Stadler inaugurates maintenance facility for battery-powered trains in Rendsburg

After a construction period of 19 months, the Swiss train manufacturer and service provider Stadler has inaugurated its latest service centre in Germany. The ultra-modern facility is specially designed for the maintenance and repair of the new battery-electric regional multiple-unit train fleet of the ‘FLIRT Akku’ type. 

Together with Claus Ruhe Madsen, Minister for Economic Affairs, Transport, Labour, Technology and Tourism for Schleswig-Holstein, Dr Arne Beck, Managing Director of Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein (NAH.SH) and other invited guests from politics and business, Stadler officially opened the state-of-the-art maintenance facility in the heart of Schleswig-Holstein.

Transport Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen: ‘I am delighted that we now have the best conditions in Schleswig-Holstein so that the battery-powered trains can be running for a long time. This is a great development both for our climate protection goals and for Schleswig-Holstein as a business location.’

Dr Arne Beck, Managing Director of NAH.SH, adds: ‘A key contribution to stable operations with the new battery-powered trains is the short distances to good maintenance - and this is carried out by absolute experts in the hands of the manufacturer. It's great that passengers can now benefit from the advantages of battery-powered trains on more and more lines in Schleswig-Holstein.’

The facility was built on a site totalling 77,000 m² in the north of Rendsburg and comprises a vehicle hall equipped with two tracks including pits, roof work stands and workshops, as well as an exterior cleaning facility. The facility was specially designed for the treatment, charging and storage of the batteries that power the FLIRT Akku trains. For this purpose, there are eight outdoor bays with overhead contact line systems where the battery trains can be recharged. Even removed batteries are stored carefully: specially developed diagnostic containers are available for monitoring the train batteries. These collect extensive data on the energy storage systems in order to decide in good time whether additional maintenance measures are required. The signalling technology used on the factory premises also comes from Stadler.

‘We are very proud to be able to inaugurate our first workshop for battery-powered trains today. As the manufacturer and maintainer of the FLIRT Akku fleet for Schleswig-Holstein, we are creating sustainable added value and thus achieving an optimal service life for the train fleet over several decades from a single source,’ explains Daniel Baer, Head of the Service Division at the internationally active Stadler Rail Group. ‘However, the path to this milestone was not easy and was characterised by the coronavirus pandemic and the tense global political situation. Significant time delays, cost increases and material bottlenecks presented us with additional challenges, which we were able to overcome thanks to the good cooperation with all those involved.’

Edzard Lübben, Managing Director of Stadler Rail Service Deutschland GmbH, says: ‘Many thanks to our team, who have driven our common goal forward with their great commitment. The opening of the plant is an important milestone for the region. It not only strengthens the infrastructure in the rail transport sector, but also creates a total of 30 jobs. There are still a few vacancies to be filled in order to further strengthen the local team in Rendsburg.’

About the FLIRT Akku

The FLIRT Akku train is the battery-powered version of the FLIRT series from Stadler. The Schleswig-Holstein public transport association (NAH.SH) ordered 55 two-car FLIRT Akku trains on behalf of the state of Schleswig-Holstein in July 2019 as part of an innovation partnership. The battery-powered multiple units have been in regular service since October 2023 as the world's first battery-electric train fleet.

Designed for non-electrified or only partially electrified routes, the FLIRT Akku is versatile. The batteries can be charged while travelling under overhead lines and at electrified terminal stops. In addition, the braking energy is stored in the batteries. This means that the vehicle can be used efficiently and in an energy-saving manner. The provision of all maintenance and service work over 30 years by the manufacturer guarantees reliable availability.