Czech Railways to introduce electric and battery-powered trains
In addition to buying four dual-source battery-electric trains from the Škoda Group, Czech Railways is also preparing major tenders for several dozen more such vehicles.
It’s not just cars that are going electric – Czech Railways is updating its infrastructure with the planned purchase of over 40 electric and battery-powered trains, travel news site Zdopravy.cz reports. BEMU, or battery electric multiple units, are dual-source railcars that can run either on electricity transmitted via overhead wires or on rechargeable batteries. Therefore they do not use fossil fuels such as coal or diesel and emit no greenhouse gases. Passenger BEMU trains are already in use in Japan and Austria – and now for the first time, Czechia will be joining them.
Fifteen of the over 40 trains that Czech Railways is planning to purchase will be battery-electric units with 140 seats each, while a further 27 will be electric only. Most of the trains will operate in Moravia, mainly in the Moravian-Silesian and South Moravian regions.
According to Zdopravy.cz, Czech Railways already have the approval of the supervisory board and management committee for negotiations with potential suppliers and a call for tenders 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 at the outset than petrol or diesel railcars, one advantage is that they don’t require electric ground rails, which have very high maintenance costs. Modern battery-electric trains have the ability to operate on both electrified and unelectrified types of track. The batteries can be charged at charging stations or from electrified tracks.