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.

Read More about German trains

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