Experts from the SRCC rail research campus want to help the switch from diesel to battery-powered trains get off the ground with a new type of charging station. The "wallbox" for trains will be tested for a year in Annaberg-Buchholz and will then be available to trains in regular operation in 2024, SRCC Managing Director Sören Claus told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Then, according to the plan, individual battery trains on the Leipzig-Chemnitz line will continue to Annaberg and be charged there.
Just over 60 percent of Germany's rail network is electrified. Diesel vehicles have been rolling on the remaining lines without overhead lines up to now. To protect the climate, they are to be replaced in the future by trains powered by batteries or hydrogen. Battery-powered trains can usually be charged via current collectors on existing overhead lines, for example during a stop at the station. But that is not possible everywhere, Claus emphasized. He estimates that a high double-digit number of separate charging stations will be needed nationwide.
The researchers' task is to create an interface between the railroad's power grid and the rest of the power grid without overloading that grid when charging the trains. The railroad's power grid operates at a frequency of 16.7 instead of 50 hertz. A symmetry converter in the new station ensures that the outgoing power grid is used evenly over three phases, Claus explained. This is the first charging station of its kind in Europe. According to the information, several million euros have gone into the development.
The facility was to be presented to the expert audience on Thursday at the "Digital Rail Convention" conference and officially go into operation. On Friday, school groups and interested citizens will then also be able to find out about the work on the research campus. Lectures on the mobility of the future are planned, for example, as well as simulated rides on the TGV and presentations of current rail vehicles by companies. According to Claus, classes with more than 200 students have already signed up for this.
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