S-Bahn (Germany)

S-Bahn trains are found in virtually all major German cities and other built up areas in the country.

Think of S-Bahn trains as being similar to Underground and other metro trains.
Like Underground/Metro trains, S-Bahn trains follow set routes, which are numbered, and they call at every station on that route.

Also like metro trains, S-Bahn trains are functional rather than comfortable, with more passengers standing rather than sitting at busy times.

However, in most cities the S-Bahn trains have some 1st class seats (marked by a yellow stripe above the windows).
But don’t expect luxury, you’re primarily paying extra for exponentially increasing your chances of finding a seat, even on the busiest trains.

In some locations the S-Bahn trains cross city centres, usually in underground tunnels (that are separate to those used by the inner city U-Bahn trains).

As a result they often call at stations closer to the city centres than the hauptbahnhofs/main stations (this applies in Berlin, Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg and Munchen/Munich).

So it can be worth checking to see if your final city centre destination is adjacent to a S-Bahn station (particularly if you have a rail pass, as they can be used on S-Bahn trains) and make connections into the S-Bahn trains to continue your journey.

At the largest hauptbahnhofs/main stations, the S-Bahn trains have dedicated platforms - follow the signs that have a green letter ‘S’.

Some routes taken by S-Bahn trains can be fairly long, as they can connect cities.

However, when travelling between cities the Regio trains will almost certainly be faster, as the S-Bahn trains call at every station and the Regio trains will skip many stations - but if no Regio train is due, it can be quicker to take the S-Bahn.

(Look out for connections that involve S-Bahn trains when booking tickets on DB-Bahn - switching from an ICE train to a S-Bahn train is a markedly different travel experience).

S-Bahn services/routes also provide the main city centre to airport/flughafen train connections in Koln/Bonn, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt (Main), Hannover, Hamburg, Munchen/Munich and Nurnberg.

An overview of train travel in Germany

How to buy tickets for German train journeys

Travelling ON the trains in Germany

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

International train routes to/from Germany

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