Siemens Mobility will upgrade the entire S-bane network in Copenhagen, Denmark to prepare it for fully driverless train operations by 2033 after signing contracts worth €270m with rail infrastructure manager Banedanmark (BDK) and rail operator DSB. 

The 170km long network will be upgraded to the highest Grade of Automation (GoA4) technology in five phases to allow for full automation by 2033, building on commitments made at the beginning of the 2010s and Siemens’ work to install a Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system

Jürgen Müller, director of strategy and train equipment for DSB, said the upgrades, part of the Future S-bane programme, will make the already well-performing system “one of the world’s largest and most complex fully automated mass transit systems”. 

He highlighted a potential “better service” for passengers and said: “This comes not only via higher frequency for increased capacity and improved train services during off-peek operations, but also faster recovery from disturbances and better possibilities to adapt the traffic services to the demand on short term.” 

The five phases of upgrades will begin with the system’s F-Line between København Syd and Hellerup and see GoA4 passenger operations begin by the end of 2030, with the whole system to use a mix of existing GoA2 trains and new GoA4 trains until 2038, when it is set to go fully automated. 

Once upgraded, the S-bane will join a growing number of rail networks around the world to achieve the GoA4 level, including the Copenhagen Metro which has been fully automated across its four lines since it opened in 2002. 

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Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said: “We are very proud to continue and enhance our successful collaboration with Banedanmark and DSB to position the thriving city of Copenhagen as a model for modern rail infrastructure among European capitals. 

“By implementing our best-in-class signalling technology by 2033, trains will be capable of operating automatically and driverless. This will make the new S-bane the world’s largest automatic urban railway.”