Müglitztalbahn DMU (Photo: VVO GmbH)

GERMANY: The use of battery rather than hydrogen traction is recommended in a study into options for replacing diesel multiple-units on regional routes around Dresden where electrification is unlikely in the short to medium term.

The study found that hydrogen and battery power would each be feasible, but battery power would be more economical and suitable as an interim option for lines where electrification is envisaged.

Oberelbe transport authority VVO and Oberlausitz Niederschlesien’s ZVON commissioned the study from the technical universities of Dresden and Berlin to help inform their plans to switch away from diesel traction when new VVO-Dieselnetz and Ostsachsennetz operating contracts start in December 2031.

The work was supported with funding from the Federal Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure and the Land of Sachsen’s Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour & Transport.

The study found that conventional electrification should be expanded where possible, with the transport authorities seeing the routes running east from Dresden to Görlitz and Zittau as priorities.

  • VVO and preferred bidder DB Regio have formally signed the contract for the operation of VVO-Dieselnetz services on the Dresden to Kamenz and Königsbrück, Heidenau – Altenberg and Pirna – Sebnitz routes from 10 years from December 2021. More frequent trains to Kamenz will see the overall timetable increase by 0·3 million train-km/year to 2 million train-km/year, and the 21 Siemens Desiro DMUs will be refurbished over the first two years.