The Anonymous Widower

Quiet, Clean And Fast – MTU Hybrid Drive From Rolls-Royce For Lake Constance Belt Railway

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

It is the earliest press release from the company, about the MTU Hybrid PowerPack that I can find.

It dates from May 2018.

The press release opens with these bullet points.

  • Successful simulation of hybrid train operation on Lake Constance Belt Railway
  • MTU Hybrid PowerPack reduces emissions, noise levels and operating costs on the existing infrastructure
  • Development is part of the Rolls-Royce electrification strategy.

It looks to me, that the press release was produced as marketing material for the launch of the MTU Hybrid PowerPack, which took place in 2018.

These are my thoughts.

Lake Constance Belt Railway

The Lake Constance Belt Railway is introduced like this by Wikipedia.

The Lake Constance Belt Railway (German: Bodenseegürtelbahn) is a continuous, single-track railway from Stahringen to Lindau-Aeschach in the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. It runs mainly along the northern shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee).


It was originally built by three different railway companies in what were then three different countries that are all now states in Germany; Bavaria, Baden and Wurttemberg.

  1. It is a 74 kilometre or 46 mile line.
  2. It is a standard gauge railway.
  3. The line has lots of curves.
  4. It appears to have about a dozen stations.

The railway also passes through Friedrichshafen, where MTU Friedrichshafen is based.


  1. MTU Friedrichshafen factory is indicated by a red arrow.
  2. The Lake Constance Belt Railway running between the factory and marina.

It’s all very handy for the factory.

Railway Operations

Services on the railway appear to be run using DB Class 611 trains.

  • They are two-car tilting, diesel multiple units.
  • They have a top speed of 160 kph or 99 mph.
  • They have two MTU engines of 540 kW.
  • Forty are still in service.

These trains were replaced with similar but more modern DB Class 612 trains.

Forty of the earlier trains are are still in service on the Lake Constance Belt Railway and other routes.

It would appear that electrification could be the solution for this single track railway, which is only forty-six miles long.

But it appears some of the locals have objected.

Could it be that MTU Friedrichshafen felt they could provide a better solution?

Simulation Of The Route

The press release describes how the route was simulated.

The operation of the current VT 612 railcar was simulated – it had been retrofitted in virtual reality with MTU Hybrid PowerPacks. That such a retrofit is also possible in a real-world environment has also been demonstrated by a feasibility study carried out by the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary, DB Systemtechnik. This is particularly relevant because these are vehicles that travel fast on curving track. Only these trains, which are fitted with “tilt technology“, are able to negotiate the numerous curves encountered on the Lake Constance Belt Railway track at high speed and thus provide a fast service between Basel and Ulm.

It looks to be an interesting solution to maintain a fast service on a difficult route, that has a twisty bit in the middle.

The press release also describes the MTU Hybrid PowerPack to provide an efficient solution.

The MTU Hybrid PowerPack is a high-tech product from Friedrichshafen and the result of collaboration between the local companies Rolls-Royce Power Systems and ZF Friedrichshafen. It combines the following components to produce an intelligent drive system: a modern MTU diesel engine with exhaust gas aftertreatment, which meets current emission regulations in addition to the future EU Stage V that will come into force as of 2021, an innovative ZF automatic transmission, an electric motor that recovers energy in braking mode and also serves as a drive unit, and an advanced battery system to store the recovered brake energy. The Hybrid PowerPack has demonstrated its reliability, for example, in real-life test runs with a length of around 15,000 kilometres.

Certainly, MTU have done their research and where better, than with a local problem?

January 15, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,

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