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 Berlin . Germany

Berlin U-Bahn and S-Bahn Network - Click to expand!

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 S-Bahn System

S-BahnStrausbergBerlin was restored as the German capital right after the unification of the two German states in 1990 and has about 3.5 million inhabitants. The city has one of the oldest and most extensive metro networks in Europe. The rapid transit network actually consists of two independent systems, the U-Bahn with 9 lines, and the S-Bahn. In 1993 the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) was founded to organise all public transport in both Berlin and the surrounding State of Brandenburg.

The Berlin S-Bahn may be considered a metro in its own right for the following reasons:
it is mainly an urban means of transport (total length 335 km, of which 250 km are within the city of Berlin)
- it is totally independent from other rail traffic (third rail power supply)
- it operates at rather dense intervals (~5 minutes) along the central routes (bundled lines).

The network can be classified into three groups of lines (as of 31 Oct 2020):

1- Stadtbahn lines serving the east-west route through the city centre, all on the surface, in the city centre mainly on a brick viaduct:

- S3: Spandau - Erkner
- S5: Westkreuz - Strausberg Nord
- S7: Potsdam Hbf - Ahrensfelde
- S75: Warschauer Straße - Wartenberg
- S9: Spandau - Warschauer Straße - Flughafen BER Terminal 1-2

2- Nordsüdbahn lines operating north-south through the city tunnel:

- S1: Oranienburg - Wannsee
S2: Bernau - Blankenfelde
- S25: Hennigsdorf - Teltow-Stadt
- S26: Widmannslust - Teltow-Stadt

3- Ringbahn lines running on the circular route and the southeastern branch (Görlitzer Bahn), all on the surface:

- S41: ring line clockwise
- S42: ring line anti-clockwise
- S45: Südkreuz - Flughafen BER Terminal 1-2
- S46: Westend - Königs Wusterhausen
- S47: Hermannstraße - Spindlersfeld
- S8: Birkenwerder - Blankenburg - Zeuthen
- S85: Pankow - Grünau
- S9: Spandau - Warschauer Straße - Flughafen BER Terminal 1-2

Most sections outside the ring line but within the Berlin city boundaries are served every ten minutes, whereas some sections outside Berlin in Brandenburg have a train every 20 minutes.


 S-Bahn History

- In the middle of the 19th century, many radial railway lines were built from various termini around the current city centre. Along most of these lines a separate pair of tracks for suburban traffic was added around the turn of the century. The ring line was opened during the 1870's, followed by the Stadtbahn, which was inaugurated in 1882. At the time the U-Bahn began operating in 1902, tests for electric traction were also carried out on the suburban railway lines. The line from the former Potsdamer Bahnhof to Lichterfelde Ost was the first regular electric suburban service, while the other lines kept using steam locomotives until the 1920's. In 1924, today's system (800 V dc, third rail) was introduced on the line from Stettiner Bahnhof (now Nordbahnhof) to Bernau. Soon the other two northern lines (to Oranienburg and to Hennigsdorf / Velten) followed. The positive experience opened the doors for the 'Great Electrification' of the entire suburban network, which since 1 Dec 1930 has been called the 'S-Bahn', the 'S' referring both to Stadt [city] and schnell [fast].


S-Bahn Berlin S-Bahn Berlin


- While all suburban lines were converted from steam to electric traction, a north-south tunnel was built to link the northern and the southern lines. The first section from Stettiner Bahnhof to Unter den Linden opened in 1936 just before the Olympic Games. The remaining part followed in 1939, just after the outbreak of World War II. During the War, many routes and station buildings were damaged and it took several years until the whole network was in service again.

- Until 1961, S-Bahn trains kept running from East Berlin to West Berlin and back, but when the Wall was built, the network was cut in two, although both systems were operated by the East German Reichsbahn as long as 1984. The erection of the Wall resulted in an S-Bahn boycott in West Berlin, and S-Bahn installations deteriorated through the years. After a railway workers' strike in 1980, many western lines were closed down. In East Berlin, however, the S-Bahn became the backbone of the urban transport system and new extensions were built from Grünau to Königs Wusterhausen (1951), to Strausberg Nord (1956), to Schönefeld Airport (1961), to Ahrensfelde (1976-82) and to Wartenberg (1984/85).

