Hamburg to upgrade two metro lines to CBTC

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HAMBURGER Hochbahn contracted Siemens to install CBTC on the entire 13.7 km U4 metro line and on the U2 line from the eastern terminus of Mümmelmannsberg via the city center to Christuskirche, which shares the infrastructure with U4 from Billstedt to city center

Installing the CBTC will enable operation at Automation Level (GoA) 2 and facilitate a reduction in progress to as little as 1m 40s, providing what Hamburger Hochbahn CEO Mr. Henrik Falk says is a “completely news” for passengers.

Siemens will supply and install its Trainguard MT CBTC equipment for the six conventional Sicas interlockings currently in use on the section of the route. Alstom is responsible for equipping the 163 DT5 metro vehicles used on the two lines, while the current call for tenders for DT6 trains stipulates the need to be compatible with CBTC. Hamburger Hochbahn argues that it is not economically sensible to equip the DT4 fleet, which DT6s are expected to gradually replace from the middle of the decade and are no longer used on the U2s and U4s.

Hamburger Hochbahn says the project is estimated at 200 million euros and is seeking federal funding. The works will be completed by 2029.

“With this project, we are raising the existing first route to a new level that comes very close to the fully automatic U5 in terms of frequency, range of services and comfort,” says Falk. “This is the goal we want to achieve in the long term across the entire metro network.”

According to Siemens, CBTC can offer energy savings of up to 20% and will improve passenger comfort through smoother acceleration and braking. Drivers will remain on the train and will be responsible for opening doors for passengers and intervening in operations if necessary.

Hamburger Hochbahn expects the upgrade to increase Horner Rennbahn usage to Hamburg city center from the current 20,000 passengers per hour to 30,000, operating six trains in both directions every 10 minutes: four from Mümmelmannsberg/Billstedt and Horner Rennbahn to the city centre, and another two from a new branch of U4 in Horner Geest, which will come into operation at the end of 2026.

“For the transition to mobility, we need powerful and reliable systems that create real benefits for customers,” says Falk. “Through the U-Bahn100 project, we are creating a service for our passengers that is simply unbeatable: one metro train every 100 seconds – on time, reliable, environmentally friendly and effectively available at all times.”

In addition to the contract with Siemens and Alstom, Hamburger Hochbahn equips its test track, which connects Farmsen and Bern, to support automated operation. Testing using CBTC will begin on the line next spring, it says.

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