Alstom presents its battery train for Saxony
The VMS, a local transport authority in the Chemnitz area in Saxony, Germany, has taken a step towards pollution reduction on non-electrified lines. Alstom and VMS presented the new battery-powered train developed by Alstom on 21 August 2023 in Chemnitz: the Coradia Continental battery-electric train.
Eleven Coradia Continental battery-electric trains have been ordered by VMS, and are scheduled to enter service in 2024 on the Chemnitz-Leipzig line. This contract between VMS and Alstom, worth approximately 100 million euros, was signed on 5 February 2020. Alstom is set to produce, supply, and provide maintenance services until 2032 for a total of eleven Coradia Continental trains equipped with battery-electric technology, Alstom’s first order of its battery train, or ‘Akkuzug’ in German.
These trains are intended for regional transportation along the Leipzig-Chemnitz route and will be operated on behalf of VMS (Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen), in collaboration with ZVNL (Zweckverband für den Nahverkehrsraum Leipzig), the two governing bodies overseeing operations on this particular rail line. In 2014, Alstom had also previously entered into an agreement with VMS to supply a total of 29 Coradia Continental electric regional trains (EMU) with battery-electric capabilities. These newly designed trains are scheduled to commence operations this year.
Developing battery trains
Since 2016, Alstom has been developing the battery-electric train together with the Technical University of Berlin and with support from the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) and funding from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. Now, the battery technology has been applied to the Alstom’s Coradia train platform.
The Coradia Continental battery-electric trains boast a range that extends up to 120 kilometres and has the capability to operate both under overhead catenary systems and on sections of track without electrification. These three-car trains measure 56 metres in length and have a seating capacity for 150 passengers. When running on battery power, they can achieve a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour.
The lithium-ion batteries have been sized to ensure uninterrupted operation along the Chemnitz-Leipzig line. The manufacturing of these battery electric trains involves the German facilities located in Salzgitter and Mannheim. The battery traction components are designed and built at Alstom’s Tarbes facility in France.
Mathias Korda, Managing Director of Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen GmbH (VMS) stated: “With the battery trains from Alstom, we want to start into the future of local rail passenger transport. We will be able to run electrically on one of the most important rail routes in the transport association without it already being electrified.”