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NEB ‘s Mireo Plus H fleet arrived at the Wilden­rath test center

NEB 's Mireo Plus H fleet arrived
Image: NEB | Siemens Mobility

[Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn] – Siemens Mobility delivers seven two-car trains powered by fuel cells for the Heide­kraut­bahn network operated by Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB). The trains are to be delivered in the fall of 2024 and start operation on the Heidekrautbahn network (RB27) beginning in December 2024.

Siemens Mobility has built seven two-car Mireo Plus H trains for Nieder­barnimer Eisen­bahn (NEB). The last train in the series left the factory in Krefeld on October 30, 2023, and was transferred to the Siemens Mobility test center in Wegberg-Wildenrath near Mönchengladbach.

Following the basic electrical and mechanical functions tested at the Krefeld plant, further in-depth tests are now being carried out at the Wegberg-Wildenrath Test and Validation Center (PCW). The extensive type tests being conducted here include electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) tests and brake tests. As these tests, required for official approval of the trains and their operational stability, are conducted, the new trains will be prepared step by step statically and dynamically for operation and ultimately drive their first meters on their own. Final approval by the relevant rail authorities, including the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) and the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA), will be granted only when all of these tests have been successfully completed.

In addition, NEB’s train drivers will be trained on the new Mireo Plus H at the Siemens Mobility test center starting in mid-2024 to ensure that the company’s operating personnel is ready for deployment on the Heidekrautbahn as of December 2024.

“Our first Mireo Plus H hydrogen fleet left our plant in Krefeld right on time and will be thoroughly put through its paces at our test center in Wegberg-Wildenrath,” said Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock Siemens Mobility. “The Mireo Plus H is a powerful 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 for emission-free passenger transportation in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region.”

“We’re especially pleased that we are on schedule with the hydrogen trains,” said Detlef Bröcker, CEO Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB). “This gives our employees sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the new trains and their innovative technology. Our customers in the Berlin and Brandenburg region can look forward to boarding new, environmentally friendly, hydrogen-powered trains on the Heidekrautbahn at the end of next year.”

The train manufacturer Siemens Mobility was commissioned by NEB in 2022 to deliver seven two-car Mireo Plus H trains for the Heidekrautbahn network in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region. This marked the first series order at Siemens Mobility for a train fleet employing hydrogen technology. Progress is also being made on the order for 31 Mireo Plus B trains for the East Brandenburg network: The first battery-powered train is scheduled to leave the Siemens plant in Krefeld in the new year and will also be transferred to the Wildenrath center for final testing.

The use of hydrogen-powered trains on the Heidekrautbahn is part of a scientifically supported joint pilot project funded by the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. The project is focused on setting up a regional, sustainable hydrogen infrastructure that also includes a hybrid power plant and a hydrogen storage facility. The Heidekrautbahn will be the first rail network in the Berlin-Brandenburg region operating hydrogen-powered trains for public transport. Ultimately, all train operations on the RB27 route will be carried out exclusively with green energy – renewable and regionally produced. The switch from diesel fuel to hydrogen on the Heidekrautbahn will reduce annual CO2 emissions by around three million kilograms and save 1.1 million liters of diesel.

The partners have created a joint website with information about the hydrogen project, its stakeholders, and updates on the progress being made: www.wasserstoffschiene-heidekrautbahn.de.

The project “Use of hydrogen fuel cell drives in local transport in the Barnim district” is funded by the Federal Ministry for Digitalization and Transport as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The funding guideline is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by lead partner Jülich.