Stadler Flirt

GERMANY: Having decided to replace the diesel multiple-units currently used on non-electrified routes in the far north of Germany, the Land of Schleswig-Holstein called tenders for the supply of a fleet of zero-emission trains, leaving the choice of technology to bidders.

Stadler proposed its Flirt Akku battery multiple-unit, which was first announced at InnoTrans 2018, and in July 2019 the company was awarded a €600m contract to supply 55 two-car trainsets and maintain them for 30 years, with an option for a further 50 units.

Stadler is to deliver five pre-series trains from November 2022, with the remainder to enter service from May 2023 to mid-2024.


Stadler Flirt

The 46 m long Flirt BEMU has 124 seats and a total capacity of 198 passengers. There are two multifunctional zones for wheelchair users, pushchairs and bicycles and an accessible toilet.

Other features include air-conditioning, wi-fi, power sockets, CCTV and a passenger information system.

The lithium-ion traction power batteries have customised cooling systems from Technotrans.

They will have range of 150 km under optimal conditions, although the longest non-electrified route they will operate on is around 80 km.

The batteries will be recharged from the existing 15 kV 16·7 Hz overhead electrification at Kiel, Neumünster, Flensburg, Lübeck and Lüneburg stations and on the Osterrönfeld – Jübek line. Charging facilities will also be provided in other locations, and there will be some extensions to the existing overhead power supply.

Financing and operations

Stadler Flirt

The Land selected Paribus Holding for the SH-XMU II contract to finance the trains and lease them to the future operators, and provided a debt service guarantee to ensure favourable financing terms.

There are three operating contracts which run to December 2035 and cover the operation of 10·4 million train-km/year on 11 routes tendered in three lots.

Stadler will be responsible for fleet maintenance in Rendsburg and Neumünster, and the operators are required to take on staff from the current operators on their existing terms.

Netinera’s Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen is to succeed DB Regio from December 2022 on the Ost package of services RE83/84 Kiel – Lübeck, RB89 Lübeck – Lüneburg, RB87 Kiel – Preetz and RB76 Kiel – Schönberger Strand.

Nordbahn has retained the Ost-West contract covering RB63 Büsum – Heide – Neumünster and RB82 Neumünster – Bad Oldesloe, with the next contract starting in December 2023.

The last package to be awarded was the Nord contract, which starts December 2023 and covers services RE72 Flensburg – Kiel, RB73 Eckernförde – Kiel, RE74 Husum – Kiel, RB75 Rendsburg-Seemühlen – Kiel and RB64 Husum – Bad St Peter-Ording, currently operated by DB Regio.

When the contracts were finalised Land Transport Secretary Dr Thilo Rohlfs said the programme ‘shows how railway lines can be electrified without the tedious construction of overhead lines and how the energy transition is becoming very practical’.