Fully charged towards zero-emission rail transport: The first fully approved battery train from Alstom with Deutsche Bahn (DB) as operator commences official test operations in Bavarian regional transport between Gunzenhausen and Pleinfeld.

Joining the low-emission train on its journey from Gunzenhausen to Pleinfeld were Hansrüdiger Fritz, DB Regio AG, and Müslüm Yakisan, President of the DACH Region at Alstom, together with Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder and Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Theurer.

The battery train runs on this line in the Franconian Lake District on Saturdays and Sundays. On weekdays, it operates in Baden-Württemberg on the Stuttgart – Horb line.  The test operation of the BEMU (Battery-Electric Multiple Unit for non-electrified or only partially electrified lines of local rail passenger transport), which has 163 seats and 162 standing places, will run until the beginning of May 2022.

Michael Theurer, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Digital and Transport and Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport: “This railcar exemplifies the progress being made in rail transport. Thanks to the battery-electric drive, we can now travel virtually climate-neutrally on routes that could otherwise only be electrified at great expense. A genuine environmental protector that will initially be in operation here in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and, if the results are good, possibly soon everywhere in the country for regional transport services.”

The routes in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are particularly suitable for test operation due to their topography and the different route profiles. On the one hand, they enable a high mileage of the train, which will cover around 50,000 kilometres by May. In addition, different battery charging scenarios can be tested. In Bavaria, for example, the train will only be charged directly from the overhead lines at the electrified arrival and departure stations of Pleinfeld and Gunzenhausen, as the line between these stations is not electrified. In Baden-Württemberg, charging takes place during the ongoing journey. In addition to DB as the operator, the Bavarian Railway Company (BEG – Bayerische Eisenbahngesellschaft) and the Baden-Württemberg Public Transport Authority (NVBW – Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg) are associated project partners.

Since 2016, Alstom has been developing the battery-electric train together with the Technical University of Berlin, with the support of the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) and funding from the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport. It is a potential sustainable successor to diesel trains in Germany: A total of 450 lines in the German rail network are currently operated exclusively with diesel trains. Alternative drives enable efficient and emission-free operation here. The almost four-month test on passenger lines in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg is the next step in this direction. In future, BEMU technology will be used on Alstom’s Coradia platform.


A distinguished welcome for the BEMU: Bavarian Transport Minister Kerstin Schreyer, State Secretary Michael Alexander Theurer, Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder and Müslüm Yakisan, Alstom President for the DACH Region, at the official commencement of operations in Franconia.