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

Installation of CBTC will enable operation at Grade of Automation (GoA) 2 and will facilitate a reduction in headways to as low as 1m 40s, offering what Hamburger Hochbahn CEO, Mr Henrik Falk, says will be a “completely new experience” 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 all 163 DT5 metro vehicles used on the two lines while the ongoing tender for DT6 trains stipulates the need to be compatible with CBTC. Hamburger Hochbahn says it does not make economic sense to equip the DT4 fleet, which the DT6s are set to replace gradually from the middle of the decade and are no longer used on the U2 and U4.

Hamburger Hochbahn says the project is estimated to cost €200m and is aiming to secure federal funding. The work will be completed by 2029.

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

Siemens says 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 to intervene with operation if necessary.

Hamburger Hochbahn expects the upgrade to increase use from Horner Rennbahn to Hamburg city centre from 20,000 passengers per hour at present 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 to Horner Geest, which will enter operation at the end of 2026.

“For the mobility transition, we need powerful and reliable systems that create real customer benefits,” Falk says. “Through the U-Bahn100 project, we’re creating a service for our passengers that is simply unbeatable: a 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 is equipping its test track, which runs between Farmsen and Berne, to support automated operation. Testing using CBTC will commence on the line next spring, it says.