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Dortmund H-Bahn in old paintwork
Length over coupling 9,200 mm
Length cabins 8,232 mm
Wide cabins 2,244 mm
Cabin height 2,623 mm
Interior height 2,003 mm
Height of doors 2,000 mm
Wide doors 1,350 mm
Distance to the center of the door 4,600 mm
Distance to the center of the chassis 5,689 mm
landing gear 1,750 kg
Cabin empty 4,955 kg
Vehicle empty 8,455 kg
Payload according to BOStrab 4,923 kg
maximum weight allowed 13,378 kg
Capacity per car
Seats 16 (Dortmund) / 15 (Düsseldorf)
Standing room 29 (Dortmund) / 32 (Düsseldorf)
Top speed 50 km / h
Drive power old 4 × 23 kW
new 4 × 31 kW
Driving noise at 50 km / h and 7.5 m distance 65 dB (A)
Advertising (Dortmund) DEW21

H-Bahn (Dortmund) and SkyTrain (Düsseldorf) are automatically controlled large-cabin suspension railways based on the SAFEGE system. The developer and original manufacturer of this system is Siemens , which called the product SIPEM (Siemens People Mover ) . In Germany, the system is subject to the tram construction and operating regulations (BOStrab) and, according to Section 4 (2) PBefG, is considered to be independent (of other traffic) , which accordingly can also be operated automatically, i.e. without drivers in the vehicles.


Principle of the route with a hollow rail open at the bottom and a pair of inner rollers, here with the suspension of a theater curtain

The vehicles of the H-Bahn hang with two bogies each on a hollow box girder with a slot at the bottom, inside the drive, guide and power supply are sheltered from the weather. The support and drive function is provided by two wheels running on the bottom of the hollow box girder to the left and right of the slot. Guide rollers on the lower and upper edge of the inside of the carrier ensure horizontal guidance. Three-phase alternating current (three-phase current) with a voltage of 400 volts is transmitted via four busbars attached to the side , which can be taken directly from the public grid without a converter or separate transformer station . Line cables for the wireless transmission of data between the vehicle and the control center are located above this . Switches enable branching of the route. Platform screen doors prevent falls from high stations or access to the track areas.

The H-Bahn is monitored from a central control center and does not need drivers on the trains. Depending on the workload, it can be used in cyclic or on-call mode, in which case the passenger “orders” the car like a passenger elevator at the push of a button.


In 1973, what was then the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology made available around DM 22 million  to support this system. On July 21, 1975, a 180-meter-long test and demonstration track was inaugurated on the DUEWAG site in Düsseldorf with the participation of the then Minister Hans Matthöfer . A 1.5-kilometer route went into operation in 1976 on the Siemens factory premises in Erlangen .


Siemens has not actively marketed the system since 2007 in order to concentrate exclusively on the Véhicule automatique léger (VAL) system in this market segment , which had been developed by the transport division of Matra , which has since been taken over by Siemens , but the technology is available for further installations Available.

In 2009 the system was offered for a new office district in Moscow , with the Dortmund operating company acting as a technical advisor. The system did not come into play there.

At the same address as the H-Bahn-Gesellschaft Dortmund mbH , a company Air Train International GmbH has been registered since May 2009 , with the business purpose of "Sales of H-Bahn systems and support in their construction, especially in the People's Republic of China". In China, a company called Air Train International Shanghai Co is trying to get orders to build an H-Bahn. According to the “Beijing People's Newspaper”, this company has an improved version of the control software from Siemens and claims that 95% of the route and vehicles can be manufactured in China itself.

Existing installations


Logo H-Bahn.jpg
Route length: 3,162 km
Power system : 400 V 50 Hz 
Top speed: 50 km / h
Hauert (planned)
Technology center
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Thu University S S 1
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Campus North
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Campus South
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In Dortmund, the H-Bahn is operated by the Dortmund municipal utility as a subsidiary.

Construction and expansion of the route network

The first publicly operated H-Bahn has been on the grounds of the Technical University of Dortmund since 1984 , where it initially connected the north and south campuses. The route was opened on May 2nd by the then Minister Heinz Riesenhuber . The necessary financial resources were made available from the Ruhr Action Program adopted by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1979. The route was initially 1.05 kilometers long and was used by two vehicles. The costs amounted to around 24 million DM, of which 75% were borne by the federal government, 20% by the state and 5% by the city. The maximum span is 38.5 meters, which is required when crossing Universitätsstraße .

H-Bahn route in Dortmund with the
Technologiezentrum stop

After three years of construction, a first 900 meter long extension with a new junction and two new stations, in Eichlinghofen and at the Dortmund University S-Bahn station , was completed in 1993 . In addition, the power supply was converted, a modular operating system installed and the route equipped with a location system. The location system allows the position to be determined to within three centimeters. These conversions enabled a higher speed and a denser train sequence, since until then the vehicles had to approach the station. Three new vehicles were delivered by Düwag / Siemens and replaced those previously used. A planned operation with double traction has not yet been implemented, but the facilities for this are available at the stations.

