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Siemens Mobility Launches First Battery-Powered Trains in Germany's Ortenau Region

Siemens Mobility Launches First Battery-Powered Trains in Germany's Ortenau Region
photo: Siemens Mobility / Public domain/Siemens Mireo Plus B
10 / 04 / 2024

Innovative technology along with even more climate protection and greater comfort and convenience for passengers – regional rail transport on Network 8 (“Ortenau”) rose to a new level on April 8, 2024, as the first four battery-powered trains from Siemens Mobility began 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 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 in 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 of 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 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. Since then, trains in the Kinzig Valley, for example, have been running straight through from Offenburg via Hausach to Hornberg without requiring changes. And passengers traveling to Freudenstadt usually have to change trains in Hausach, since the battery trains can serve the Freudenstadt station on the regular schedule only when an additional switch connection has been installed there.

As a result of the timetable change in December 2023, passenger service has been improved by closing previous gaps in the schedule. 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 the consumption of diesel by around 1.8 million liters per year. In battery operation and under real conditions, the Mireo Plus B has a range of up to 120 kilometers. 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.

About the new technology

Manufacturer Siemens Mobility won Baden-Württemberg’s open-technology call for tenders for Network 8 with its Mireo Plus B design. This led to Baden-Württemberg’s State Agency for Rail Vehicles (SFBW) ordering 27 Mireo Plus B two-car, battery trainsets from Siemens Mobility. The trains will be serviced and maintained by Siemens Mobility for SWEG for about 30 years in the newly built rail maintenance depot in Offenburg that opened in June 2023. Condition-based, predictive maintenance of the trains is made possible by the use of the cloud-based Siemens Mobility Railigent X Suite application. Thanks to advanced algorithms and data analytics, train operations are optimized, and potential disruptions are detected and handled before they lead to breakdowns. This ensures 100 percent availability of the fleet. The charging infrastructure for the new trains was installed by SWEG Schienenwege GmbH at the Achern and Biberach (Baden) train stations.

About Network 8

Following the timetable change made in mid-December 2023, Network 8 (“Ortenau”) includes the following routes: Offenburg – Hornberg/Freudenstadt; Offenburg – Bad Griesbach; Offenburg – Achern – Ottenhöfen; and Biberach (Baden) – Oberharmersbach-Riersbach. In addition, the reactivated Hermann Hesse line between Calw and Renningen is planned to become part of the network as of 2025. All in all, Network 8 handles around two-and-a-half million train kilometers per year. The state of Baden-Württemberg awarded operation of the network to SWEG until December 2038.


Source: Siemens Mobility Press Releases