Berlin, Germany S-Bahn

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S-Bahn Stadtbahn train at Savignyplatz. Photo by David Pirmann, August 2009.


As with most large German conurbations, Berlin is blessed with an extensive suburban rail system, called S-Bahn. Throughout Germany, S-Bahns are operated by, and largely separated from, the main Deutsche Bahn (DB) railways. In Berlin, the S-Bahn network came into being in 1924. While the initial service was provided with steam locomotives, it was rapidly electrified with third rail.

The first S-Bahn route was an above-ground Stadtbahn, running east-west through the city center. This was followed by a circumferential route (the Ringbahn). In 1936, and in time for the Olympic Games, a north-south route was tunneled through the city. All three services have branches and sub-routings.

The S-Bahn system suffered greatly during World War II. As a final act, retreating SS troops flooded the tunnel, and over 200 civilians and wounded soldiers were killed by this action. The North-South route finally reopened in 1947.

The next disruption occured in 1961 with the advent of the Berlin Wall. As the U-Bahn provided adequate service in West Berlin, the S-Bahn system was divided at Friedrichstraße, the only place where passengers could make interchange. Most services west of the Wall succumbed after a passenger boycott and an employee strike. But in East Berlin, the S-Bahn system grew and with the trams became the backbone of transit service.

Following the demolition of the wall, all S-Bahn service came under the federal rail umbrella once again, and gradually, service in the former West Berlin districts was restored, with the Ringbahn returning to service in 2002.

Today, there are 15 distinct services, three on "Nord-Süd-Bahn", 7 on the Ringbahn, and four running on the Stadtbahn. One route, S3, runs from East Berlin and connects with the Stadtbahn routes at Ostbahnhof. Line S7 extends in the extreme southwest to Potsdam, which sports a medium-sized tram system of its own. Lines S9 and S45 end at one of Berlin's airports, Flughafen Berlin Schönefeld, in the south, and S5 runs eastward to the suburb of Strausberg, home to an interurban tram line. Another local tramway in Rahnsdorf is reached by line S3. A fourth tram line, the Tramway Schöneiche-Rüdersdorf, does not appear to be reachable via the S-Bahn. The Potsdam end of line S7, and probably others as well, has several single-track sections.

There are at least three types of rolling stock on the S-Bahn, the newest being the 481/482 class and the oldest, the 485 series. A preserved 475 class car, converted to a snack bar, sits at Tegel Airport.

Fares come under the regional BVG plan (see U-Bahn section). Service on most individual lines rates 10-20 minute headways. Like on the U-Bahn, all stations have open access, but tickets must be purchased and validated before riding.

Photo Gallery

Five Random Images

Image 54800

(227k, 1044x781)
Photo by: Steffen Petrasch
Location: Charlottenburg (S5/S7/S9/S75)

Image 60925

(79k, 492x620)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Westhafen (S41/S42)

Image 60969

(147k, 1044x698)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Jungfernheide (S41/S42)

Image 61125

(171k, 1044x692)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Messe Nord / ICC (S41/S42/S46)

Image 62759

(116k, 1044x706)
Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Alexanderplatz (S5/S7/S9/S75)

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Photos By Location


Oranienburg (S1), Lehnitz (S1), Borgsdorf (S1), Birkenwerder (S1), Hohen Neuendorf (S1), Frohnau (S1), Hermsdorf (S1), Waidmannslust (S1), Wittenau (S1), Wilhelmsruh (S1), Hennigsdorf (S25), Heiligensee (S25), Schulzendorf (S25), Tegel (S25), Eichborndamm (S25), Karl-Bonhoeffer-Nervenklinik (S25), Alt-Reinickendorf (S25), Schönholz (S1/S25), Wollankstraße (S1/S25), Bernau bei Berlin (S2), Bernau-Friedenstal (S2), Zepernick (S2), Röntgental (S2), Buch (S2), Karow (S2), Blankenburg (S2/S8), Pankow-Heinersdorf (S2/S8), Pankow (S2/S8), Bornholmer Straße (S1/S2/S8/S25), Gesundbrunnen (S1/S2/S8/S25), Humboldthain (S1/S2/S8/S25), Nordbahnhof (S1/S2/S8/S25), Oranienburger Straße (S1/S2/S8/S25), Friedrichstraße (S1/S2/S8/S25), Brandenburger Tor (Unter den Linden) (S1/S2/S8/S25), Potsdamer Platz (S1/S2/S8/S25), Anhalter Bahnhof (S1/S2/S8/S25), Yorckstraße (S1), Schöneberg (S1), Friedenau (S1), Feuerbachstraße (S1), Rathaus Steglitz (S1), Botanischer Garten (S1), Lichterfelde West (S1), Sundgauer Straße (S1), Zehlendorf (S1), Mexikoplatz (S1), Schlachtensee (S1), Nikolassee (S1), Wannsee (S1), Yorckstraße (S2), Südkreuz (S2), Priesterweg (S2), Attilastraße (S2), Marienfelde (S2), Buckower Chaussee (S2), Schichauweg (S2), Lichtenrade (S2), Mahlow (S2), Blankenfelde (S2), Südende (S25), Lankwitz (S25), Lichterfelde Ost (S25), Osdorfer Straße (S25), Lichterfelde Süd (S25), Teltow Stadt (S25)