- After the city's reunification in 1990, a lot of effort was put in restoring the former S-Bahn network to its 1961 status, especially the ring line. In December 1997 the connection between Neukölln and Treptower Park via Sonnenallee reopened, which allowed S4 trains to run 75% of the whole ring (between Schönhauser Allee and Jungfernheide). On 19 Dec. 1999, two more stations were put into service, Beusselstraße and Westhafen. From 16 Sept. 2001, trains also ran from Schönhauser Allee to Gesundbrunnen (S4). Finally, on 16 June 2002, the section Gesundbrunnen - Westhafen also reopened; ever since, trains operating the full circle are labelled S41 (clockwise) or S42 (anticlockwise). Several other lines share some section of the ring route.
- In January 1998 the first section of the Spandau branch now served by S9 and S75 opened from Westkreuz as far as Pichelsberg, the remaining section followed in Dec. 1998.
- S25 reopened in 1995 between Tegel and Lichterfelde Ost, being extended to Lichterfelde Süd and Hennigsdorf in late 1998. Some sections along this line were only rebuilt single-track, which allows only a 20-minute headway on the northern stretch, although there are plans for doubling the line as far as Tegel. A 2.5 km, single-track extension was opened from Lichterfelde Süd to Teltow-Stadt on 24 Feb 2005
A long-planned station Julius-Leber-Brücke (formerly known as Kolonnenstraße) was opened on S1, between Yorckstraße and Schöneberg, on 2 May 2008.

- To serve the new BER Airport, the Schönefeld branch was extended by 8 km from its former terminus (now Flughafen BER Terminal 5) to a new underground station below Terminals 1-2. Together with the new airport, this extension was scheduled to open in June 2012, but due to the airport's delayed opening, the S-Bahn only started to serve the new section 8 years later:
26 Oct 2020: S9 continues to Flughafen BER Terminal 1-2 during morning and afternoon peak hours
29 Oct 2020: S9 & S45 are extended to Flughafen BER Terminal 1-2 at all times

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During the reconstruction of the northern section of the ring line, provisions were made between Westhafen and Wedding for a branch towards the central station, with a possible second north-south tunnel in the future. The project is generally referred to as 'S21' or 'Citybahn'. Construction of the northern section began in mid-2011. Initially, when opening in 2021/22, only 4-car shuttle trains will serve Hauptbahnhof, using a temporary station built inside the running tunnel to the north of the railway station. Construction of the link to Potsdamer Platz has not started yet.

An extension from Spandau to Falkensee has repeately been proposed, and a short version on Berlin territory only may be built in an initial stage.

In conjunction with an urban development project promoted by Siemens, the old 'Siemensbahn', a branch out of service since 1980, may be reactivated. Diverging from the ring line at Jungfernheide, it used to serve stations at Wernerwerke, Siemensstadt (near U7 Rohrdamm) and Gartenfeld. A mostly underground extension of this branch to serve the northern parts of Spandau (Wasserstadt) is being examined.

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S-Bahn Berlin (Official Site)

VBB (Fare system Berlin-Brandenburg)

Stadtschnellbahn Berlin - Geschichte und Geschichten rund um die Berliner S-Bahn (most extensive private website about the S-Bahn)

S-Bahn Museum (at S-Bahn station Griebnitzsee - S7)

Historische S-Bahn e.V.

