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 | , , | 6 Comments

A Glimpse Of London’s Future

London will soon be getting Crossrail, but Leipzig already has a cross-city underground railway called the Leipzig City Tunnel, which is the centrepiece of the S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland.

These are a collection of pictures taken of the various stations in the tunnel and on the surface sections of the lines.

Unlike Crossrail, which is considered one line with two branches at both ends,  there are several railways through the tunnel.

Wikiedia has a section on the Operating Schedule.

This is said.

It was planned that each hour and in each direction, there were up to ten S-Bahn, two regional trains and one express (as of July 2007)

There would appear to be seven S-Bahn routes, with intervals of between 30 and 120 minutes. As Crossrail, Thameslink and the East London Line in London, are all planned to or could handle twenty-four trains an hour, it does seem the Germans do things differently.

Note the following.

  • The Seaside Park Hotel, where I stayed was about 200 metres from the trains.
  • The line certainly has some spectacular stations.
  • Central stations in the tunnel appear to be island platforms.
  • Ticket machines were on the platforms, where they are really needed.
  • Bicycles were everywhere underground.
  • There are no platform-edge doors.
  • Leipzig Markt Station was of an older era on the surface.
  • There tended to be two escalators and steps to descend to and ascend from the trains. That is usually, the design-on-the-cheap problem.
  • The one surface station I visited, Liepzig MDR, wasn’t step-free.
  • The frequency through the Leipzig ity Tunnel, is low compared to the sixteen trains per hour through the East London Line and very low compared to that proposed for Crossrail and Thameslink.

I have a feeling that because it was designed a few years before Crossrail and uses older, refurbished rolling-stock, that certain features of the line are not as good as others.

Looking at the three systems; Leipzig, Crossrail and Thameslink, I feel that to get the most out of an expensive tunnel, you must do the following.

  • Use trains designed specially for the tunnel.
  • Design the trains for fast entry and exit.
  • Make access between surface and platforms fast and with a large capacity.
  • Use double-ended stations to ease passenger journeys.
  • Have a large selection of routes through the tunnel, to get a maximum return for the tunnel. It may be that Crossrail needs more destinations.
  • Use island platforms if possible.
  • Make all stations step-free.

I think too that after seeing Leipzig, there are implications for London.


One problem for London, shown up by the Leipzig system, is what to do with bicycles on the train. These seem to be allowed at all times in Leipzig, but this page on the Thameslink web site, says that we do things differently.

More Destinations

As I indicated earlier, I think, that to maximise return on the massive investment of the tunnel, that Crossrail needs more routes and destinations, as Leipzig and Thameslink have.

As things stand, Crossrail intends to run a service like this according to Wikipedia.

The Elizabeth line will run a familiar London Underground all-stops service in the core section, but the western section will have non-stopping stations – like the Metropolitan line. The Eastern section has extra peak hour services that will either not enter the core section or that will be non-stopping at some stations. Similar to the Bakerloo line’s outer sections, the Elizabeth line will share platforms and rails with other services outside the tunnelled sections. About two-thirds of all Elizabeth line westbound trains will loop back after Paddington, about one third of peak-hour Elizabeth line trains to/from the north-east section will start/end at Liverpool Street main line platforms bypassing Whitechapel.

So it looks like if 24 trains per hour go through the centre tunnel, that sixteen of them will turn-back at Paddington.

That looks like a waste of resources to me.

Suggestions have been for services in the West to go.

  • Up the West Coast Main Line to Watford, Tring and Milton Keynes.
  • Along the Chiltern Line to West Ruislip and High Wycombe.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of trains an hour went to Oxford.

The East is more problematic, as the only suitable extension is probably Southend, unless the Great Eastern Main Line is four-tracked, which would be very unlikely.

Kent is more fruitful territory, as an extension to Gravesend has been safeguarded. But surely Ebbsfleet with its Continental links would be better.

The Long Distance Crossrail Train

The Class 345 trains that will be used on Crossrail are Bombardier Aventras. According to serious reports, these trains could have the following features if needed.

  • 200 kph capability.
  • Metro, commuter or long-distance interior.
  • 750 VDC, 25 KVAC or battery power.
  • The ability to fit the platform-edge doors in Central London.

So you might reserve a few paths through Central London for long distance trains, if passenger statistics showed it would be profitable.

Imagine being able to get a train from Cardiff to Ebbsfleet for the Continent or from Birmingham to Southend.

Obviously services would only be provided if there was seen to be a demand.

