The Rhein-Main Verkehrsverbund (RMV) subsidiary Fahma GmbH, which operates the Taunusbahn, has chosen a winner of its Europe-wide tender for 27 fuel cell trains: Alstom. The French rolling stock manufacturer will deliver the Coradia iLint units in time for the timetable change in December 2022. Alstom says this order will give Fahma GmbH the world’s largest fleet of fuel cell trains.
The contract also includes an order for the supply of hydrogen and for the maintenance and provision of reserve capacities for 25 years. Alstom will supply the hydrogen in co-operation with Infraserv GmbH & Co. Höchst KG. The filling station is situated in the Höchst industrial park.
The full value of the contract is 500 million euros (557 million USD), of which Alstom’s share is 360 million euros (401 million USD).
Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Enak Ferlemann, said:
“The purchase of 27 vehicles is a lighthouse project for fuel cell mobility, about which I’m very pleased. The federal government supports this investment in climate-friendly mobility by assuming 40 percent of the additional vehicle costs incurred in comparison to diesel vehicles, as well as by providing proportional support for the hydrogen filling station. The project can serve as a model for the German transport ministry. We hope that many other projects in Germany will follow this example.”
The 27 hydrogen fuel cell trains will replace the existing fleet of diesel trains on the RB11, RB12, RB15 and RB16 lines.
Tarek Al-Wazir, the Minister of Transport for the German state of Hesse, said:
“On Hesse’s tracks you can still find many diesel vehicles today as overhead lines are missing. Fuel cell traction is therefore a quickly feasible alternative to expensive electrification. In Hessen, transport is responsible for one third of greenhouse gas emissions. Steam instead of diesel soot is therefore an exciting approach. We will continue to actively support the project and make every effort to ensure that the necessary adaptations to the rail infrastructure around the hydrogen filling station in Höchst make rapid progress.”
The hydrogen fuel cells will be refuelled at the Industriepark Höchst in Frankfurt, an “innovative chemical and pharmaceutical site in Europe’s heartland”. It is well situated for access to international transport routes and is home to more than 90 companies, such as Bayer, Sanofi and Celanese.
Dr Joachim Kreysing, Managing Director of Infraserv Höchst, which operates the industrial park, said:
“With its existing hydrogen infrastructure, Industriepark Höchst is an ideal filling station location for fuel-cell vehicles. The operation of the hydrogen filling station for trains as a supplement to the tanking facilities for buses and trucks fits in perfectly with our concept, with which we as an innovative company are further developing our energy supply concepts and are relying on environmentally friendly energy carriers.”
The Coradia iLint, which is already in operation elsewhere in Germany, is the first passenger train in the world that uses electrical power from hydrogen fuel cells. The Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen began operating Alstom’s hydrogen trains in September 2018 and will operate a total of 14 of them from 2021. This makes RMV the second German operator to adopt the technology. They are locally emission free, with the only by-products being steam and liquid water. Another emissions area where these trains have a positive scoresheet is noise. They produce decibel levels on par with suburban trains.
Dr Jörg Nikutta, Managing Director, Alstom Germany and Austria, said:
“We are very pleased that Alstom’s zero-emission Coradia iLint regional trains will be operated in Hesse in the near future, allowing climate friendly transportation of passengers in the Taunus region. This new success, coupled with Coradia iLint’s previous success, demonstrates how trendsetting and sustainable transportation is already a reality.”
Each of the 27 trains will come with passenger information systems with real-time information monitors. They will have 160 seats per vehicle as well as space for bicycles, wheelchair and prams. Passengers will also benefit from complimentary wifi. Once these 27 trains are in service, capacity on the Taunus subnetwork will rise by up to 40 percent. This is particularly positive for commuters who travel during rush hour.
Prof. Knut Ringat, Managing Director, RMV, said:
“This award sets two records: With the commissioning of the new vehicles in 2022, RMV will have the world’s largest fleet of fuel cell trains in passenger transport and it is the largest order in the history of our subsidiary fahma. After electrically powered trains, electric buses and hydrogen buses, we are now offering our passengers a further opportunity to travel without emissions. This milestone makes me proud and is a giant step towards a mobility without pollutants.”
Ulrich Krebs, District Administrator, Hochtaunuskreis and Deputy Chairman of RMV’s Supervisory Board, said:
“In addition to electrifying the S5 to Usingen, the fuel cell trains offer various advantages for routes that have not yet been electrified. Commuters benefit from more space in the trains and a significantly quieter journey because the engine noise of the vehicles is quieter due to the electric drive. This is also an advantage for the people living near the lines.”
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