New battery trains are now also running between Kiel, Lübeck and Lüneburg

The world's first battery-electric train fleet in regular scheduled service now starts operation in Schleswig-Holstein. This means that the state has now one of the highest shares of electrification among the German states: 68 percent of all lines are now operated with electric trains. The battery-electric multiple units replace the previous standard diesel trains on the routes between Kiel - Lübeck and Lüneburg. The ecological advantage: Approximately 10.4 million train kilometers are now "diesel-free". This saves 10 million liters of diesel and about 26,000 tons of CO2 per year. Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of Transport, Claus Ruhe Madsen, said: "We are taking a huge step towards zero-emission local transport with the 55 battery trains that will run on eleven railway lines in the state by the middle of next year. We can be really proud of our leadership."

erixx Holstein now also operates the battery-electric FLIRT Akku multiple units from Stadler on the Kiel - Lübeck - Lüneburg route and between Kiel and Kiel-Oppendorf, heralding a new chapter in commuter traffic in the far north. The joy of the start of the trains in regular service was shared by Transport Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen with numerous guests from politics, administration and business, who today took a look at the new vehicles alongside the Minister on a train journey towards Lübeck.

Among the guests were erixx Holstein CEO Rainer Blüm and Jure Mikolčić, CEO of Stadler Germany, as well as NAH.SH CEO Dr. Arne Beck and Carmen Schwabl, CEO of the regional transport company Niedersachsen LNVG, who is involved in the project as a partner. Transport Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen continued: "We are starting today to reap the rewards of sowing the seeds in 2015 with a great idea for the future of commuter transport in Schleswig-Holstein!"

Jure Mikolčić, CEO of Stadler Germany: "In 2017, we built the world's first battery-electric multiple unit approved for passenger use at Stadler. As a technology leader, we are particularly proud that the first fleet of our FLIRT Akku is now going into regular operation in Schleswig-Holstein and will help to reduce CO2 emissions. There is a great team behind this great product, and so today my thanks go in particular to the colleagues who developed and built the new trains. Of course, I would also like to thank the state of Schleswig-Holstein for giving us the opportunity to be the first to put these trains into service here."

erixx Holstein CEO Rainer Blüm added: "Now, thanks to our improved personnel situation, we can offer our passengers what they expect from us: higher reliability and comfortable, quiet and climate-friendly train journeys. Our employees are delighted with the new battery trains, because it is already clear how much everyone enjoys riding these trains."

The equipment of the vehicles and the infrastructure

The new vehicles have batteries that are mounted on the roof and under the vehicle. This means that they travel at least 80 kilometers in passenger operation without being recharged. The batteries are then charged at the overhead contact lines in stations or at the existing overhead contact lines on some routes. The timetables in the battery networks are designed so that the charging times are sufficient and there is enough travel time to the next overhead contact line. Malfunctions or problems during operation, such as longer unscheduled standing times, can be compensated with a battery buffer. In some places, new overhead contact line sections were built: a total of eleven kilometers.

Minister Madsen: "I would also like to thank DB Netz AG for their support in supplementing the infrastructure. This shows me once again that we can make a difference in rail if we all work well together."

The state of Schleswig-Holstein has ordered a total of 55 FLIRT Akku trains from Stadler. Stadler will take over the maintenance of the trains for 30 years on behalf of the state and for this purpose is building a new workshop in Rendsburg. The company is investing around 30 million euros for this, and the opening is planned for spring 2024.

The new trains each have 123 seats and storage space for wheelchairs, pushchairs and bicycles. The entrance to the vehicles is at the same height as the platforms and is therefore barrier-free. Comfortable NAH.SH-design seats with a larger seating distance were installed for the passengers. The vehicles offer WiFi and power sockets at the seats. A new passenger information system should keep passengers informed throughout the entire journey. The barrier-free toilet has a pleasant and modern look, and also contains a changing area.

For the selection of the trains, the country and NAH.SH had opted for a new, technology-open tender procedure.

At a glance - Why the new trains are so important for the traffic transition in Schleswig-Holstein:

  • Schleswig-Holstein jumps to number 2 in the nationwide area comparison, in terms of the electrification share of the railway lines. With the help of the battery trains, a total of 68 per cent of the railway lines are then electrically operated, completely without diesel vehicles.
  • Without the elaborate construction of continuous overhead contact lines, the battery trains can save approx. 10 million liters of diesel annually and avoid approx. 26,000 tons of CO2.
  • On eleven railway lines in Schleswig-Holstein, the diesel vehicles are completely replaced by rechargeable battery vehicles.
  • 10.4 million train kilometers are "diesel-free" and operated by battery trains - this corresponds to almost 40 percent of the train kilometers in Schleswig-Holstein.
  • The battery trains also represent a major leap forward for infrastructure: in addition to the overhead contact line technology, 15 railway stations were modernized and barrier-free upgraded to barrier-free accessibility, so that by the end of 2023 nearly 90 per cent of the stations in Schleswig-Holstein are barrier-free.
  • The battery trains mean less pollution for the people who live directly next to the rail network.