Stadler to invest €30m in new maintenance workshop for Schleswig-Holstein battery trains

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Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler has begun work on a new €30m state-of-the-art maintenance workshop in Rendsburg, Germany, which once operational will service the new FLIRT Akku battery-electric trains due to go into operation in Schleswig-Holstein this year.

The new trains will be operated by Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein (NAH.SH) – the local transport association in the Schleswig-Holstein region in northern Germany. The two-car multiple units will go into service from 2023 on the North and East networks in Schleswig-Holstein, which are not electrified or only partially electrified.

NAH.SH invited tenders for the construction of rail vehicles with alternative drive technologies as part of the first open-technology tender ever organized in Germany and awarded the contract for 55 battery-electric FLIRT Akku vehicles, as well as their maintenance over a period of 30 years, to Stadler in 2019.

The new 77,000m2 maintenance workshop is due to open in Spring 2024. It will provide charging infrastructure for the FLIRT Akku trains, a vehicle hall with two tracks, pits and roof work stands for maintenance, an office, and an external cleaning system.

The facility will also provide treatment, supercharging and storage for the batteries that will power the FLIRT Akku trains. Furthermore, the maintenance hub will feature a solution for monitoring the batteries – data from this process will then be used to evaluate whether additional maintenance is required.

Minister for Economy, Transport, Labor, Technology and Tourism for Schleswig-Holstein, Claus Ruhe Madsen, said, “The maintenance workshop in Rendsburg is an important building block for the climate-neutral battery-powered train future in our country. For the city of Rendsburg the workshop also means that specialists can be retained in a future-proof industry. A great development both for our climate protection goals and for Schleswig-Holstein as a business location.”

Dr Arne Beck, managing director of NAH.SH, added, “The battery trains are not only a real benefit for climate protection, but also for our passengers, who later this year in super modern, quieter, air-conditioned and barrier-free vehicles can travel even more comfortably through the country.”

Daniel Baer, head of the service division at Stadler, concluded, “The new maintenance workshop is tailored precisely to the needs and special features of the battery trains. This facility and the FLIRT battery vehicles represent a significant contribution to the decarbonization of public rail transport on the non-electrified routes in Schleswig-Holstein.”

The FLIRT Akku is designed for non-electrified or only partially electrified routes. When running under an overhead contact line, the vehicle operates in the traditional electric way and charges its batteries. When the overhead contact line comes to an end, it can switch to battery operation during the journey. This makes the FLIRT Akku extremely versatile for use on a wide range of routes without producing any local CO2 emissions. The battery can be charged not only under overhead contact lines, but also at electrified stops and with standardized UIC preheating devices. In addition, kinetic energy is recovered during braking.

In 2021, Stadler set the world record of 224 kilometers travelled in battery mode during a track test with the FLIRT Akku prototype.