Picture: Siemens

Siemens has been commissioned by Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn to deliver the first hydrogen-powered trains for the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region as part of a green energy pilot project. The trains will be equipped with a fuel cell drive and lithium-ion battery. These second-generation hydrogen trains are said to ensure complete CO2 emission-free mobility. 

The new commission also includes a service and spare parts supply agreement for ten years until 2034. Siemens Mobility ensures the availability of the trains over the entire term of the contract. This means that the service should run smoothly and any issues that do arise will be sorted out quickly.  

The Mireo Plus H is a second-generation, state-of-the-art hydrogen train and features an H 2 traction system with high drive power of 1.7 MW for acceleration of up to 1.1 m/s² and a top speed of 160 km/h while offering refueling speed of 15 mins. 

The Mireo is designed to save energy and be environmentally friendly. The basis for this is the self-supporting, welded lightweight structure in aluminum integral construction. The improved aerodynamics, the energy efficiency of the components and the intelligent vehicle electrical system management also contribute to reducing resources and emissions. 

The two trains have been designed to have a spacious interior, with features including free WiFi, displays for dynamic real-time passenger information, a specially marked family area and two multi-purpose areas with enough space for prams, wheelchairs and up to twelve bicycles.  

Accessibility is no problem on this train as the railcars are equipped with three doors on each side which enables passengers that have wheelchairs or prams to easily get on and off the train with ease. 

“We are proud to operate the Heidekrautbahn, the first rail network in the Berlin-Brandenburg region that will be using hydrogen fuel cell trains,” said Detlef Bröcker, CEO Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB).

He continued to say: “With Siemens Mobility, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn has an experienced and reliable partner at its side. The highly innovative hydrogen-powered trains are not only environmentally friendly, but also provide modern equipment and features tailored to the needs of our passengers.”

The use of hydrogen vehicles on the Heidekrautbahn is part of a joint pilot project funded by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg . The aim is to set up a regional, sustainable hydrogen infrastructure, which also includes a hybrid power plant and a tank facility . 

 The entire train operation on the RB27 is to be carried out exclusively with green – regenerative and regionally generated – energy.  

The conversion from diesel to hydrogen on the Heidekrautbahn aims to reduce annual CO2 emissions by around three million kilograms and saves 1.1 million liters of diesel.The joint project was funded in May 2021 by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with around 25 million euros.