Die Deutsche Bahn would like to get away from diesel and is therefore planning to switch to a completely new technology. On Friday, Deutsche Bahn boss Richard Lutz completed the first trip with a new hydrogen train Mireo Plus H and then tested the new filling process with a mobile hydrogen filling station.
The new train that the railway together with Siemens developed, has a range of around 1000 kilometers and, according to the company, can reach a top speed of up to 160 km/h. From January, the Mireo Plus H will start test drives in Baden-Württemberg, and a year later it will be traveling regularly between Tübingen, Horb and Pforzheim.
“By 2040 we as Deutsche Bahn will be climate neutral. An important lever here is saying goodbye to diesel,” said Lutz. A single train saves up to 45,000 tons of CO over its service life of 30 years2 compared to car trips, added Siemens boss Roland Busch at the premiere drive on Friday. Hydrogen technology is to replace diesel multiple units in regional transport in the future and thus make a significant contribution to the diesel phase-out.
General renovation from 2024 onwards
Deutsche Bahn praises hydrogen trains as a particularly climate-friendly drive technology, because they say the trains run on "green hydrogen" without emissions - only water vapor is emitted. The federal government also has high hopes for this technology. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport with a total of 13.74 million euros.
While Bahn boss Lutz was able to test the future of rail transport in southern Germany on Friday, his employees are struggling with the countless construction sites that the state-owned company has to deal with on the way there. The dilapidated rail network has been causing significant delays in train traffic for months, some of which can amount to several hours. The condition of the rails is so bad that Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and the railways have planned a general renovation to begin in 2024. Then a number of corridors, which are also heavily used, will be so extensively renewed that there will be total closures on some routes.
In addition, there are always weather-related failures, as in the past few days in Cologne. There, railway employees are having a hard time repairing the damage caused by a massive water inrush that has been disrupting train traffic in North Rhine-Westphalia since Thursday. Several tens of thousands of liters of water have to be pumped out of a signal box. The ingress of water irreparably destroyed large parts of the signal box technology, as the railways announced after assessing the damage.
Therefore, a number of cables and terminal strips have to be painstakingly replaced. Due to the severe damage, Deutsche Bahn assumes that the restrictions on train traffic around Cologne will remain in place until at least Saturday. Regional and long-distance traffic will be diverted via Cologne Messe/Deutz or the Südbrücke or will be partially cancelled.