Feasibility study and Digital Rail pilot project for S-Bahn Hamburg

S-Bahn Hamburg

Hamburg, January 2018 to October 2021


Train services will increase over the next few years


Approximately 200 vehicles, with more than 250 expected from 2024. In the future, additional lines (S32 and S4) as well as increased train frequency

Testing and initial introduction of automated driving using ETCS Level 2

The ITS World Congress is THE event for intelligent transport systems and the mobility of the future. Hamburg hosted this forward-looking event in 2021. As part of the preparations for the event, the Hamburg S-Bahn commissioned NEXTRAIL to test automated driving on a sub-section of the 21 S-Bahn line. For this purpose, ETCS Level 2 was used on the section between the ‘Berliner Tor’ and ‘Aumühle’ stations, and ATO operation according to GoA 2 was implemented. The TRAXIMIZER from NEXTRAIL was used for the 3D survey of the route section. Thanks to the innovative 3D acquisition system, high-precision data was collected on the route, which enabled the subsequent introduction of ETCS Level 2 and ATO over ETCS on the S-Bahn in a safe and quick manner. By implementing this project, NEXTRAIL is demonstrating that the introduction of automated driving is also possible at short notice. By the time the IST World Congress 2021 was held, Hamburg would achieve higher operational quality and increased capacity on this section of the route.

Key areas of service

Special features

The client’s demanding schedule required the approval of a safety-relevant Delta LH within one year. Combined with the initial use of the new ATO technology at Deutsche Bahn, this demanded efficient cooperation between many NEXTRAIL experts from the following fields of expertise: system and requirements engineering, 3D measurement and data management, safety management, and testing and system integration.


NEXTRAIL was also able to meet these demanding requirements thanks to its partnership with the client’s project management team.

With digital rail, we have an intelligent solution for at least 20% more capacity without having to build a single new metre of track. This means additional trains, even more climate-friendly travel and greater operational stability for our passengers.

Digital Rail for Hamburg – DB Netz AG

Managing director of S-Bahn Hamburg

Contact person

You can find your contact person for strategy and concepts

Contact person

Managing director

Frankfurt am Main