Czech Railways to introduce electric and battery-powered trains
It’s not just cars that are going electric – Czech Railways is updating its infrastructure with the planned purchase of more than 40 electric and battery-powered trains, reports travel news site Zdopravy.cz . BEMUs, or battery-powered electric railcars, are dual-source railcars that can run either on electricity transmitted by catenary or on rechargeable batteries. Therefore, they do not use fossil fuels such as coal or diesel and emit no greenhouse gases. BEMU passenger trains are already in service in Japan and Austria – and now, for the first time, Czechia will join them.
Fifteen of the more than 40 trains Czech Railways plans to buy will be battery-electric units with 140 seats each, while another 27 will be electric-only. Most trains will run in Moravia, mainly in the regions of Moravia-Silesia and South Moravia.
According to Zdopravy.cz, Czech Railways already has the approval of the supervisory board and management committee for negotiations with potential suppliers and a tender is being prepared. An agreement has already been reached with the Škoda Group that they will supply the first four units without competition.
Although battery-electric trains are currently more expensive to purchase than gasoline or diesel-powered railcars, they have the advantage of not requiring floor-mounted electric rails, the maintenance costs of which are very high. Modern battery electric trains have the ability to operate on both electrified and non-electrified types of track. The batteries can be charged at charging stations or on electrified tracks.