Siemens Mobility is building seven two-car trains of the fuel cell-powered Mireo Plus H type for the Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB). The switch from diesel to hydrogen on the Heidekrautbahn will reduce annual carbon emissions by around three million kilograms and save 1.1 million litres of diesel.

Siemens Mobility has been commissioned by Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn to supply seven two-car Mireo Plus H trains for the Heidekrautbahn (RB27) network in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region. Equipped with fuel cell drives and a lithium-ion batteries, these second-generation hydrogen trains provide mobility that is completely free of carbon emissions. The research project for pure hydrogen operation on the Heidekrautbahn is being funded with a total of 25 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Transport, which will be distributed to the three project sponsors ENERTRAG, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB) and Kreiswerke Barnim. The funding is coordinated by NOW GmbH and Project Management Jülich (PtJ).

“Rail travel is today already the most climate-friendly way to travel by far. We are extremely proud that through our first order for a fleet of hydrogen trains, we are enabling emission-free rail transport even on non-electrified routes,” says Michael Peter, CEO Siemens Mobility. “Our Mireo Plus H is a next-generation hydrogen train that combines innovation with sustainability. Thanks to its long range, fast acceleration and state-of-the-art technologies, it will set new standards in zero-emission passenger transport.”

“It makes us very proud to operate the Heidekrautbahn – the first rail network in the Berlin-Brandenburg region on which hydrogen fuel cell trains will be used,” says Detlef Bröcker, CEO of Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB). “With Siemens Mobility, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn has an experienced and reliable partner at its side. The highly innovative hydrogen powered vehicles are not only environmentally friendly, but also offer cutting-edge vehicle equipment geared to the needs of the passengers. In addition, the manufacturer’s involvement in the maintenance of the vehicles ensures a high level of security in terms of vehicle availability. With a technologically and ecologically renewed railway, we are striving to actively promote the energy and mobility transition and also increase the appeal of regional passenger transport for commuter traffic and tourism.”

The Mireo Plus H is a state-of-the-art second-generation hydrogen train and features a hydrogen traction system with a high output of 1.7 MW for an acceleration of up to 1.1 m/s² and a top speed of 160 km/h. The trains also boast the lowest life cycle costs on the market and offer a fast refuelling function in 15 minutes. The Mireo is designed to be energy-saving and environmentally friendly. The basis for this is the self-supporting, welded lightweight structure featuring an integral aluminium design. The improved aerodynamics, the high energy efficiency of the components and the smart on-board power supply management also contribute to the reduction of resources and emissions.

The use of the hydrogen vehicles on the Heidekrautbahn is part of a scientifically accompanied joint pilot project funded by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg for the development of a regional, sustainable hydrogen infrastructure, which also includes a hybrid power plant and a refuelling facility. The entire train operation on the RB27 line is to run exclusively on green energy – renewably and regionally produced. The switch from diesel to hydrogen on the Heidekrautbahn will reduce carbon emissions by around three million kilograms and save 1.1 million litres of diesel annually.