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The S-Bahn is Berlin's suburban railway system, and together with the U-Bahn it forms the backbone of the public transport system.
"S-Bahn" is short for "Schnellbahn", i.e. "fast railway", and forms a seperate network of electric trains run by a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, Germany's national railway operator. Services are fast and frequent, with trains running every 3 - 5 minutes on the busiest stretches in the centre, every 10 minutes on the suburban stretches, and on some of the outer stretches every 20 minutes.
Tip: Don't confuse S-Bahn with Straßenbahn, which is the tram network.
The S-Bahn has three routes in and around the centre of Berlin: the Ring Line, which forms a loop around the city centre; the Stadtbahn, which crosses east-west through the city centre, and the North-South S-Bahn, which as its name implies, runs from north to south through the city centre, crossing the Stadtbahn at Friedrichstrasse. Outside of the ring line, suburban lines branch off in all directions, some entering into the neighbouring state of Brandenburg.
Currently there are 15 numbered S-Bahn lines.