THE first Siemens Mobility Mireo Plus B battery-powered train entered service in southern Germany on April 8.

After an inaugural return trip between Offenburg and Oberkirch in Baden-Württemberg, the train joined three others in regular passenger service with regional operator Southwest German Transport (Sweg), replacing RS1 RegioShuttle DMUs on the Ortenau Network 8 regional network radiating from Offenburg.

Baden-Württemberg state-owned rolling stock leasing company SFBW ordered 27 Mireo Plus B trains from Siemens Mobility in 2020 and the first two-car train, with capacity for 120 seated passengers, was unveiled at InnoTrans 2022.

The trains have a range of up to 120km in battery mode and can operate as conventional EMUs under overhead electrification, which can also be used, along with regenerative braking, to recharge the batteries. Siemens has so far secured orders for a total of around 80 Mireo Plus Bs, nearly all for use within Germany.

Siemens estimates that that the two battery packs in each train will last for 15 years, meaning that it expects only one full change of batteries in the lifetime of each train.

Speaking after the inaugural journey from Offenburg, Mr Albrecht Neumann, CEO rolling stock at Siemens, said that the new trains would cost substantially less to purchase and operate than DMUs. “We reckon they will be at least 25% cheaper than diesel trains,” he said. When all 27 trains are in service in Baden- Württemberg, consumption of diesel fuel is expected to reduce by 1.8 million litres a year.

“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,” says Mr Winfried Hermann, minister of transport for the state of Baden-Württemberg. “All trains should be climate-friendly. We are relying on alternative, climate-friendly solutions wherever there is no overhead power available.”

The new trains will initially be used on the lines from Offenburg to Bad Griesbach and Hornberg.

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