German rail group uses innovative electric charging to replace diesel trains

German rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) has started electrifying rail lines in the north of the country with innovative new electrical infrastructure that will recharge battery-powered trains and replace diesel locomotives.

DB plans to build “contact overhead line islands” in the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, starting with the first catenary masts in the city of Kiel and the municipality of Büchen.

The new infrastructure is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. Instead of end-to-end electrification of every kilometer of track, the new technology only requires the electrification of short sections of track or individual stations.

Battery trains use the catenary, which is only a few hundred meters to a few kilometers long, to recharge their batteries when traveling on non-electrified stretches of track.

In future, more than 10 million kilometers of rail traffic in Schleswig-Holstein will be driven by electricity rather than fossil fuels, saving 10 million liters of diesel fuel per year.

Initially, more than 30 additional catenary masts are needed at the stations of Kiel and Büchen. By the end of 2023, DB will build the first overhead contact line islands and the first charging substations on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein.

Climate neutral by 2040

“With an innovative infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, we continue to push forward with the expansion of alternative drives,” said Berthold Huber, head of infrastructure at DB.

“Our goal is clear: Deutsche Bahn will be climate neutral by 2040. We are also supported by creative solutions such as the contact overhead line island for battery-powered trains.”

Schleswig-Holstein’s Economics Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen added: “Thanks to battery-powered trains, most diesel multiple units in Schleswig-Holstein will soon be obsolete.”

DB is expected to expand its rail electrification efforts next year. The company has recently come under fire for being slow to electrify railway lines.

This article was originally published by Clean Energy Wire. Republished here under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). To read the original article, click here.