Geschichte des Berliner Nahverkehrs

Last edition of East Berlin's S & U-Bahn-Network 1990 from my collection (109K)

Stadtentwicklung Berlin - Verkehr

BVG Online-Timetable or DB-Timetable (from door to door in Germany)


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U-Bahn, S-Bahn & Tram in Berlin Robert Schwandl: U-Bahn, S-Bahn & Tram in Berlin. - Feb. 2012, ISBN 978 3 836573 32 9 More info

Klaus Kurpjuweit, Bodo Schulz: Album Berliner Verkehr 1989/1990. - Nov. 2004, Neddermeyer; Berlin, ISBN 3933254469

Wolf-Dietger Machel: Berliner Schienennahverkehr. - Aug. 2004, 160 p. - Bruckmann, ISBN: 3765471348

Wolfgang Kiebert: Die Berliner S-Bahn 1924 bis heute. - 07/2004, 160 p., Transpress, ISBN: 3613712423

Manuel Jacob: Der elektrische Betrieb auf der Berliner S-Bahn, Bd 6: Das Netz wächst zusammen - 1980 - 2004. - 01/2004, 240 S. Neddermeyer, ISBN 393325423X

Wolfgang Kämmerer: 100 Jahre elektrischer Betrieb Berlin Potsdamer Bahnhof - Groß Lichterfelde Ost. - Okt. 2003, 96 S., Neddermeyer, ISBN 3933254396

Robert Schwandl: BERLIN S-BAHN ALBUM. - All 170 S-Bahn in Colour. - 144 p., 400 colour photos, maps, German/English; April 2003, Berlin, ISBN 3-936573-02-6 More info

Larissa Sabottka: Die eisernen Brücken der Berliner S- Bahn. Bestandsdokumentation und Bestandsanalyse. - 04/2003, Mann (Gebr.), Berlin, ISBN 3786124639

Susanne Dost: Richard Brademann (1884-1965) - Architekt der Berliner S-Bahn. - 2002, 232p., Neddermeyer ISBN 3933254361

Michael Bienert, Ralph Hoppe: Eine Stunde Stadt. Berliner Ringbahn- Reise. - 2002, 320p - Berlin Edition, ISBN 3814800966

Konrad Koschinski: Der elektrische Betrieb auf der Berliner S-Bahn, Bd 5: Auf Zeit getrennt - 1960 bis 1980. - 2002, Neddermeyer, ISBN 3-254933-22-1

Bernd Neddermeyer: Der elektrische Betrieb auf der Berliner S-Bahn, Bd.1, Dampf oder Elektrizität?. - 1999, Neddermeyer, ISBN 3933254051

Bernhard Strowitzki: S-Bahn Berlin. Geschichte(n) für unterwegs. - 288p., b/w, GVE Verlag, Berlin, April 2002, ISBN 3892180733

Hardy, Brian: THE BERLIN S-BAHN. Capital Transport, 1996. - Well illustrated handbook.

Jürgen Meyer-Kronthaler, Wolfgang Kramer: Berlins S- Bahnhöfe. Ein dreiviertel Jahrhundert. - 373 p. - bebra Verlag, Berlin, 1998, ISBN 393086360X

Günther Bellmann: Durch Berlin mit der S- Bahn. Savignyplatz bis Alexanderplatz. 2001, bebra, Berlin.

Behrens, A. und V. Noth: BERLINER STADTBAHN.- Bilder und Geschichten. - Ullstein, 1995. - Great colourful volume showing lots of artistic S-Bahn impressions.

Die Stadtbahn. Ein Viadukt mitten durch Berlin - GVE e.V.,1998, ISBN 3892180466

Andreas Butter, Hans-Joachim Kirsche, Erich Preuß: BERLIN OSTKREUZ. Die Drehscheibe des S- Bahn- Verkehrs. - 2000, 159 p., GeraNova, ISBN 393278524X

Carl W. Schmiedeke: Der Wagenpark der Berliner S-Bahn. - Lokrundschau, ISBN 3931647056

Nord-Süd-Bahn. Vom Geistertunnel zur City-S-Bahn. Die Flutung des Berliner S-Bahn-Tunnels in den letzten Kriegstagen. - 1999, 120p., GVE e. V., ISBN 3892180598

Berliner S-Bahn. 70 Jahre Hauptwerkstatt Schöneweide. - 1997, 96p., GVE e. V., ISBN 3892180512

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Flughafen BER – Terminal 1-2

Opened 26 Oct 2020

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