Interior view of the H-Bahnhof Universität (S)
Branch in the area
University (S) / Campus North

Another 1212 meter extension to the nearby technology park was opened on December 19, 2003. The route network now measures 3.162 kilometers. The construction of this section cost 14 million euros plus 1.5 million euros for another vehicle from Fahrzeugtechnik Dessau AG (FTD) with a more modern interior. It bears the company number 4. A fifth vehicle is currently being assembled, but this had to be delayed because the FTD filed for bankruptcy in 2016.


On line 1 from the Technologiepark to Eichlinghofen, there are two passenger cabins commuting every ten minutes on weekdays, except on Saturdays, and they meet at the Universität (S) stop , where there is a connection to the S-Bahn in the direction of Dortmund Hbf and Bochum every 20 minutes . A third vehicle commutes as line 2 every 5 minutes on the oldest route between campus north and campus south . A fourth vehicle is available as a reserve and to reinforce line 2 (see below).

In the evening around 7 p.m., the operating concept is changed: instead of Line 2, Line 3 runs from Campus Nord to Eichlinghofen every ten minutes, and Line 1 is split up: As Line 5, a vehicle runs every half hour with connections to the S-Bahn University (S) and Eichlinghofen , the other as line 7 between Technology Center and University (S) . While the latter line only operates until 9 p.m., lines 3 and 5 run until around midnight.

Since June 30, 2018, line 5 Universität (S) - Eichlinghofen has also been running on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no operation on the section of the route to the technology center on Saturdays. On Sundays and public holidays, operations are suspended for the entire route.

Another vehicle for maintenance work also exists. This is also used for evacuation if the wagons on the route break down. Each year, the vehicles cover around 200,000 kilometers in 3,700 hours of operation and transport around 1.6 million passengers.

In order to be able to use two vehicles at the same time on Line 2, the Campus South station was expanded to three platforms in 2011. The Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) has approved 2.7 million euros for this. This expansion became necessary due to capacity problems during the rush hour of university operations - including after the canteen on the south campus was closed . If too many people crowd into the cars, the doors cannot close and the driving gets out of step, which means that one or more trips are canceled. After the opening of this extension, a second vehicle will be used on Line 2 during peak times, the reserve vehicle is used for this. This enables the transport of up to 2160 passengers per hour.

In addition to the regular operation according to the timetable, a call operation can also be carried out when the vehicle is requested by the passenger, for example in the morning on line 1.


On May 15, 2012, an accident occurred not far from the Campus Nord station in which the H-Bahn collided with a container that was being loaded by a demolition company. 27 people were injured. As a result, only three of the four vehicles could be used for a long time, so that during maintenance work on one of the vehicles, a bus replacement service had to be set up between the university (S) and the technology center. All four vehicles have been operational again since November 2013.

Possible extensions

Urban railway development concept 2008
Ground level H-Bahn terminus in Eichlinghofen

In the course of updating the urban railway development concept in 2008, several extensions of the existing H-Bahn system as well as the construction of an independent route were examined with regard to benefits and costs. However, all variants were rejected because the cost-benefit factor was too low. No route was secured for any route.

begin target Cost-benefit factor
Technology center White field negative
University of S. Parking garage Barop negative
University of S. At the palm willow negative
University of S. Märkische Strasse negative
Technology center Wittener Strasse Positive (0.3)
Holzwickede train station Dortmund Airport Positive (0.36)
Extension to Hauert

In June 2017, the Dortmund City Council decided in principle to extend the H-Bahn route. He took up existing requirements from the Science Master Plan of the City of Dortmund and the Campus 2030 concept, which favored extensions to the White Field in Oespel and the Barop car park. H-Bahn GmbH and DSW21 then started planning a section up to the Hauert street. The new stop would be 410 meters west of the current technology center terminus. At the beginning of 2020, the plan approval procedure had not yet been initiated. Concrete planning work to extend this section of the route to the White Field and for the route in the direction of the Barop multi-storey car park has not yet become known.

Bypass university - FH - port

According to current political endeavors, a route from the university to the port is to be checked and implemented. This is about the connection between the university, the future site of the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences in the Unionviertel and the port, which will be redesigned in the near future. At the same time, a classic light rail connection is also being examined as an alternative.


Düsseldorf Airport logo 2013.png
Route length: 2.5 km
Power system : 400 V 50 Hz 
Top speed: 50 km / h
Long-distance train station S 1
S-Bahn Terminal ↔ Düsseldorf-Unterrath
Parking garage P4 / P5
Terminal A / B
Terminal C S 11
SkyTrain at Düsseldorf Airport

Since July 1, 2002 there is another system; it is located at Düsseldorf Airport . Construction began in November 1996. First, the section between the long-distance train station and Terminal A / B was put into operation. This route is 2.5 kilometers long and has a gradient of up to 4%. The last section, around 250 meters long, to Terminal C was opened around 1½ years later with the completion of the terminal. The construction costs amounted to around 150 million euros, of which the airport train station devoured 35 million euros. 62% of the construction costs were covered by subsidies.

