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Ein DT5-Zug der HOCHBAHN fährt vor der Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg entlang.


Hamburg’s U-Bahn trains: naturally sustainable, safe and fast

Moving forward – with more than 250 DT4 and DT5 vehicles on Hamburg’s tracks

They stand for environmentally friendly mobility in a way that hardly any other mode of transport can match. For over 100 years now, our U-Bahn metro trains have been whisking Hamburg’s citizens around their city comfortably, quickly and safely. From the historic “Silberlings” to the modern DT5 models – it’s simply impossible to imagine the city without our trains. They’re often stars featuring on film and television too, for instance when they pass by along the U3 viaduct towards Hamburg’s famous Landungsbrücken at the port. 

HOCHBAHN’s U-Bahn fleet comprises over 250 vehicles and around 900 carriages. All of them run on 100 percent green electricity and are, of course, emission-free. After 55 years in service and an average of 3.85 million kilometres on the speedometer, the cult DT3 U-Bahn trains went into well-deserved retirement in spring 2021. Since then, only DT4 and DT5 trains (DT stands for double railcar) have been in service on Hamburg’s tracks. Allow us to introduce the two heavyweights: 

The DT5: a success model for Hamburg 

Die U-Bahn U4 an der Hamburger Haltestelle HafenCity-Universität

Naturally quiet, environmentally friendly, and fitted with walk-through, air-conditioned carriages – the DT5 has been impressive across the board ever since it made its debut in Hamburg in 2012. Its particularly strengths include its smooth operation, low noise levels, and modern interiors where passengers can walk through the entire length of the train. Each of the three 40-metre-long carriages offers 96 seats, 240 standing places and 2 wheelchair spaces. Complete with USB charging sockets and an infotainment system, they offer incredible service and comfort while on the move. The DT5 vehicles are especially known for their eco-friendliness. In February 2023, HOCHBAHN completed the fleet with the 163rd vehicle of the type.

Das 163. Fahrzeug des U-Bahn-Typs DT5

How fast does the DT5 go? The facts:

Year of construction: from 2011 onwards

Vehicle length: approx. 40 m  

Vehicle width: 2.6 m  

Vehicle height: 3.4 m

Seating capacity: 96

Standing room: 240

Unladen weight: approx. 54.2t

Engine power: 6 x 135 kW (810 kW)

Water-cooled three-phase traction engines

Maximum speed: 80 km/h  

The DT4: light and safe on the road

Ein DT4-Zug der HOCHBAHN fährt vor einer typischen Hamburger Backsteinhaus-Kulisse entlang

The first DT4 trains were in operation on Hamburg’s tracks as early as 1988. By 2005, our DT4 fleet had grown to over 120 vehicles. The HOCHBAHN carried out modernisation on this generation of trains on numerous occasions, most recently giving them a “spruce up” between 2015 and 2018: notably with a new, contemporary interior re-design. But the DT4 has a lot more to offer than simply passenger comfort. Under the bonnet too, the vehicle engines are cooled with water. This, coupled with sophisticated drive electronics, means that noise made by the trains is kept to a minimum.  

U-Bahn-Linie U1 unterwegs durch Hamburg

How many passengers fit in a DT4? Here is the technical data:

Year of construction: 1988 to 2005

Vehicle length: 60.28 m

Vehicle width: 2.58 m  

Vehicle height: 3.37 m  

Unladen weight: 76.9 to 78.1t  

Seating capacity: 182  

Standing room: 223  

Engine power:  8 x 125 kW  

Maximum speed: 80 km/h

The DT3: shining memories of a silver era

Ein alter DT3-Zug der HOCHBAHN fährt vor dem Hamburger Michel entlang

It was a movie and TV star when it passed over the viaducts at Landungsbrücken or Baumwall. The DT3 train took its passengers quickly and comfortably through Hamburg for 55 years. In the meantime, the vehicle type has been retired and replaced by modern DT5 trains. Nevertheless, we are looking back here at a silver era:

The opening of the underground line to Wandsbek Markt in October 1962 marked the beginning of the era of rapid network expansion. In 1966, the U2 was extended to Hagenbeck's Tierpark, and two years later service began between Hauptbahnhof Nord and Berliner Tor, while the then U3 was gradually extended by seven stops from Berliner Tor to Merkenstraße station, which opened in 1970.

This rapid growth naturally required new trains. The DT3 was modeled on its predecessor, the DT2, which had been in service in Hamburg since 1962. With its silver sheet steel trim and bold red color scheme, its successor looked identical but offered more space. Each DT3, which reached a top speed of 80 km/h with a weight of 46 tons, had 92 seats and 273 standing places (DT2: 82 and 106).

After trials in the summer of 1966, the new trains began regular service in 1968. By 1971, HOCHBAHN had procured a total of 127 units. Since then, the DT3s have been extensively modernized several times, with new fronts, modern technology and new seats. With the introduction of the new DT4 and DT5 trains, however, the number of "old" double railcars was gradually reduced. The models scrapped today already had an average of 3.85 million kilometers on the clock.

The good news for all fans: Despite the scrapping, the DT3 will not disappear completely from Hamburg. The HOCHBAHN is keeping a reserve of ten vehicles for booster trips. A vehicle for the museum has also already been parked.