ALSTOM and German Rail (DB), in cooperation with the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, will commence passenger trials with a BEMU in Baden-Württemberg on January 24 and February 5 in Bavaria.

DB Regio will operate the trains with the tests continuing until the beginning of May 2022.

Alstom commenced a project to develop BEMUs in 2016 in cooperation with the Technical University of Berlin with support from the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) and funding from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.

The trains will operate on the Stuttgart - Horb line in Baden-Württemberg on weekdays and on the Pleinfeld - Gunzenhausen line in the Franconian Lake District of northern Bavaria at weekends. The Stuttgart - Horb line is electrified and the batteries will be charged on route. In Bavaria the trains will operate on a non-electrified line, with recharging only taking place at the terminal stations on the route.

Alstom says the project will provide it with valuable data as well as an opportunity to demonstrate the viability of its solution, which it intends to use on its Coradia platform. The supplier won a contract to supply 11 three-car Coradia Continental BEMUs to Mid Saxony Transport Authority (VMS), with the support of Greater Leipzig Transport Authority (ZVNL) in February 2020.

“DB wants to be climate-neutral by 2040 and this first battery train in passenger service represents the next big step towards emission-free trains in Germany’s regional transport,” says DB Regio CEO, Dr Jörg Sandvoss. “With this test, DB Regio wants to gain practical experience in order to master these future technologies in operation and maintenance. The trial operation provides new technical and operational knowledge in handling this innovative climate-friendly drive technology.”