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An underground for Hamburg every 100 seconds


Great things are coming to the east of Hamburg. Because our promise is: an underground every 100 seconds! This will be made possible by the automation of the first Hamburg underground lines U2 and U4 in the east of the city. In concrete terms: this means that we will be able to offer our passengers a great deal more in the future. In concrete terms:

  • 50 per cent more service capacity on the section between Horner Rennbahn and Hamburg city centre.
  • Instead of 20,000 passengers per hour and direction, we will be able to transport 30,000 passengers there in future.

In future, up to four trains will be able to run every ten minutes between Mümmelmannsberg/Billstedt and Horner Rennbahn. Today, two trains travel here and three trains from Billstedt towards the city centre. From the end of 2026, the U4 will be extended to the Horner Geest. Here, at the Horner Rennbahn stop, up to two trains per ten minutes will be able to merge with the U2 line. On the joint route of the U2 and U4 between Horner Rennbahn and the city centre, up to six trains can then run in ten minutes: one underground train every 100 seconds in each direction.

By the way: The automation of the underground operation will not replace the drivers. They will continue to be responsible for the passenger exchange and can intervene if necessary. The journey itself will be fully automatic and computer-controlled. This is the only way to achieve the 100-second interval. In today's operation, the tightest possible regular cycle is 2.5 minutes.

The technical requirements for automated operation are created by our newly launched U-Bahn100 project. Within the framework of this project, the underground lines U2 (Mümmelmannsberg to Christuskirche) and U4 are being prepared. For this purpose, signal boxes and vehicles have to be digitally equipped and upgraded.

With the digitalisation of our underground system, we are creating the preconditions for a significantly higher transport capacity and a service that fits in with the goals of the Hamburg-Takt. The advantages are clear:

  • Hardly any waiting time at the stop: Either an underground train is already waiting or the next one arrives within one and a half minutes.
  • More space on the train: The significant increase in capacity naturally also increases the amount of space available on the line.
  • More safety: A 100-second interval means that no one has to run after the underground. Experiences from other countries show: fewer falls on the stairs, no jumping behind when the doors close, and significantly more relaxed passengers.
  • Even more sustainable on the move: automated operation also improves the energy balance, because the journey is optimised to save energy.

Background: How U-Bahn100 works

In addition to the digitalisation of track and rail, which will enable automated journeys in GoA2 (Grades of Automation) mode, we will use a completely new train control technology. In contrast to today's train protection, where following underground trains always have to travel in blocks with a fixed distance to each other, the "Moving Block" system creates a system in which underground trains can communicate with each other and travel in a moving space distance.

The vehicles communicate constantly with the signal boxes and other vehicles via radio to exchange the current position and thus always travel at the optimal and safe distance. The new system will reduce disruptions and enable more stable and reliable operation.

The investment volume for the U-Bahn100 project, which will be completed by 2029, is around 200 million euros.