Vlexx receives notification of funding of €7m for the conversion of six Elektro-Netz Saar Talent 3 EMUs to BEMUs

GERMANY: The Federal Ministry of Digital & Transport has announced a grant of €6∙7m to cover part of the €17m cost of converting six of Vlexx’s Bombardier Talent 3 EMUs to battery-electric operation.

The grant was announced by Transport Minister Oliver Luksic at a ceremony held on March 11 at Homburg Hbf. It will permit the removal of Siemens Desiro DMUs on the last remaining unelectrified section of the Elektro Netz Saar network operated by Vlexx.

When the SaarRB Lot 2 operating contract was awarded to Vlexx by local transport authorities in Saarland and Rheinland-Pfalz in 2017, it had been hoped that electrification of the Illingen – Lebach-Jabach route would be completed by 2024. But subsequent investigation has found that it would not be economically viable to wire this section, so EMUs equipped with batteries will work the route instead.

The conversion work will be carried out by Alstom, and will involve retrofitting two DC/DC converters and four battery packs with a total capacity of 420 kWh to the roofs of each EMU, together with control software. Battery operation over the line is expected to begin in 2026 once the six EMUs have been modified.

‘Today is a good day for environmental protection in our country, for public transport and for Vlexx. The electrification of public transport is a central component of the mobility transition. I am delighted to note that the conversion of these trains will enable us to achieve environmentally friendly operation on the last section of the Elektro Netz Saar network’, Luksic said.