Deutsche Bahn begins construction of overhead contact line islands in Schleswig-Holstein

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Deutsche Bahn (DB) has started building an innovative infrastructure in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, for the future energy supply of battery-powered trains.

Instead of end-to-end electrification of every kilometer of track, the new technology only requires the electrification of short sections of track or individual stations. The battery trains use the overhead line, which is only a few hundred meters to a few kilometers long, to charge their batteries for journeys in a non-electrified section. 

In the future, more than ten million kilometers of train traffic in Schleswig-Holstein can be driven electrically, on which diesel trains were previously used. This saves ten million liters of diesel fuel per year.

Initially, more than 30 additional catenary masts are required in the Kiel and Büchen stations. By the end of 2023, DB will then build the first overhead contact line islands and charging substations for feeding in the traction current on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein in Heide, Husum and Tönning, on behalf of the state and the local transport company.

“With innovative infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology, we are continuing to push ahead with the expansion of alternative drives,” said DB Infrastructure board member Berthold Huber. “Our goal is clear: Deutsche Bahn will be climate-neutral by 2040. We are also helped by creative solutions such as the overhead contact line island for battery-powered trains.” 

“Thanks to battery-powered trains, most of the diesel multiple units in Schleswig-Holstein will soon be obsolete. New infrastructure solutions are also needed for this innovative solution in the field of vehicles,” added Schleswig-Holstein’s Economics Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen. “The construction of the overhead line islands for the battery trains is an important step toward climate-neutral local transport for the country.”

After Kiel and Büchen, DB is also using the innovative solution at other locations. In March 2023, the expansion of the existing overhead line in Bad Oldesloe and between Kiel and Kiel-Hassee and from April 2023 on the Flensburg-Kiel route will begin.