Accessing the train
Which country these trains operate in.
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.
At the largest hauptbahnhofs/main stations, the S-Bahn trains have dedicated platforms - follow the signs that have a green letter ‘S
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 Berlin, Frankfurt (Main), Hamburg and Munchen/Munich) 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.
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.
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.
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.
Non-folding bikes can generally be taken on board these trains, but specific terms and conditions such as, bikes being restricted at certain times of day are dependent on the region in which you will be travelling.
The specific terms can also include only needing to purchase a bike ticket during rush hours, or bike tickets being valid for a day’s travel and not just on specific departures.
So it’s worth clicking on the links to the specific regional information on this page on the DB website– using Google Translate if need be.
Though what’s universal when taking bike on to a S-Bah service is that bike spaces can’t be reserved in advance, so you cannot ever be 100% certain that space will be available on the train that you have boarded.
This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.