Image: Siemens Mobility

The Bavarian State Ministers for Economic Affairs and Transport have endorsed the testing in Bavaria of a Siemens Mobility GmbH hydrogen-powered train.

Beginning in mid-2023, the two-car train will be tested on the Augsburg – Füssen route, among others. The trial operation on the Bayerische Regiobahn (BRB) rail network is initially scheduled to last 30 months. During this time period, the hydrogen-powered train will be based in Augsburg.

Minister for Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger, Minister for Transport Kerstin Schreyer, and top leaders of Siemens Mobility and Bayerische Regiobahn (BRB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect.

Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger is especially pleased about the development partnership. “The train is another important component in Bavaria’s hydrogen strategy. My ministry is promoting research, development and applications in the field of hydrogen technology. We’re organizing this rail project together with our partners because we’re convinced that hydrogen technology will make a significant contribution to decarbonizing transport. We’ll prove in Bavaria that business and climate protection can be reconciled with green hydrogen.”

Kerstin Schreyer, Bavarian State Minister for Housing, Building and Transport explained: “The Free State of Bavaria sets itself ambitious climate targets and wants to implement a clear climate protection strategy in the transport sector. Innovative technologies and green hydrogen play a special role in this. In addition to the direct use of electricity, hydrogen has the potential to be used in a wide range of flexible applications, so that the rail transport sector can also be completely converted to renewable energies in the future. I am pleased that the Free State can also test this innovative technology in regular operation in this project.”

Karl Blaim, Managing Director of Siemens Mobility: “Siemens Mobility is a leading supplier in the development of alternative drives, which can contribute significantly to reducing emissions, especially in regional transport where there are no electrified overhead lines. The technology partnership between Siemens Mobility and the State of Bavaria enables the further development of the Mireo Plus H for Bavaria and supports climate-friendly passenger transport in the state.”

Arnulf Schuchmann, technical Managing Director of Bayerische Regiobahn, said: “We agreed to test hydrogen technology and to test the Siemens Mobility train in passenger service because we are curious and open to alternative forms of propulsion in the railway sector as well. Within the Transdev Group, to which we belong, there is already a lot of experience with alternative drives in the bus sector.”

However, simply putting the hydrogen train on the track is insufficient, as other factors must be considered throughout operation. Safety criteria must be implemented, staff training must be completed, the vehicle must be refueled, the vehicle’s path must be determined, and several other tasks have already begun.

The hydrogen-powered train is being developed using the Siemens Mobility Mireo Plus H platform. It has a range of up to 800 kilometers and is meant to run on non-electrified rail lines. The hydrogen traction drive’s primary components are two roof-mounted fuel cells. The system is powered by the latest generation of Saft batteries, which are put beneath the floor. The train will make its public debut in the spring of 2022. The first test runs in Bavaria are scheduled for 2023, with the train entering passenger service formally in January 2024.

Siemens Mobility’s sustainability plan includes the development of alternative rail drives. The company is a pioneer in sustainable mobility, and will offer the popular Mireo regional train in both hydrogen and battery-electric configurations. The well-known Mireo Plus H platform is being employed, but with a new generation of batteries to boost performance and passenger comfort even more.

Nedim Husomanovic

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