Germany’s first fully-automated metro of VAG Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft Nürnberg started on June 14, 2008. It will be in service on the new U3 metro line between Maxfeld metro station in the north and Gustav-Adolf-Straße station in the southwest.
Background & Objectives
With the automatic operation, VAG will be able to deploy the trains according to demand: after the transition of the U2 line to automatic operation it will, for example, be possible to deploy the trains between Rathenauplatz and Rothenburger Straße in intervals of up to 100 seconds when large numbers of passengers must be transported. Hence, passengers’ waiting times can be reduced, and more passengers can be transported. The project, titled RUBIN (Implementation of an Automated Metro in Nürnberg), is implemented by VAG - upon order of the City of Nürnberg - and Siemens as the general contractor. The RUBIN project was initiated in 2001.
Favorable point of departure for the automatization
The prerequisites for the introduction of an automatic metro in Nürnberg were extremely favorable. The third metro line was built from scratch; thus, it was possible to equip it for the automatic operation, which has definite advantages with regard to the fact that the inner-city metro lines have reached their capacity limits during rush hours. Automatization was also required due to the problems of intertwining at the interface of the U2 and U3 lines at Rathenauplatz and Rothenburger Straße.>In addition, VAG had to procure new metro vehicles, firstly because the U1 line in Fürth was repeatedly extended in the past years. The last addition was the Hardhöhe metro station in December 2007. Secondly, the first vehicles, which have been in operation since the inauguration of the U1 in 1972, have reached the limit of their lifecycles.
A project of international interest
The world over, the Nürnberg U3 will be the first automated metro line driving in mixed operation with conventional trains operated by drivers. This is of particular interest to other cities with metro systems all over the world. Cities such as Helsinki, Paris and Hong Kong have in part decided upon the automatization of their existing lines and are following the Nürnberg project very closely.
From January 2010, the U2 line became fully automated. In addition, the Nürnberg metro network is currently been extended, with new stations been added, as well as the implementation of next generation DT3-F metro cars, which can be used for automatic operations on the U2 and U3 lines, and for conventional operations on the U1 line.
Further information at http://www.rubin-nuernberg.de/index.htm?welcome_eng