NAH.SH rolls out first battery-electric trains from Stadler in Northern Germany

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Schleswig-Holstein local transport association NAH.SH has announced that the first Stadler Flirt Akku battery-electric trains are now in regular service with private rail operator Erixx Holstein in northern Germany.

The roll out of the first battery-electric multiple units (BEMU) means that 68% of all routes in Schleswig-Holstein are now operated electrically – the second highest percentage in Germany.

The first BEMUs, which replace diesel-powered vehicles, were put into revenue service on the Kiel and Kiel-Oppendorf route in early October. Now the battery trains will also be operational on the Kiel – Lübeck and Lüneburg line.

All 55 BEMU trains, ordered from Stadler in 2019, are set to enter service by mid-2024.

Schleswig-Holstein’s transport minister, Claus Ruhe Madsen, said, “We are taking a huge step towards emission-free local transport with the 55 battery-powered trains that will be on 11 railway lines in the country next year. To our pioneering role, we can be really proud.”

The battery-powered trains are set to save around 10 million liters of diesel annually and avoid around 26,000 tons of CO2, according to NAH.SH.

Jure Mikolčić, CEO of Stadler Germany, added, “As a technology leader, we are particularly proud that the first fleet of our Flirt battery trains is now in regular operation in Schleswig-Holstein and will help reduce CO2 emissions.”

The new BEMU vehicles can travel around 80km on a full charge. The batteries are charged using overhead lines in train stations or via the existing OLE on specific routes.

According to NAH.SH, the train timetables for the battery networks have been designed so that charging times are sufficient and there is enough travel time to the next overhead line.

Madsen added, “I would also like to thank DB Netz AG, which helped us a lot in expanding the supporting infrastructure for the trains has supported. This shows me once again that we can make a difference in rail transport if everyone works well together.”

To maintain the trains, Stadler is building a new workshop in Rendsburg at a cost of around €30m. The opening of this workshop is planned for spring 2024. Stadler has a 30-year contract with NAH.SH for the maintenance of the BEMUs.