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.