VIDEO. A solution for Romania’s antiquated railway? Desiro ML ÖBB Cityjet by Siemens Mobility, a CO2-neutral solution for non-electrified routes

Desiro ML OEBB Cityjet eco

The Romanian railway network is in an advanced state of disrepair due to a chronic lack of maintenance _most of the track-related assets are on their last legs, according to a European Parliament report.

Railway lines open to commercial traffic are about 11,000 km long (the eighth largest in the EU) and there are more than 1,000 stations.

But only 37 % of the network is electrified compared to an average of 54 % across the EU.

If the length of electrified lines increased by about 10% between 1990 and 2012 in Romania; in the EU it raised by more than 54 % over the same period

As a consequence, the rail system is inefficient and continues to deteriorate. The speed is limited to 50 km/h on almost a third of the network and to 80km/h on another 40%, the study said.

One solution to upgrade the system is a joint project by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Siemens Mobility which are developing an electro-hybrid battery drive for passenger trains with the prototype Desiro ML Cityjet eco. About one-quarter of Austrian railway lines are non-electrified.

Battery operation can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50 percent compared to diesels.

The Cityjet is 75 meters long, with a maximum speed of 160 kilometers an hour and quick acceleration.

Moreover, the Cityjet eco battery-powered train is an alternative for non-electrified rail lines primarily served at present with diesel-powered passenger trains.

Siemens Mobilty says that for comparatively low investment costs, clients get  a train fleet that is far more flexible to use.

Siemens is developing an electro-hybrid battery drive that enables the train to charge its newly installed batteries via the pantograph on electrified rail lines. This energy is then available for powering the train on non-electrified stretches. As soon as the train leaves the electrified line, its batteries feed the train’s power supply system.

The battery system located on the middle car of the converted trainset is comprised of three battery containers, two DC/DC controllers, a battery cooler and other electronic components. The system uses lithium-titanate batteries (LTO technology). Compared with conventional lithium-ion batteries, these modified batteries allow significantly higher charging currents for fast charging.

Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) currently operates more than 300 long-distance services a day, including more than 150 international services and had plans to expand before the pandemic reached Europe disrupting travel.

Here are a number of rail projects planned in Romania:

The modernization of an existing railway line between Coslariu and Cluj in northwest Romania. This project will analyze the condition of the current line to identify bottlenecks and other deficiencies, and carry out a feasibility study.

A project to upgraded the Bucharest–Craiova railway line. The partners will analyse the condition of the current line to identify bottlenecks and other deficiencies.

Another project to upgrade the Apahida-Suceava railway section and improve its operational performance.

To modernize the railway subsystems (lines and installations) within the Bucuresti Nord Railway Complex by implementing a system that ensures interoperability.


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