Deutsche Bahn (DB) has begun construction of electrified overhead contact line islands that will recharge battery-powered trains in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

These islands will provide future power supply for battery-powered trains without the need for end-to-end electrification – which standard electric trains would require. Instead, the technology only requires short sections of track or individual stations to be electrified. Battery-powered trains can then use the catenary to recharge their batteries for journeys on non-electrified sections.

Initially, more than 30 additional catenary masts are needed at the stations of Kiel and Büchen

© Deutsche Bahn

Berthold Huber, DB Infrastructure Board Member, said:

“With innovative infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, we continue to move forward with the expansion of reciprocating engines. 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.

In the future, Deutsche Bahn estimates that this system will allow more than ten million kilometers of rail traffic in Schleswig-Holstein to be powered by electricity rather than diesel, with a potential reduction in diesel consumption d about ten million liters per year.

Schleswig-Holstein’s Economics Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen said:

“Thanks to battery-powered trains, most diesel multiple units in Schleswig-Holstein will soon be obsolete. New infrastructure solutions are also required for this innovative vehicle solution. The construction of the overhead line islands for battery-powered trains is an important step towards climate-neutral local transport for the country.

The first catenary masts are currently being erected at Kiel and Büchen stations. The first substations and overhead line islands will then be built in the federal state by the end of 2023.

Deutsche Bahn also wants to extend this approach to other federal states, citing Rhineland-Palatinate and the Rhine-Ruhr region as areas where preparatory plans have been completed or initiated.

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