Arriva Stadler Wink multiple-units

NETHERLANDS: One of Arriva’s 18 Stadler Wink diesel multiple-units has been temporarily modified to test the potential for using battery power for emission-free operation without the cost of fixed electrification infrastructure.

Normally used on secondary routes around Groningen and Leeuwarden, the Wink units are powered by Deutz engines that can run on hydrotreated vegetable oil. They are also equipped with a pantograph ready for future electrification, and are fitted with batteries to store regenerated braking energy, enabling the engines to be switched off when idling at stations.

Following modifications to enable the battery to provide traction power, the unit was tested on the non-electrified Almelo – Hardenberg and Arnhem – Zevenaar – Doetinchem lines on February 24-26.

The tests looked at the battery charging and discharging rates when operating at various speeds, the transition from overhead to battery or diesel power, the overall train performance and how much power was used. The battery was charged from the 1·5 kV DC overhead electrification where this was available, and topped up using the regenerative braking. The use of dedicated charging points is also envisaged in the future.

Stadler said the aim of the trials was to demonstrate that the use of battery trains is already within reach, and not far in the future. The results will be used to support the further development of traction batteries, and to inform decisions about the best zero-emission technology for regional lines in the eastern Netherlands.

‘These trials highlight the role that green technology can play in decarbonising our world and bring us one step further to creating a truly green railway’, said Stadler’s Deputy CEO Dr Ansgar Brockmeyer. ‘Working closely with our clients, Stadler is committed to developing innovative ways of making the industry more sustainable, providing attractive and efficient rolling stock, to encourage modal shift for both passengers and freight.’

Stadler has so far sold around 300 trainsets and locomotives with traction batteries for use in 10 countries, including orders for more than 110 Flirt Akku battery multiple-units in Germany.