empty.

ATC and driverless trains[edit]

The ATC system is derived from Deutsche Bahn's Linienzugbeeinflussung (LZB), with additional parts added for door control and other safety systems. It works by transmitting data from the train to the interlocking station through two cables installed in the track between the rails. About one year after the U3 line has entered service, it is intended to convert U2 line to full ATC operations; however, during the first year there will be mixed traffic of ATC-run driverless DT3 units on U3 courses and conventionally run DT1 and DT2 units on U2 and U21 courses between Rathenauplatz and Rothenburger Straße. This has not been done anywhere before and therefore the ATC system had to be specifically designed and developed to allow for this mixed operation mode. All train operations will be automated, including normal operation, coupling and uncoupling of two DT3 units in storage tracks as well as at platforms, moving trains from and to storage tracks as well as reversing trains at platforms and in storage tracks.

Day-to-day operations will be handled rather like those of Docklands Light Railway, with service employees riding in some trains to watch out for disruptive passengers and unusual occurrences and to supply information to passengers. Unlike the DLR however, not every train will be accompanied by a service employee, and again unlike the DLR, service employees have no task in the actual operation of the train. Hence the grade of automation is mixed between GoA 3 - Driverless, and GoA 4 - Unattended Train Operation (UTO). Doors close automatically, supervised by light barriers and pressure-sensitive door edges. Only in the case of service disruptions will a service employee take over the task of driving the train. For this purpose, all service employees are fully trained drivers.

There were many reasons for choosing an automated, driverless system:

  • First was the demand to reduce operation cost by eliminating the driver. There will be no layoffs even after the full conversion of the U2 line to ATC operations, since existing drivers will be trained as service employees, but no new personnel will be hired for the operation of the new line. VAG expects to improve line safety and passenger satisfaction by this change, since former drivers who were behind a door and busy with the operation of the train are now becoming service employees. They now become available to passengers inside the carriages and on platforms to look out for disruptions and possible crime, thus increasing the subjective security, and to supply information and answer questions, helping passengers find their way.
  • Another reason was the improved capacity of the U2 tunnel that was needed to accommodate the U3 traffic. Current subway lines in Nuremberg are built for a train frequency of 200 seconds or 3​13 minutes (sole exception: Ziegelstein-Flughafen: 400 seconds), which is already fully used on the U1 during the day and on the U2 during morning rush hour. With the new ATC system in place, additional (virtual) blocks will exist between stationary block signals, thus increasing line capacity to a train frequency of 100 seconds. However, these new blocks can only be used by ATC-operated trains since they are virtual and have no stationary signal associated with them that can be observed by a driver-operated train without ATC equipment. Thus the increased line capacity can only be effectively used after the U2 has been converted to full ATC operation.
  • For the creation of a new ATC system accommodating mixed ATC and non-ATC traffic federal grants and subsidies were awarded, offsetting some of the additional cost.
  • ATC-controlled trains in storage tracks can be activated instantly, making it possible for the line controller to put additional trains into passenger service at a moment's notice when he observes unexpected increases in passenger numbers.

Passenger Safety[edit]

All DT3 units are equipped with passenger intercom panels near every door in addition to the standard emergency brakes and emergency door release handles. Controllers can access CCTV cameras in every unit from the control centre through a Wireless LAN link installed in all tunnels that are used by DT3 trains. Flame-retardant materials are used wherever possible. Temperature sensors and smoke detectors are spread throughout every unit in the passenger space and in every underfloor machinery compartment to detect possible fires as early as possible. Circuit integrity retaining electrical cables (cables that can keep their insulation for a certain time in the presence of fire) are used to allow a unit to proceed to the next station in case of a fire. German regulations mandate that all subway trains must not stop inside a tunnel after the emergency brake has been pulled or if any other hazard like a fire is detected, but instead should proceed to the next station if possible to ease rescue operations. Since the longest travel time between two stations on the Nuremberg U-Bahn is about 3 Minutes (between Ziegelstein and Flughafen) and most stations are less than 60 seconds apart, this is deemed a superior option to stopping inside a tunnel, where evacuation, rescue and firefighting attempts would be much more difficult than on a station platform.

