Batteries instead of diesel – first trains into passenger service in Ortenau

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The first four battery-powered trains from Siemens Mobility are now in regular service, marking a premiere in Germany.

The official start was celebrated by an exclusive inaugural trip from Offenburg to Oberkirch and back, and was accompanied by Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport for the state of Baden-Württemberg, together with numerous invited guests. “We are writing a new chapter in railway history with this opening trip,” commented Minister Hermann. “Thanks to the battery hybrid drive of the Mireo Plus B, trains operating in the Ortenau region as of today are more climate-friendly than those using diesel. Baden-Württemberg is a pioneer with innovative train technology. All trains should be climate-friendly. We are relying on alternative, climate-friendly solutions wherever there are still no overhead power lines.”

SWEG CEO Tobias Harms said: “SWEG not only stands for quality, but also for innovation. We are especially pleased to now be able to make these innovative trains available to our passengers and will be demonstrating our role as a reliable partner to both the state of Baden-Württemberg and Siemens Mobility.”

Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock at Siemens Mobility, said: “We are proud that our first fleet of Mireo Plus B battery trains is now going into passenger service. We would like to thank the state of Baden-Württemberg and SWEG for their trust and confidence in our innovative and environmentally friendly technology. By expanding rail transport, we can make an active contribution to climate protection. The introduction of these highly advanced trains, which can operate up to 120 kilometers on battery power, marks an important step towards a sustainable future.”

Where the new trains are running

The hybrid trains will initially be used on the routes from Offenburg to Bad Griesbach and from Offenburg to Hornberg. They replace the diesel-powered Regio Shuttle RS1. Plans call for gradually extending hybrid service on other routes in the network. In preparation for introducing the Siemens Mobility trains, the network timetable was adjusted in mid-December 2023.

Trains now operate at least on an hourly basis on all routes from early morning to evening. “With the new network and the new trains, we are increasing the service frequency and providing higher capacity. Passengers now have more comfortable and attractive options for changing trains and boarding – whether in the cities or country,” noted Minister of Transport Hermann.

Innovative train: the Siemens Mireo Plus B

Powered by green electricity, the Mireo Plus B battery-electric multiple-unit trains produce no emissions and are extremely quiet. Thanks to their battery hybrid drive, they can be used on routes with and without overhead power lines. In the future, when they operate throughout the entire network and replace the diesel-powered Regio Shuttle, they will slash consumption of diesel by around 1.8 million litres per year. In battery operation and under real conditions, the Mireo Plus B has a range of up to 120km. Its batteries can be recharged from the overhead line and with braking energy. The battery system, installed beneath the car floor, includes two battery containers holding lithium-ion batteries with a long service life. The trainsets have 120 seats and are equipped with a toilet, air conditioning and spacious special use areas.