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InnoTrans 2022 (27)

posted on 5th Dec 2022 18:13

Another Stadler exhibit was the BEMU FLIRT AKKU 526 007, more precisely 526/826 007, built for NAH.SH (Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein), the public transport organiser and coordinator active in the northernmost part of Germany, in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

In June 2019, Stadler was announced as the winner of the tender called SH-XMU I (that mean the first Schleswig-Holstein tender for emission-free trains, where the letter "X" expresses the default non-determination/optionality of the drive type) for 55 vehicles. As part of the contract, the manufacturer will also provide maintenance for 30 years for these vehicles, which are intended for services on non-electrified or partially electrified network routes:

  • Ost (Kiel - Lübeck - Lüneburg, Kiel - Schönberger Strand; the word Strand means 'beach'), provided by erixx Holstein, a wholly owned subsidiary of Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen (OHE),
  • Ost-West (Bad Oldesloe - Neumünster, Neumünster - Heide - Büsum), operated by Nordbahn Eisenbahngesellschaft (NBE),
  • Nord (Kiel - Rendsburg - Husum, Husum - Bad St. Peter Ording, Kiel - Eckern-förde - Flensburg), also operated by NBE.

NAH.SH's FLIRT AKKUs are two-car BEMUs with a Bo' 2' 2' axle arrangement and a maximum speed of 160 km/h. The traction motors are rated at 500 kW each, and under catenary, the trains are working on the 15 kV 16.7 Hz voltage, where their batteries can be charged, while the train is running or stationary. They can also be recharged using energy from regenerative braking even when running on non-electrified sections. Furthermore, the batteries can be recharged using a heating cable from 1 kV plug or from a standard 3 x 400 V socket rated at a maximum of 63 A.

The batteries are of the Li-Ion type and give the train an operating range about 100 km. The real battery capacity would give a longer range (the world record is 224 km per charge for a 1427 000 A prototype), but the train control system deliberately does not provide the full capacity for traction. Battery packs are located under the floor and on the roof of each car. The capacity of each unit is 123 seated and 93 standing passengers (at a density of 4 persons/m2).

Following the selection of the vehicle supplier, Schleswig-Holstein launched the SH-XMU II tender, and as a result of it, it mandated Paribus Holding to finance the BEMUs. Specifically, this financial institution has purchased the trains (for which it has received capital guarantees from the Land) and will subsequently lease them for 30 years to operators selected by Schleswig-Holstein in a separate tender.

For a transitional period from December 2022 to December 2024, until all FLIRT-AKKUs enter the service, the Land has instructed DB Regio to provide temporary vehicles on the basis of a further partial tender (SH-XMU III). These are the 26 Coradia Lint 41 DMUs (four of which are used as reserve) for Ost and Nord networks. Finally, the SH-XMU IV (Akku-netz) tender covered the selection of operators for the entire 'battery network', which was divided into three parts as described above (East, East-West and North).

The first test runs with the new type took place on 26 and 27 October 2022 on the Kiel - Lübeck route in a simulated operating mode (stopping at stations).
According to the original plans, the first five pre-series FLIRT AKKUs were to be deployed on test runs from November this year to gain practical experience, but this did not happen and also it was not announced yet that the Class 526 would start its first regular service from 11 December 2022.

The reason for this might be that the construction of the charging infrastructure (by DB Netz) consisting of segment electrification and the construction of 'island' sections of the overhead line was officially launched on 1 November 2022, with the first of these are to be completed in March and April 2023.

Deliveries of the Class 526s are currently underway, and Stadler also announced at InnoTrans that in the same week it had obtained a building permit for the construction of a depot in Rendsburg (about 30 km west of Kiel) where maintenance of these BEMUs will be carried out.

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