THE European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €95m in funding towards the development and purchase of 31 Siemens Mobility two-car battery-electric Mireo Plus B trains that will begin operating on the East Brandenburg network from December 2024.

Neiderbarnimer Railway (NEB) awarded the order for the fleet of 31 two-car trains in November last year. The contract includes 12 years of maintenance and supply of spare parts.

The European Commission (EC) is also supporting the project with funds from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport and the NER 300 programme which focuses on the demonstration of environmentally safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies EIB says the order is one of the first operations to fully meet both the climate and sustainability goals of the European Union (EU) promotional bank.

The EIB funding will be added to €70m from KfW IPEX-Bank and up to €34m from NordLB into a special purpose vehicle under the umbrella of rolling stock lessor Alpha Trains, which will also contribute financially to the project. The special purpose vehicle will own the trains and lease them to NEB. Under this arrangement, the financing of the fleet is not affected by the duration of the 12-year operating contract between VBB and NEB which begins in December 2024.

The 47m-long 15 kV, 16.7 Hz trains will be fitted with lithium-ion batteries that will be charged when the train is operating on electric power. Regenerative braking will also charge the batteries. The trains will reduce annual consumption of diesel fuel by around 4.4 million litres and will eliminate local CO2 emissions.

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