Impression of Siemens Mobility Mireo Plus H hydrogen train for NEB's Heidekrautbahn at station

GERMANY: Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn has confirmed an order for Siemens Mobility to supply and maintain seven two-car Mireo Plus H hydrogen fuel cell multiple-units for use on Heidekrautbahn service RB27 from December 2024.

Designed to provide zero-emission operation on non-electrified routes, the units will have a 1·7 MW drive system combining a fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery. This will provide 1·1 m/s2 acceleration and a maximum speed of 160 km/h, with a refuelling time of 15 min.

The interiors will feature wi-fi, real-time passenger information, a family area and two multi-purpose areas for wheelchairs, pushchairs and up to 12 bicycles.

The powered cars will have three doors on each side enabling passengers using wheelchairs or with pushchairs to easily board or alight, including at low platforms.

‘Our Mireo Plus H is a next-generation hydrogen train that combines innovation with sustainability’, said Siemens Mobility CEO Michael Peter on June 27. ‘Thanks to its long range, faster acceleration, and state-of-the-art technologies, it will set new standards in zero-emission passenger transport.’

Pilot programme

Impression of Siemens Mobility Mireo Plus H hydrogen train for NEB's Heidekrautbahn

The trains will operate on the current Y-shaped Heidekrautbahn network, and on the route between Basdorf and Wilhelmsruh which is to be reopened in 2024.

The use of hydrogen trains is part of a pilot project funded by the federal government and the Länder of Berlin and Brandenburg. This aims to establish sustainable regional hydrogen ecosystem including a hybrid power plant and a storage system.

The trains will exclusively use ‘green’ hydrogen, with the switch from diesel expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by around 3 000 tonnes and save 1·1 million litres of diesel.

10-year availability agreement

The contract includes a 10-year service and spare parts agreement running to the end of NEB’s current operating contract in 2034. Siemens Mobility is to ensure the availability of the trains over the entire term and undertake all maintenance, servicing and repairs, as well as continuous development and adaptation to customer-specific needs.

‘With Siemens Mobility, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn has an experienced and reliable partner at its side’, said NEB CEO Detlef Bröcker. ‘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. Moreover, the manufacturer’s direct involvement in maintaining the trains will ensure a high level of security regarding train availability. By operating a technologically and ecologically upgraded railway, we want to actively support the energy and transportation transition and make local public transport for commuter service and tourism more attractive.’