The Frankfurt-based public transport operator Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) presented their first fuel cell train, which will soon be in regular service. From December, the first of the 27 Coradia iLint 54 trains ordered from Alstom will start running on the Taunus network.
The fuel cell trains ordered in 2019 will initially be used on the RB15 line between Frankfurt and Brandoberndorf. The other vehicles will be delivered by spring and gradually taken into service. They will then be deployed on the RB11, RB12, the aforementioned RB15 connection and the RB16 lines.
Many partners would have to pull together to deploy the vehicles: DB Regio, with its plant in Frankfurt-Griesheim, is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the vehicles. The vehicles were procured through Fahrzeugmanagement Region Frankfurt RheinMain GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of RMV. However, the operation of the buses is the responsibility of Regionalverkehre Start Deutschland GmbH.
The 100 per cent DB-owned subsidiary prevailed in a Europe-wide tender and will replace Hessische Landesbahn (HLB) in December. In order to ensure operations on the Taunus network until the hydrogen trains are fully delivered, HLB will continue to operate the RB11 and RB16 lines on a transitional basis until the end of April. “This is an extraordinary commitment in the interests of passengers,” RMV said in the statement.
The blue-and-white Coradia iLint trains will be refuelled at Industriepark Höchst, where Infraserv Höchst operates a hydrogen filling station that is compatible with the trains. In addition to the actual refuelling facilities, hydrogen storage and compressor systems were built for this purpose, and the track facilities in the industrial park were also expanded.
The project is worth around 500 million euros over 25 years for vehicle procurement, maintenance and operation. The federal government is financing 40 per cent of the additional vehicle costs, limited to 14.7 million euros, compared with the procurement of conventional diesel vehicles. In this way, the federal government is making an important contribution to enabling RMV to rely on alternative drive systems in vehicle procurement, according to the company’s own statements. The federal government is also directly funding the construction of the hydrogen filling station at Industriepark Höchst. In total, the financial support provided to Berlin amounts to EUR 24.3 million. The state of Hesse is funding the construction of the basic rail infrastructure for the hydrogen filling station with about EUR 2.5 million, or nearly 60 per cent of the costs. Added to this was 800,000 euros for preparatory expert opinions and a mobile train refuelling facility.
rmv.de (in German)
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