GERMANY: The Land of Baden-Württemberg has decided to order a fleet of 20 Mireo battery-electric multiple units from Siemens Mobility to operate the Netz 8 Ortenau package of regional lines, the state government announced on August 2.

Procurement began in May for the concession to operate the electrified route from Offenburg to Freudenstadt/Hornberg, and the non-electrified branches from Appenweier to Bad Griesbach, Achern to Ottenhöfen and Biberach to Oberharmersbach-Riersbach. This contract will run for 13 years from December 2022, covering the operation of 2·1 million train-km/year.

However, the Land decided that the non-electrified lines should be operated by ‘emissions-free’ vehicles, which would be procured separately by the regionally-owned rolling stock company Schienenfahrzeuge Baden-Württemberg under an ‘open technology’ bidding round.

Because the trains will operate on and off electrified routes, the battery EMU offered a more economical alternative to fuel cells, the Land explained. Similar Mireo EMUs have already been procured to operate on the electrified Rheintal services in the same area.

Siemens Mobility will be responsible for supplying the BEMUs and will maintain them for 29½ years. Under the selected ‘life-cycle model’, the supplier will have to guarantee the energy consumption and power costs for operation of the trains throughout the life of the contract. Commissioning of the new trains is scheduled for June 2023.

‘As we are breaking new ground technologically with the use of innovative and locally emission-free trains, we wanted to ensure that the supplier was responsible for the entire life of the vehicles', said Land Transport Minister Winfried Hermann. ‘Manufacturers need to ensure that their vehicles are always available on a daily basis, and there are serious penalties if they do not comply.’