The Anonymous Widower

Battery Units Planned For Chemnitz – Leipzig Route

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

I have visited Chemnitz and after a visit to the area I wrote Would I Go Back To Dresden, Chemnitz And Leipzig, where I said this.

I enjoyed my two days spent exploring these three cities in the former East Germany. On a properly planned trip, there is a lot to see to satisfy any particular taste.

This picture sums up Chemnitz, which used to be called Karl-Marx-Stadt.

Although, I did get a reasonable gluten-free lunch in a restaurant under the Rathaus, called the Ratskeller.

Summarising the new battery trains, I can say the following.

  • The trains will be eleven three-car battery-powered versions of Alstom’s Coradia Continental multiple-units.
  • They will replace diesel-electric locomotives and coaches.
  • Trains will generally run in pairs.
  • The maximum speed would be increased by 20 kph to 160 kph.
  • The current service takes sixty-five minutes and the new trains will knock six minutes off the time.
  • Batteries will take thirty minutes to charge at Chemnitz and Leipzig.

Note that the route would appear to be just over seventy kilometres and there are stops at .. Bad Lausick, Geithain and Burgstädt.

A few of my thoughts.

Chemnitz And Leipzig


Chemnitz and Leipzig are two of the three largest cities in the German state of Saxony.

  • Chemnitz has a population of around 220,000
  • Leipzig has a population of nearly 600,000
  • The train journey between the two cities takes an hour.

But they only have an hourly train service between them.

Many services of a similar duration in the UK have only hourly services, but there are several that have or aspire to have half-hourly services.

Liverpool and Preston could be an equivalent city-pair in the UK and they currently have a single stopping service every hour.

In the next few years, the following will happen.

  • An express Liverpool and Glasgow service will stop at Preston.
  • A second stopping service will run via Ormskirk.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Germans doubling the frequency between Chemnitz and Leipzig.

Number Of Trains Needed


  • The service will take an hour.
  • Thirty minutes will be needed to charge the batteries at either end of the route.

This means that a round trip will take three hours, so this will mean.

  • Three trains will be needed for the hourly service.
  • Six trains will be needed for a half-hourly service.

If all services are run by pairs of three-car trains, there would be a need for twelve new trains to run the half-hourly service.

So perhaps, the service will be half-hourly, with some trains six-cars and others only three-cars.

Charging Time

The charging time seems a bit long to me, but it is using conventional pantographs, rather than a specialist charging station.

Suppose, by using one of these stations like a Railbaar, that the charging time could be reduced to fifteen minutes, this would reduce the round trip to two and a half hours.

This would mean that five trains would be needed for a half-hourly service.

If all services are run by pairs of three-car trains, there would be a need for ten new trains.

This would leave a spare or allow for one being maintained.


Around the world we will be seeing a lot of current diesel services converted into battery-electric services.

How many services are there like Chemnitz and Leipzig?

  • Around 50-60 miles.
  • Only a few stops.
  • Run by noisy and polluting diesel trains.
  • Operators need more trains to increase the frequency.
  • Operators need new trains to increase the level of customer service.
  • Operators need to run faster services.
  • There are good electricity supplies to charge the trains at both ends.

Here are a few simple examples from the UK.

  • Ashford and Hastings
  • Bidston and Wrexham
  • Cambridge and Ipswich
  • Carlisle and Newcastle
  • Didcot and Oxford
  • Ely and Norwich
  • Ely and Peterborough
  • Fife Circle Line
  • Ormskirk and Preston

Battery-electric trains will be invading the diesel world.



October 9, 2019 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. Lots of cracking narrow-gauge steam lines in East Germany too!

    Comment by mauricegreed | October 9, 2019 | Reply

    • What Deutsche Bahn did in the Harz Mountains is to be commended.

      Comment by AnonW | October 10, 2019 | Reply

  2. Can it be done in the UK?
    Amazing to see the inventors of lithium-ion batteries awarded the Nobel prize 🏅🏅🏅
    We use lithium-ion to power our battery trains in Japan 🚄🔋
    Hitachi wants to bring this clean solution to UK railways 🇬🇧 #netzero
    We are teaming up with
    to build a ‘Great British Train’ for
    here in the UK 🚄
    Our bid would see the most advanced, customer-oriented train ever to run in Europe #HS2

    Comment by Yy Hiro | October 10, 2019 | Reply

    • Of course it can!

      Did you see my post, where I mused about HS2 trains running on battery power with electrification at the ends of a section?

      By we do you mean the Japanese or Hitachi?

      The Scots are worried about your weather in the rugby! The English are OK as they are through and get an extra day in bed!

      Comment by AnonW | October 10, 2019 | Reply

      • Whether the game starts or not will be decided in the morning on the 13th.
        Even if the weather gets better, there is a possibility that the train will be stopped.
        There may be a huge typhoon damage around the venue.

        Scotland coach Gregor Townsend commented, “The weather will get better on the 13th and a game will be held. If there’s a problem, transportation and other infrastructure may not be working, but the organizers have to believe that the games will be played without the spectators.”.

        Comment by Yy Hiro | October 10, 2019

  3. All aboard: Inside Hitachi’s vision for a zero carbon battery-powered UK rail network
    09 October 2019

    Comment by Yy Hiro | October 10, 2019 | Reply

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