Bavaria’s first hydrogen-powered train is to be displayed to the German public in the spring of 2022.
On Monday, 15th March, representatives of Siemens Mobility and Bayerische Regiobahn (BRB), in the presence of Bavaria’s Economic Affairs Minister, Hubert Aiwanger, and Bavaria’s Transport Minister, Christian Bernreiter, signed a leasing contract for a prototype train. The contract follows a letter of intent signed by all participants in July 2021.
Beginning in mid-2023, the train will be tested on several BRB routes, including on the Augsburg-Füssen route. Pilot operations on BRB’s rail network are initially planned for 30 months, with the train expected to enter passenger service officially in January 2024.
The train being developed is a two-car hydrogen-powered unit based on Siemens Mobility’s Mireo Plus platform, which is available in a battery-powered version as well as with a conventional electric drive. Main components of the hydrogen traction drive are roof-mounted fuel cells; the train also has the latest generation of underfloor batteries supplied by the battery specialist Saft.
Bavaria’s Economic Affairs Minister, Hubert Aiwanger, said: “Green hydrogen is becoming a key pillar for comprehensive climate protection in the areas of transportation, industry, and energy. As Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, I am pleased that our Bavarian Hydrogen Strategy can increasingly address concrete issues.
This train is an important part of this strategy towards a “transport turnaround” with hydrogen, which is why we are promoting this project. I am convinced that with green hydrogen propulsions we can significantly reduce pollutant emissions in heavy-duty and rail transport and contribute to decarbonization. The one-sided dependence on energy supplies can also be reduced and spread across many regions of the world.”
Bavaria’s Transport Minister, Christian Bernreiter, explained: “I’m really pleased that we’ll soon be able to introduce this innovative technology in Bavaria and test it in regular operation. We’re working closely with our partners to get this lighthouse project under way because we’re convinced hydrogen propulsion can also contribute to attractive and even climate-neutral passenger rail transport. Our goal is to achieve this by 2040 at the latest. Bavaria’s support of the pilot project with funding of several million euros is more than well-invested.”
Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock, Siemens Mobility, said: “Our Mireo Plus H is the latest-generation hydrogen-powered train. It features high driving power, excellent acceleration capability, and a large operating range. This will make rail transport faster, more efficient, eco-friendlier, and more comfortable. The hydrogen-powered drive is an emission-free, advanced form of propulsion for trains that decarbonizes rail transport and makes a substantial contribution toward reaching our climate goals.”
Arnulf Schuchmann, Managing Director of Bayerische Regiobahn, said: “Bayerische Regiobahn sees itself as a reliable mobility partner for the Bavarian public and would like to provide them with climate-friendly service day after day. We’re also thinking of the future and are happy to be helping set the course for tomorrow’s mobility today. Notwithstanding all the effort associated with the project, we are very much looking forward to the test operations in our rail network and the know-how we gain for using hydrogen technology in the rail sector.
“Together with the Transdev Group, to which we belong, and our entire on-site team, we will prepare the project in the best possible way in order to ensure a smooth test start next year.”