Hessische Landesbahn, the regional transport operator in Hesse, ordered from Siemens Mobility three 2-car Mireo Plus B battery trains for the Upper and Lower Westerwald railway pilot project. The trains are expected to enter operation for the timetable change in December 2025.
“The decision favoring the high-performance battery trains from Siemens Mobility marks a milestone on the long path toward providing climate-neutral public transport in Rhineland-Palatinate. Expanding the use of alternative drives is indispensable for achieving the mobility transition and protecting the climate. We are preparing the road for the public transport of the future,” said Katrin Eder, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility, of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate.
The new battery trains will operate on the Oberwesterwaldbahn (OWB) from Limburg to Altenkirchen–Au–Siegen (RB 90), and on the Unterwesterwaldbahn (UWB) between Limburg – Montabaur – Siershahn (RB 29). The OWB route is 115 km long and includes a 75-km stretch without overhead power lines.
The planned use of the three battery trains on the RB 90 and RB 29 lines covers an annual mileage of almost 400,000 train kilometers and replaces three diesel vehicles.
Plans call for charging the train’s batteries in Limburg and on the Au – Siegen rail section. The non-electrified section on the UWB is approximately 35 km long. This enables trains to operate back and forth without recharging. The trains will serve more than 50 stations on the two routes.
Both routes in the Westerwald, with demanding gradients and long non-electrified sections, require high-performance trains. With its high drive power, the Mireo Plus B battery trains are ideally suited to meet this challenge. Battery-powered trains will achieve substantial CO2 savings and reduce noise levels and exhaust emissions in the region when they replace diesel trains.
“We are convinced that this environmentally friendly, innovative technology is especially suitable for use in difficult, longer uphill stretches in the low mountains, and are really pleased to have this opportunity to deliver proof of this capability in everyday operations”, Veit Salzmann, CEO Hessische Landesbahn said.
The new trains will have three doors on each side to facilitate quick and easy entries and exits and will have a capacity of 126 seats and standing room for 156 passengers. The trains are equipped with pantographs for operating under catenaries and charging batteries, and with batteries for operating on non-electrified routes. When operating in battery mode, the range of the Mireo Plus B on topographically challenging routes is around 80 km without recharging. Silicon carbide technology used in the Mireo Plus B contributes to significant energy savings.