But Crossrail’s and Bombardier’s engineers have designed the tools, so that many East-West journeys are possible.


July 24, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Would I Go Back To Dresden, Chemnitz And Leipzig?

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.

I would probably choose Dresden or Leipzig as a base, depending on which was the easiest for you to get to.

An interesting trip would be to perhaps fly to Prague and spend time there, before taking the train to Dresden up the Elbe. After Dresden you could go on to Berlin, from where you could fly home.

Typical journey times are as follows.

Prague to Dresden – 2 hr. 15 min.

Dresden to Chemnitz – 1 hr. 30 min.

Dresden to Leipzig – 1 hr. 30 min.

Dresden to Berlin – 2 hr.

The two shortest routes are double-deck regional trains, so you can relax upstairs and enjoy the countryside. Comfort on these double-deck trains is about the same on say any of the Class 379 trains or similar, that are fairly numerous in the UK. But the on-board train information is generally of a much lower quality than we would accept in the UK.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Philistines Like Islamic State Are Nothing New

We are all worried about what Islamic State will do to important world heritage, as is reported on the BBC in this article about Palmyra.

In Leipzig I came across a modern church that was not to my liking with a model of an old Gothic church in front.

So I got thinking, that perhaps the church was something like a cathedral or important church that had been destroyed in the Second World War.

But it isn’t!

The model church is the Paulinerkirche and it stood on the site. Wikipedia sums up what happened to the church as follows.

The church survived the war practically unscathed but was dynamited in 1968 during the communist regime of East Germany. After the reunification of Germany, it was decided to build a new university church on the site in the shape of the former church. A new building, the Paulinum (formally: “Aula und Universitätskirche St. Pauli”, i.e. “Assembly Hall and University Church St. Paul”), was built on the site beginning in 2007.

Enough said!


June 15, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Nikolaikirche

The Nikolaikirche in Leipzig is introduced in Wikipedia like this.

The St. Nicholas Church (in German: Nikolaikirche) has long been one of the most famous in Leipzig, and rose to national fame in 1989 with the Monday Demonstrations when it became the centre of peaceful revolt against communist rule.

As I was close I had to visit.

It seemed shut, so unfortunately, I had to pass on a visit to such an iconic place in the fall of another evil dictatorship. In Peaceful Demonstrations in the church’s Wikipedia entry this is said.

Cabaret artist Bernd-Lutz Lange said about the events which started in the St. Nicholas Church:

There was no head of the revolution. The head was the Nikolaikirche and the body the centre of the city. There was only one leadership: Monday, 5 pm, St. Nicholas Church

But then my father always said that St. Paul’s stood defiantly against the Nazis in the Blitz.


June 15, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment


I didn’t know what to expect in Leipzig and I was pleasantly surprised.

It was another city, where you could find a city centre close to the excellent rail station. I wasn’t specifically looking for a hotel, but I saw several that looked to be a sensible place to spend the night. Although, I’ve just looked for next Friday and everything affordable seems to be sold out.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The Largest Railway Station In The World

My journey took me to Leipzig Hauptbahnhof. Wikipedia says this about the station.

Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is the central railway terminus in Leipzig, Saxony. At 83,460 square metres, it is the world’s largest railway station measured by floor area. It has 19 overground platforms housed in six iron train sheds, a multi-level concourse with towering stone arches, and a 293-metre long facade. Two Leipzig City Tunnel underground platforms were inaugurated in December 2013. The station also functions as a large shopping centre.

Train services are operated by Deutsche Bahn, S-Bahn Mitteldeutschland, Erfurter Bahn and Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn. As of 2008, Leipzig Hauptbahnhof handled an average of 120,000 passengers per day.

The station is probably bigger physically than Kings Cross and St. Pancras International combined, although together they handled 153,000 passengers per day last year. This Google Map shows the station and the centre of Leipzig.



Note the size of the station and the number of platforms. And there are two more underneath on the Leipzig City Tunnel.

I found it an easy walk between the station and the centre.

These pictures show the station.

Note how like St. Pancras, there is a shopping mall underneath the platform level. I bought some excellent strawberries there. They were smaller and flavourful, unlike the tasteless, large Elsan variety we get offered in Supermarkets all the time.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

From Dresden To Leipzig

This was not the most stimulating of journeys, as there was nothing worth photographing.

The train was fairly full.

There was also a bit of a problem at Leipzig, where the passengers had to manhandle and womanhandle a guy in an electric wheelchair out of the train. Obviously, Deutsche Bahn have a different attitude to wheelchair passengers compared to most UK rail companies.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment