Back to basics, instead of hydrogen, the trains run on diesel again

Following the confusion caused by numerous train cancellations along the Taunusbahn route, the Rhein-Main-Verkehrs-Verbund (RMV) pledges that starting on Monday, February 27, traffic will run on schedule. The managing director of the transportation organization, Knut Ringat, stated on Friday that a train should operate at any scheduled time.

He claims that new hydrogen trains will be used alongside diesel railcars. Even if a train arrives on schedule, buses run as replacement services as a backup in case trains are postponed once again. At the stations, service personnel would be on hand to direct passengers to the stop of the replacement buses.

Because of clearing work in advance of building work, the Taunusbahn route is presently closed. The traffic on the railway will be fully stopped from February 10 to February 26. The Taunusbahn, Regionalbahn 15 of the RMV, travels from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Brandoberndorf in the Lahn-Dill-Kreis via Bad Homburg, Friedrichsdorf, Usingen, and Grävenwiesbach. Moreover, S-Bahn trains go to Friedrichsdorf. The S-Bahn cannot continue on that line because it is not electrified. The line is 60 kilometers long, of which 37 kilometers are on the Friedrichsdorf to Brandoberndorf portion without an overhead line.

Six of the 27 ordered hydrogen trains were actually delivered

With the timetable change in December, only hydrogen-powered trains should have operated on the Taunusbahn. The goal was to switch out diesel engines for new, environmentally friendly technologies. This attempt failed because, as Ringtat stated, there weren’t enough of the new trains available at the time of the timetable change. Instead of the 27 replicas that were ordered, the maker of the hydrogen trains, Alstom, had only supplied six.

However, both of these and the diesel cars meant to be their successors had failed as a result of flaws. It was challenging to transfer to the new drive technology in December since a new operator, Start, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, had been given responsibility for the line’s train traffic. The Taunus Railway was previously managed by the Hessian State Railway.

Alstom’s president for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Müslüm Yakisan, announced that ten hydrogen trains from Alstom are scheduled to begin service on the Taunusbahn on Monday, February 27. Five of these vehicles have already received a software update and technical modification. By March, five additional hydrogen trains should also be updated; their engines will get new injection pumps. The pumps employed up until this point were not strong enough. As a backup and supplement, Alstom had lent the Taunusbahn nine diesel trains.

Currently, diesel railcars are also in service

According to Ringat and Dirk Bartels, managing directors of the railway company Start, eleven trains are required for the line’s scheduled traffic. Six diesel railcars and five hydrogen trains are scheduled. The five additional hydrogen trains may replace the diesel trains that currently travel through the Taunus if they were modified. The Frankfurt-Höchst industrial district is where the hydrogen trains must refuel. As a byproduct of making chemicals, hydrogen is created here, said Joachim Kreysing, managing director of Infraserv.

All 27 ordered hydrogen trains ought to be available by the time the schedule is changed again in June, according to Ringat. They could thereafter be used on three additional routes in addition to the Taunus Railway: the Regionalbahn 11 between Bad Soden and Höchst, the Regionalbahn 12 between Frankfurt and Königstein, and the Regionalbahn 16 between Friedrichsdorf and Friedberg.

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