Denmark to Replace Electric Trains with Unmanned S-bane trains

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The Government of Denmark has granted authorization to Danish State Railways (DSB) to commence the procurement process for automated S-bane trains that will operate on the Copenhagen network. The announcement of the train contract winner is expected at the beginning of 2025. The first driverless trains will undergo testing from 2028.

Next-Generation Automated S-Bane Trains Set to Revolutionize Copenhagen Network

The upcoming generation of S-bane trains is projected to be operational between 2029 and 2037 on the automated Copenhagen S-bahn network.
According to DSB, the initial driverless trains will undergo testing from 2028 on the F ring line, specifically between Ny Ellebjerg and Hellerup, making it the first fully automatic section to operate.

Addressing Traffic Demand and Congestion in Copenhagen

Forecasts indicate increased congestion in the Copenhagen area in the coming years. In response, the introduction of more S-bane trains and improved integration with other transport modes will help meet the growing traffic demand.
“The current S-train has reached its maximum capacity during rush hour, and our current generation of S-bane must be replaced within 15 years. We are delighted to have received political approval for the tender, setting the S-Bahn of the future into motion,” stated Jürgen Müller, Director of DSB Strategy & Train Material.

Infrastructure Upgrades and Future Plans

The implementation of fully automated S-bane rolling stock will necessitate a significant infrastructure upgrade on the network. DSB is actively involved in planning a tender for the supporting systems required for automatic technology usage, with the goal of obtaining political approval in autumn 2023.

The procurement of automated S-bane trains is a vital component of the Infrastructure Plan 2035, which emphasizes the need for transitioning to automation technology to deliver improved and efficient transport services. In 2021, DSB awarded a framework contract to a joint venture comprising Cowi, Parsons, and Systra, with Implement Consulting Group as a subconsultant, for the provision of multidisciplinary consultancy services in automating the S-bane system in the Greater Copenhagen Area. The contract has an initial term of 8 years, with the potential for two six-year extensions.

Transformation to a Fully Automated Transport System

The joint venture’s expertise will assist DSB in transforming its S-bane system from a traditional urban railway network to a fully automated transport system.
In March 2022, Danish State Railways appointed Ricardo as the Assessment Body (AsBo) tasked with converting the S-Bane to Grade of Automation 4.
It is expected that the 172 km S-Bane network will operate under GoA4 (Grade of Automation 4) by 2037, offering a cutting-edge transportation experience to the residents of Copenhagen.