MunichU- Bahn

1 The Prototype

Munich has two rapid-transit networks, both of which were started in the late 1960s in preparation for the 1974 Olympic Games. The S-Bahn links together a number of db suburban rail routes through a tunnel under the city centre between the Hauptbahnhof and the Ostbahnhof; the U-Bahn is a light metro operated by the city transport undertaking (mvg). While many people complain about the S-Bahn, which is very vulnerable to delays because of the heavily-used city centre tunnel (which has to handle a train every 90 seconds in the rush hour), the U-Bahn seems to have achieved the rare distinction among urban transport systems of being popular with the people who have to use it every day.

The U-Bahn network has been expanding steadily since the first routes opened, and now covers about 90 route-km. At present there are six lines (U1-U6) operating on three “trunk routes” under the city centre. The U7 and U8 provide additional rush-hour links.

Simplified network diagram

The system is entirely grade-separated from other traffic (most of it is in tunnel), and uses third-rail dc supply on the usual German bottom-contact system.

1.1 Trains

There are three types of trains in use:

  • The A-type, which are the most common, were built from the opening of the system until the early 1980s. They are two-car sets which can be coupled to make trains up to six cars long.
  • The B-type is essentially a modernised version of the A — they are easily identified by their big windscreens, but the most important difference lies in their updated traction system, using semiconductor inverters to drive three-phase induction motors.
  • The C-type trains were intended to replace the older A’s, but have been slow to enter service. They are futuristic-looking six-car sets. Unlike the older trains, they have a very open interior design, with wide gangway connections between cars.

1.2 Signalling

U-Bahn trains can operate in two modes:

  • fo: manual control of the train using visible signals
  • lzb: automatic train operation using continuous transmission of control signals from an induction loop; the visible signals are switched off when a train is approaching them under lzb.

Nomally, passenger trains operate under lzb except in emergencies, apart from a couple of hours late at night when drivers are required to use manual mode for training purposes (see the book cited below for a full description).

2 The model

Still at a very early stage. The aim is to produce a non-scenic working model of the whole system that will run at a reasonable framerate. Basic principles:

  • no tunnel scenery for the time being — it’s more fun if you can see the trains on other lines
  • surface sections will get basic terrain
  • stations have at least basic platform scenery
  • some of the more interesting stations may be modelled in more detail
  • trains operate in fo (manual) mode — again, I chose to do this because visible signals are more interesting to watch. Also partly because lzb might be tricky to simulate at the moment…
  • see MunichU- Bahn Panels for details of the signal panels included in the layout

2.1 Progress so far:

  • A-type stock model built
  • Bottom-contact 3rd rail track, platforms to match the wide stock, basic signals built
  • Map prepared
  • All routes laid in rough with the digitiser
  • U1, U2 and U3 completed and running a basic off-peak timetable
  • U6 complete to Garching-Hochbrück, including the 2005 rebuilding of Fröttmaning station
  • U4/U5 and Neuperlach Süd depot done
  • Northern depot still to do.

2.2 More Screenshots of the work in progress

Line U6 from one end to the other…

MunichU- Bahn
Waiting for departure at Klinikum Großhadern
MunichU- Bahn
Interchange with U3 at Münchner Freiheit
MunichU- Bahn
Football? What football? — Fröttmaning

(there is still a depot to build between the reversing sidings and the stadium)

MunichU- Bahn
Train-jam at Garching-Hochbrück

3 2008 Version

Since I started work on this model, the prototype has changed a bit too. I’ve been working on a new version of the layout, based on the U-Bahn as it is in 2008. Main changes:

  • Network brought up to date:
    • U3 extension to oez;
    • U6 to Garching-Forschungszentrum
    • U7/U8 removed
  • Tunnel scenery roughed out on U6 route
  • Scripted departure times — still not a complete representation of the timetable, but it does allow train frequencies to change according to the time of day, and is set up to reduce the risk of jams at reversing points.

Still to do:

  • C-type trains (not modelled yet…)
  • Getting the trains into the depot at night and back out again!
  • More, and better, tunnel scenery

4 Download

You can download the layout from

5 Resources

  • W. Pischek & H. Junghardt, Die Münchner U-Bahn (2nd ed., GeraMond Verlag, München, 2002) isbn 3–7654–7194–1
  • http://www.mvg-mobil.de/mvg site, with network maps, timetables, etc.
  • http://www.muenchnerubahn.de/ — unofficial site with a lot of photos, technical information, etc.

Mark Hodson July 08, 2005, at 02:25 pm