Berlin is opening up its local train service to foreign competition in a move to keep down costs and put an end to the need for state and city subsidies. It is hoping that other European and also Asian train operators will apply to run parts of the S-Bahn service now managed by Deutsche Bahn. This does not include the city's underground.
When the Deutsche Bahn Berlin S-Bahn contract comes to an end in 2017 the network will be divided into three different sections. At the moment it is made up of 160 stations, 330 kms of track and transports about 1.3 million passengers a day.
The first tender is for the Ring Bahn around Berlin city centre. The closing date for bids is 15 October. Tenders will also soon be announced for the north-south and then the east-west lines.
The new contracts will be for 15 years and bidders are expected to put up €1 billion for new trains and equipment. One of the problems facing the existing service has been lack of investment.