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Alpha Trains expands its fleet with battery-powered trains for Germany

Posted: 7 January 2022 | | No comments yet

The 31 battery-electric Siemens Mireo Plus B multiple units are not only a welcome addition to the lessor’s existing fleet – they also send out a strong signal for sustainability.

Alpha Trains expands its fleet with battery-powered trains

Credit: Alpha Trains

Playing its part as a pioneer in providing ‘green’ mobility concepts, Alpha Trains is among the first lessors in Europe to offer battery-powered trains on lease.

The 31 battery-electric Siemens Mireo Plus B multiple units are not only a welcome addition to the lessor’s existing fleet – they also send out a strong signal for sustainability.

Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn GmbH (NEB) will lease the vehicles, which are financed by the Alpha Trains Group, and intends to operate them on 10 lines in East Brandenburg between Berlin and the Polish border. Operations are planned to begin at the end of 2024, which means Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) will be deploying battery-hybrid multiple units on its routes for the first time.

Financing

Apart from the KfW IPEX-Bank and Nord/LB, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is also involved in financing the multiple units and the project fully meets its sustainability targets. The project is also being supported by the European Commission (EC) via the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for transportation projects, which is also supplemented by funds from the European NER300 programme.

State-of-the-art multiple units

The state-of-the-art multiple units draw the electricity needed to charge their lithium-ion batteries from the overhead lines along electrified sections of track as well as from recovered braking energy. On routes where the external power supply ceases, the vehicles utilise energy from their charged batteries, which provide a range of more than 90km. Additional charging stations will be built along the routes in order to fully secure operations going forward. The power drawn from the electrified lines and the charging stations will be generated entirely from renewable sources and the trains will run on a carbon-neutral basis. The new multiple units are expected to save more than four million litres of diesel fuel per year, thus reducing local carbon emissions by more than 11,000 tonnes and making an important contribution to minimising particulate matter emissions.

The NEB was already awarded the transport contract put out to tender by VBB in June 2021, following a Europe-wide tendering process. In addition to the competitive leasing concept and the eco-friendly drive technology, the new battery-powered vehicles also provide extra space as well as greater comfort and convenience for passengers. The additional seating and increased frequency make them particularly attractive for commuters. Based on a commitment to continued use provided by the public transport authorities, these innovative vehicles will enhance the quality of transport on the East Brandenburg network until the end of 2048.

Shaun Mills, CEO of the Alpha Trains Group, commented: “Alpha Trains offers solutions that are both sustainable and affordable. The battery-electric trains for NEB are the best example: competitive leasing offers and eco-friendly propulsion systems are key factors in driving the transition to green mobility forward.”

Thomas Schmidt, Managing Director of Alpha Trains Europa GmbH, said: “We are proud that Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn GmbH, which has been our customer for many years, has placed its trust in us to support them with our experience, technical expertise and passion in this ambitious, forward-looking project.”

Detlef Bröcker, Managing Director of NEB, said: “The purchase of 31 battery-electric trains for the East Brandenburg network is a major step towards zero-emission mobility. We are pleased to be pursuing this new technology in the transport transition together with our long-standing partner Alpha Trains.”

EIB Vice-President, Ambroise Fayolle, said: “We are pleased to be able to take such a big step on the road to carbon-neutral regional transport in the surrounding area of Berlin. Attractive regional trains are essential for the transition to climate-friendly mobility as they encourage commuters to switch from road to rail, thus avoiding the CO2 emissions and congestion caused by the use of private transport.”

European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, said: “Solutions such as innovative regional railways that combine the use of overhead contact lines and battery power are helping to make rail transport in Europe even more sustainable. As this initiative demonstrates, by combining EIB loans and Connecting Europe Facility funds, we can maximise the impact of our investments in achieving this objective.”

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