The two companies are expected to sign the formal supply agreement by the end of the year with tests due to conclude in 2020, and commercial availability expected in 2021. The conversion project will upgrade current diesel engines to comply with EU Stage V emissions standards, providing a 70% reduction in NOx emissions and a 90% fall in particulates while the trains will offer emission-free operation when entering and leaving stations.

“The partnership with MTU is important to future-proof the asset life of the vehicles which around 15 years into their 30-year life,” Grant said.

MTU also signed an agreement to conduct feasibility studies with Abellio Rail Mitteldeutschland, Alstom, and Saxony-Anhalt public transport authority to implement hybrid powerpacks on a fleet of 54 Coradia Lint DMUs used on the Saxony-Anhalt diesel network. The partners plan to sign a contract to retrofit three vehicles once the feasibility study concludes.

The hybrid power packs are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25% and noise emissions by 75%.

“As one of the largest operators of local rail passenger transport services in Saxony-Anhalt, we are aware of the special role we play in climate protection and, with this project, are pressing ahead unswervingly in the transition to lower-emission solutions,” says Mr Stephan Schreier, managing director, operations at Abellio.