Up to six trains run on the route, each made up of two cabins that are connected to one another, each 18.4 meters long and 2.56 meters wide and operated with a voltage of 400 volts. Each two-car train offers 64 standing and 30 seats. At three-minute intervals, the train transports up to 2000 passengers an hour from 3:45 a.m. to 0:45 a.m. The route is traveled through at a cruising speed of 21 km / h on average in seven minutes, the maximum speed is 50 km / h.

In its initial phase, the railway had several problems with the sensitive design of the safety systems, which resulted in unfounded emergency braking on the open route. This led to the discontinuation of operations in phases. A shuttle bus service was then offered as an alternative . From October 31 to December 4, 2005, work was mainly carried out on the route.

After another breakdown on January 10, 2006, in which passengers were stuck in the car for more than two hours, the system was taken out of service again. The SkyTrain stood still from January to September 16, 2006 for the exchange of the guideway girders and for the system integration of the refurbished vehicles. The Siemens TS company bore the costs for the rail replacement service that became necessary at this time. Operations were temporarily resumed on September 16, 2006, after the control technology and vehicles were revised, the dispatching at the stops accelerated and the operational management optimized, so that improved comfort, higher speed and thus higher passenger transport capacities were the result.

Four days after the provisional restart, the train stopped again on September 20, 2006 and twenty passengers were only able to leave the vehicle after 46 minutes, although the operational management concept had been practiced for a long time.

On December 7th, 2006 the SkyTrain was finally accepted by the airport. According to the airport, an availability of the system of over 99% was proven prior to acceptance. Siemens remains the operator of the system and is also liable for further failures of the railway over the warranty period of 25 years.

Currently (August 2020) the SkyTrain only runs Monday-Saturday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. due to the corona pandemic; outside this time, replacement buses shuttle between the long-distance train station and the terminal.

The stops are announced in German and English.

Association tariff and special regulations

Dortmund University, transition to the S1 of the VRR

Both tracks are in the tariff system of the VRR involved. If you only want to travel with the H-Bahn in Dortmund, you can purchase a ticket according to the special tariff, which is valid for two hours. In Düsseldorf, a corresponding parking ticket and tickets for the visitor terraces are also valid as a ticket. The free ride on the severely handicapped is also given.

See also

Web links


Commons : H-Bahn Dortmund  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


Commons : SkyTrain  - collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. H. Hedayati: The H-Bahn, a topic in the seventies in Erlangen. In: http://www.hedayati.eu/index.html . January 7, 2019, accessed January 1, 2019 .
  2. Entry dated May 29, 2009 in the commercial register of the Dortmund Register Court as no. HRB 22076. www.handelsregister.de
  3. HE WEI XIE YU: monorail to ease congestion Shanghai - People's Daily Online. In: english.peopledaily.com.cn. May 9, 2013, accessed December 29, 2013 .
  4. Ni Yinbin: plan calls for suspension monorail. In: shanghaidaily.com. Shanghai Daily, November 17, 2012, accessed December 29, 2013 .
  5. Train in the air: Shanghai will introduce H-Bahn. In: Radio China International. May 9, 2013, accessed December 29, 2013 .
  6. Saturday operation of the H-Bahn starts on June 30th - TU Dortmund. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 29, 2018 ; accessed on June 29, 2018 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.tu-dortmund.de
  7. Infrastructure and operational data. H-Bahn-Gesellschaft Dortmund, accessed on September 10, 2011 .
  8. VRR press release dated May 10, 2010 ( Memento of the original dated November 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.vrr.de
  9. "The Dortmund H-Bahn is getting a third track" - Interview with Rolf Schupp, the managing director of the H-Bahn-Gesellschaft mbH Dortmund, in the Dortmund student magazine "Mandatory reading"
  10. a b H-Bahn heading for a new track. In: einundzwanzig.de - online magazine of the group of companies DSW 21. Dortmunder Stadtwerke, September 2012, accessed on March 19, 2017 .
  11. Tobias Großekemper, Alexandra Neuhaus and Oliver Koch: 27 injured: H-Bahn runs again after an accident. In: ruhrnachrichten.de. May 16, 2012, accessed December 29, 2013 .
  12. ^ Message on the homepage of November 12, 2013
  13. ^ Dortmund urban railway development concept - investigation report and measures. Resolved by the Dortmund City Council on February 14, 2008. (PDF; 868 KiB) (No longer available online.) Stadtbahnbauamt der Stadt Dortmund / DSW 21, archived from the original on March 16, 2012 ; Retrieved September 9, 2011 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.stadtbahnbauamt.dortmund.de
  14. ^ SPD Dortmund: Mobility for Dortmund: The H-Bahn. In: SPD Dortmund. February 14, 2020, accessed March 10, 2020 .
  15. nordstadtblogger: Transport connection from the university via "Smart Rhino" to the port? Politics discussed underground and H-Bahn - airport remains outside. In: nordstadtblogger. May 8, 2020, accessed May 15, 2020 .
  16. Notification of SkyTrain out of service . In: Eisenbahn-Revue International . Issue 3/2006, ISSN  1421-2811 , p. 110.
  17. https://www.oepnv-info.de/freifahrt/informationen/nordrhein-westfalen/schwebebahnen-hochbahnen-nordrhein-westfalen/skytrain-flughafen-duesseldorf