With the launch of service in December 2024, battery-electric trains will be used for the first time in the VBB network in Berlin and Brandenburg
The Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area will get the first battery-electric, emission-free regional trains in late 2024 along with an improved and expanded timetable. To provide this service, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB), which again won the contract for the network early in June, has ordered 31 two-car, battery-operated Mireo Plus B trains from Siemens Mobility. The federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg are responsible for planning and financing regional rail passenger service in the VBB region.
Guido Beermann, Minister for Transport for the State of Brandenburg:
“The use of environmentally friendly propulsion systems in public transport marks a milestone in the technical transition taking place in the rail sector. As the first battery-electric, multiple-unit train in the VBB network, the Mireo Plus B provides real added value in terms of climate compatibility and economy compared to the trains operating with combustion engines currently in use. This trend toward electric trains, together with an even more attractive service offering, will continue and give further impetus to the transport transition.”
Regine Günther, Senator for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, the State of Berlin:
“The new trains ordered for regional service will make a double contribution to protecting the environment: There will be more train connections and at the same time fewer emissions. Providing more space, better equipment and features, and a higher service frequency, the regional trains will become more and more attractive for daily commuting and a real alternative to private cars.”
Susanne Henckel, Managing Director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Public Transport Authority (VBB):
“We have set new standards with the East Brandenburg network and its focus on alternative drives. The new trains along with the increased service frequency will significantly improve the offering for passengers. There is, in fact, no alternative: Environmentally friendly rail must be further supported and expanded. What pleases me the most is that electric trains with battery storage systems will operate on many lines in the future. The transport transition and climate protection are in full harmony: It’s a good day for public transport in Berlin and Brandenburg.”
Detlef Bröcker, Managing Director, Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB):
“With the Mireo Plus B from Siemens, we have a high-performance, highly efficient and innovative train in terms of performance, range and equipment, and one that’s especially suitable for the partially electrified regional lines of the East Brandenburg network. With our push toward innovation and providing equipment that is geared to the needs of our passengers, we’re strengthening climate-friendly regional rail transport and combining climate protection goals with the requirements of the transport transition.”
Dr. Elmar Zeiler, Head of Mass Transit and Regional Trains at Siemens Mobility:
“Sustainability is a very high priority for Siemens Mobility, which is why we are so pleased with the second order for our battery-powered Mireo Plus B. Our Mireo is really poplar with customers as well as passengers. We’ve already sold over 240 trains in this successful series. This state-of-the-art train delivers passenger comfort and convenience, reliability, and availability along with climate protection. By using batteries, the trains can operate on non-electrified railway lines, replacing diesel-powered trains and making a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.”
Emission-free, energy-efficient, and recyclable trains for East Brandenburg
In their Europe-wide tender for the East Brandenburg rail network, the states of Berlin and Brandenburg clearly focused on alternative drives and reducing environmental pollution. At present, diesel-powered trains operate on the network’s routes. By switching to the Mireo Plus B battery-powered trains, annual consumption of diesel fuel will be reduced by around 4.4 million liters in the East Brandenburg network. The new trains will also completely eliminate local CO2 emissions and, depending on the electricity mix, also cut supra-regional emissions by roughly 11,500 tons per year. At the same time, they will significantly reduce fine dust emissions.
The battery-hybrid train draws its energy from the overhead contact line. On non-electrified sections of the network’s routes, lithium-ion batteries – previously charged on the electrified sections – provide the train’s power supply. Recovered braking energy is also used for powering the train. The two-car train has a battery-electric range of more than 90 kilometers.
More service and comfort for passengers
The East Brandenburg network also meets all the regional rail transport quality standards set by the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. The new trains will provide additional passenger-oriented services with regard to both equipment and service standards.
The new train cars are equipped with three doors on each side, enabling passengers in wheelchairs or with buggies to board and exit easier, even on lower platforms. Three doors on each car side as well as new navigation system in the train ensure that passenger interchanges at stations are fast, uncomplicated and, above all, barrier-free.
With the new trains, passengers on the network’s lines will have available at least 128 seats and twelve spaces for bicycles, wheelchairs, and buggies. Two or more trainsets can be coupled and operated as so-called double or multiple units to provide additional seating capacity.
With the creation of the new East Brandenburg network, the timetable offering will be increased on some lines, and the states have order more double trainsets than in the past to be operated on heavily used lines. The Mireo Plus B has more seats than required in the original tender.
In the future, passengers will also have free WiFi access, a real-time passenger information system, and a specially designated family area. Around 60 electrical sockets are evenly distributed throughout the two cars, as well as USB charging ports and locations for inductive charging.
Siemens Mobility is setting new standards for environmental integrity with its Mireo Plus B. Right from the design phase, important criteria were set for materials, structural design and weight reduction, among other factors, to ensure an environmentally friendly product. In addition, the number of the train’s components, materials and wear parts as well as its product packaging were minimized, and permanent bonds between parts were eliminated in order to ensure maximum recyclability. As a result, large main sections and finishing components such as shell, bogies or glass windowpanes can be almost completely separated from the unusable parts and recycled.
The order will also include a service and spare parts supply contract over twelve years until 2036. Siemens Mobility will ensure the availability of the trains over the entire term of the contract. Part of this service contract is not only to organise the performance of all necessary maintenance activities, but also continuously further develop maintenance activities, adopted to the customer-specific use of the vehicles.
The battery-electric trains will operate on the following routes:
RB12 Berlin Ostkreuz – Oranienburg – Templin Stadt
RB25 Berlin Ostkreuz – Werneuchen
RB26 Berlin-Lichtenberg – Müncheberg (every second train Mondays to Fridays)
RB35 Fürstenwalde (Spree) – Bad Saarow
RB36 Frankfurt (Oder) – Beeskow – Königs Wusterhausen
RB54 Rheinsberg (Mark) – Löwenberg (Mark) (– Berlin Ostkreuz)
RB60 Eberswalde – Wriezen – Frankfurt (Oder)
RB61 Schwedt (Oder) – Angermünde
RB62 Angermünde – Prenzlau
RB63 Eberswalde – Joachimsthal (– Berlin Hbf.)