Spandau (S9/S75), Stresow (S9/S75), Pichelsberg (S9/S75), Olympiastadion (S9/S75), Heerstraße (S9/S75), Messe Süd (Eichkamp) (S9/S75), Potsdam Hauptbahnhof (S7), Potsdam-Babelsberg (S7), Griebnitzsee (S7), Wannsee (S7), Nikolassee (S7), Grunewald (S7), Westkreuz (S5/S7/S9/S75), Charlottenburg (S5/S7/S9/S75), Savignyplatz (S5/S7/S9/S75), Zoologischer Garten (S5/S7/S9/S75), Tiergarten (S5/S7/S9/S75), Bellevue (S5/S7/S9/S75), Berlin Hauptbahnhof (S5/S7/S9/S75), Friedrichstraße (S5/S7/S9/S75), Museuminsel, Hackescher Markt (S5/S7/S9/S75), Alexanderplatz (S5/S7/S9/S75), Jannowitzbrücke (S5/S7/S9/S75), Ostbahnhof (S3/S5/S7/S9/S75), Warschauer Straße (S3/S5/S7/S9/S75), Ostkreuz (S3/S5/S7/S9/S75), Nöldnerplatz (S5/S7/S75), Lichtenberg (S5/S7/S75), Friedrichsfelde Ost (S5/S7/S75), Biesdorf (S5), Wuhletal (S5), Kaulsdorf (S5), Mahlsdorf (S5), Birkenstein (S5), Hoppegarten (Mark) (S5), Neuenhagen (S5), Fredersdorf (S5), Petershagen Nord (S5), Strausberg (S5), Hegermühle (S5), Strausberg Stadt (S5), Strausberg Nord (S5), Springpfuhl (S7/S75), Poelchaustraße (S7), Marzahn (S7), Raoul-Wallenberg-Straße (S7), Mehrower Allee (S7), Ahrensfelde (S7), Gehrenseestraße (S75), Hohenschönhausen (S75), Wartenberg (S75), Rummelsburg (S3), Betriebsbhf. Rummelsburg (S3), Karlshorst (S3), Wuhlheide (S3), Köpenick (S3), Hirschgarten (S3), Friedrichshagen (S3), Rahnsdorf (S3), Wilhelmshagen (S3), Erkner (S3)


Gesundbrunnen (S41/S42), Schönhauser Allee (S41/S42/S8/S85), Prenzlauer Allee (S41/S42/S8/S85), Greifswalder Straße (S41/S42/S8/S85), Landsberger Allee (S41/S42/S8/S85), Storkower Straße (S41/S42/S8/S85), Frankfurter Allee (S41/S42/S8/S85), Ostkreuz (S41/S42/S8/S85/S9), Treptower Park (S41/S42/S8/S85/S9), Sonnenallee (S41/S42), Neukölln (S41/S42/S45/S46/S47), Hermannstraße (S41/S42/S45/S46/S47), Tempelhof (S41/S42/S46/S47), Südkreuz (S41/S42/S46/S47), Schöneberg (S41/S42/S46), Innsbrucker Platz (S41/S42/S46), Bundesplatz (S41/S42/S46), Heidelberger Platz (S41/S42/S46), Hohenzollerndamm (S41/S42/S46), Halensee (S41/S42/S46), Westkreuz (S41/S42/S46), Messe Nord / ICC (S41/S42/S46), Westend (S41/S42/S46), Jungfernheide (S41/S42), Beusselstraße (S41/S42), Westhafen (S41/S42), Wedding (S41/S42), Plänterwald (S8/S9/S85), Köllnische Heide (S45/S46/S47), Baumschulenweg (S8/S9/S45/S46/S47/S85), Schöneweide (S8/S9/S45/S46/S47/S85), Betriebsbhf. Schöneweide (S8/S9/S45/S46/S85), Adlershof (S8/S9/S45/S46/S85), Altglienicke (S9/S45), Grünbergallee (S9/S45), Flughafen Schönefeld (S9/S45), Oberspree (S47), Spindlersfeld (S47), Grünau (S8/S46/S85), Eichwalde (S8/S46), Zeuthen (S8/S46), Wildau (S46), Königs Wusterhausen (S46)

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