Czech Railways issues tender for 15 battery-powered trains

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Czech Railways has issued a new tender for the supply and service of 15 battery-powered trains, which can also be powered by overhead traction lines. The trains must have a range of at least 80km in battery mode and will be used in operations in the Moravian-Silesian region.

The Czech rail operator also revealed that in the future it plans to acquire additional battery-powered trains for use in various regions throughout the Czech Republic.

The tender is part Czech Railways’ Strategy 2030, which will see more than €4 billion invested in the renewal of trains over the next seven years. The rail firm currently has 110 Škoda Group RegioPanter electric units, 76 PESA motor units, 20 nine-car ComfortJet express trains and 50 Siemens Vectron electric locomotives on order. 

As part of the latest tender announcement, Czech Railways wants to buy 15 units in a two-system design for power supply from a 3 kV DC and 25 kV 50 Hz AC trolley and additionally from a battery (BEMU 140 AC/DC). In the future, the company plans to acquire another type of battery train with only 25 kV 50 Hz AC and battery power (BEMU 140 AC) for regions with a single power supply system.

The battery units will be equipped with an ETCS and GSM-R security and communication system. When powered from the trolley, they will have a maximum speed of 160 km/h and the batteries will reach 120 km/h. The units will be equipped with a recuperation system that will allow the electricity produced during braking to be returned to the traction network or to the batteries. Thanks to this, the energy demand of new trains will be reduced. The ability to operate several connected units in one train controlled by one driver is required.

The deployment of the first battery trains is expected in 2025. The expected volume of investment, including the purchase of trains, selected spare parts and service for a period of 15 years, is CZK 3.4 billion (€125m).

“On electrified sections, the new trains will be powered directly from the trolley, and on non-electrified lines, the drive is provided by electricity stored in the battery,” said Michal Krapinec, chairman of the board and CEO of Czech Railways. “The plan to deploy battery trains is the furthest in the Moravian-Silesian Region, for which we are now planning to purchase 15 battery units.

“We will then drive the new vehicles without changing between electrified and non-electrified lines. Passengers will no longer need to transfer between electric and motor vehicles. Thanks to this, we will offer direct connections without transfers from various corners of the region, for example from Krnov or Budišov nad Budišovka, directly to the center of Ostrava, and at the same time we will replace motor trains and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” added Krapinec.