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Bringing Greener Travel and Expanded Capacity to Munich

A growing number of users along with targets for reduced CO2 emissions meant Munich’s underground and suburban rail networks were ready for change. Siemens had the answers.

Initial Situation

Considered one of the most attractive cities in Europe, Munich has the second-highest number of visitors among Germany’s cities. With the city’s population of over one million and rising, the pressure on the Bavarian capital’s public transportation system is growing. Since 2005, the MVG, which manages Munich’s subway, bus and tram networks, has reported a 16.5% rise in the total number of passengers a year – to 536 million in 2012, with 378 million of those as subway users. Over one million people use the service on a daily basis.

Alongside this increase in passengers, the city’s authorities are in the midst of the “Climate Protection Program 2010,” which aims to cut CO2 emissions by 10% every five years. One of the key measures put in place to achieve this goal is the expansion and improvement of the public transport network within Munich, to encourage more people to use public transportation. With some of the city’s subway trains in service for almost forty years, faster and more energy efficient trains were required to replace them.

Complementary to Munich’s subway system is the city’s suburban rail network (S-Bahn), operated by Deutsche Bahn. Seven lines stretch out from the city center to Munich’s suburbs and the surrounding area, with all seven lines travelling along the 11.7 km long, dual-track inner-city link section that runs from Ostbahnhof in the east, along eight further stops to Pasing in the west.

Conveying around one million passengers per day, the metro system is the most widely used means of public transportation in Munich. In the face of ever increasing public demand for transport capacity, inefficient trains that are over 40 years old have to be taken out of service.

As with its underground counterpart, the S-Bahn has had to cope with an ever increasing number of passengers on an aging infrastructure. Originally installed prior to the 1972 Olympic Games, the original Siemens signaling system now has to cope with three times as many passengers a day (720,000). At 24 trains an hour in each direction, the system was at its technical limits, and yet the city required more regular trains. While the construction of a second inner-city link section was being considered, a more immediate solution was required – an upgrade to the signaling system, with Siemens providing an innovative solution.

Project Challenges

During the upgrading of the S-Bahn signaling system in 2003 und 2004, both the heavy usage of the line and the 4.2km tunnel section beneath Munich’s city center presented particular challenges for the construction work. Materials had to be transported into the tunnel quickly and safely while keeping travel disruption to a minimum.

Siemens Solution

In order to increase the frequency of trains on each Munich S-Bahn line to 10 minutes, Siemens installed Simis C electronic interlockings, an AzS M (E) axle counting system, wheel detection and speed checking equipment, control systems, interfaces and signals. Electronic interlockings ensure that railways operate safely. They monitor and control train movements on the lines according to the operational requirements. Completely preassembled interlockings, installed in modular containers, play a key role in cutting time and costs for installation and commissioning, helping to reduce investment costs. Since the completion of the works, train frequency rose from 24 to 27 trains per hour. Later this rose further, to 30 trains per hour and per direction, making the Munich inner-city link Europe’s most heavily frequented rail stretch.

In order to increase passenger capacity while simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions, the MVG will take delivery of 21 six-car Siemens C2 metro trains until 2015. Some of the trains are intended as replacements, some as additions to the fleet. The contract involves options for up to 46 trains for delivery until 2024 covering the expected short- and mid-term demand for metro vehicles in Munich.

These new metro trains are largely based on the well-known C car design used for the previous generation of vehicles, which was developed by Alexander Neumeister, the internationally renowned Munich vehicle designer. Further development made the new C2 type trains even more customer-friendly, economical and ecological than the C1 type.

The highlights of the C train include not only its high passenger capacity, acceleration rate and availability, but also its end-to-end accessibility (i.e. it is a permanently coupled train without any self-contained cars), its interior layout and wide passenger doors. Remarkably, the C2 train is more than 95 percent recyclable and especially energy-efficient thanks to the recovery of up to 50 percent of the braking energy.