German regulations mandate some means to stop a train if a person or large object should fall onto the track. Installing doors between track and platform (like on Paris's Météor Line) would have been the superior solution, but since 6 stations which were already in full operation (the section Rathenauplatz to Rothenburger Straße) needed to be converted, fitting doors to the platform edges would have led to severe service disruptions and station closures. Another problem would have been that the conventionally run trains would have had to be stopped within an area of a few centimeters by the driver, which would have been difficult. Therefore, platform doors were out of the question. After tests with laser light barriers (from the station ceiling to the platform edge) at Plärrer, a combination of CCTV cameras overlooking the track bed and radio frequency barriers between from under the platform edge to the opposing wall were chosen and installed at all stations served by U3. The RF barriers will detect persons and objects falling onto the track. In such a case the ATC will stop any approaching trains on that track immediately and alert the control centre, from where an operator can visually inspect the trackbed at the platform over CCTV and then take the appropriate action.

Technical Problems leading to a 2-year delay[edit]

Construction of the line started in 2003, with the DT3 units ordered in the same year, and opening of the initial line segment from Maxfeld to Gustav-Adolf-Straße had been scheduled for early 2006 to be operational for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Initially it was thought by Siemens and VAG that development, testing and certification of the ATC components could be conducted during those 3 years in parallel to the construction of the line, at first in simulations and, after the first DT3 units had been delivered, on a test track at the Langwasser Depot, and that the new line could enter service immediately after the tunnels and stations were built. However, in 2005 news was published that ATC development was not progressing as planned and that the opening would have to be postponed by one year to late 2006 or early 2007. In fall 2006 the responsible parties had to admit that the ATC system would still not be ready by the already postponed date at the end of 2006 and that the opening of the line would have to be postponed again. At that point, Siemens appointed a new project manager. The new U3 line finally opened on June 14, 2008.

To Siemens this delay is a major embarrassment, since the company hopes to sell this ATC system to other subway operators around the world who wish to gradually convert their existing subway lines to ATC operation, allowing for mixed operations on line segments used by ATC and non-ATC operated trains during interim periods.

Conversion of the U2 for ATC operation[edit]

After the initial segment of the U3 had entered service and all problems concerning the ATC system had been sorted out, work commenced on the conversion the existing U2 to ATC operation. Full ATC operation of the U2 begun in January 2010 and on the shared section of track between Rathenauplatz and Rothenburger Straße the interval between trains on that tunnel segment reduced to 100 seconds. (See above)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Wussten Sie? - Wussten Sie zum Thema "U-Bahn"" [Did you know? - Facts about the U-Bahn] (in German). VAG. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Geschäftsbericht 2012 Ziele erreichen – auf ganzer Strecke" [Annual Report 2012 Targets achieved - over the whole distance] (PDF) (in German). VAG. June 2013. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  3. ^ [1] p.5
  4. ^ "Unternehmen / Fahrzeuge - U-Bahn" [Enterprise / Vehicles - U-Bahn] (in German). VAG. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  5. ^ Some other cities have overground rail links to their airports. And Berlin Schönefeld Airport is served by the Berlin S-Bahn, which has some characteristics of a subway
  6. ^ "Nürnberg U2 goes driverless". Railway Gazette International. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "VGN Timetable Linie U-Bahn U3". 
  8. ^ Fürther Nachrichten: U-Bahn: Stein sitzt mit am Tisch. Article dated 6 October 2009
  9. ^ a b Stadtanzeiger Nürnberg: Ja zur U-Bahn nach Stein. Article dated 6 January 1998
  10. ^ a b Fürther Nachrichten: Aus für die U-Bahn-Pläne. Article dated 23 March 2010
  11. ^ Verkehrsverbund Großraum Nürnberg (Hrsg.): U3: Neue Varianten für den Landkreis Fürth werden geprüft. Press release dated 25 Februar 2010.
  12. ^ Intraplan Consult GmbH: Nutzen-Kosten-Untersuchung für die Verlängerung der U3 nach Oberasbach. Documentation for the project meeting on 18 March 2010, Page 45

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