Rail manufacturer Stadler has confirmed that its recently delivered BEMU trains in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany have faced software issues leading to problems with vehicle availability in the region. 

Though the company emphasises that teething problems are “not uncommon” for newly developed trains, harsh weather and iced switches preventing trains from being transferred to the company’s workshop has led to a backlog of trains needing maintenance to rectify the issue disrupting internal communication between train components. 

A spokesperson told Railway Technology: “We will solve the software problems with an update. In order to roll out the update, certain documentation and test obligations must first be fulfilled, and the components and systems must be tested together. Safety is of the utmost importance here. 

“In order to increase vehicle availability in the meantime and to rectify the faults at short notice, the company, as an ad hoc measure, more than doubled the staff on site in the workshop and in the mobile teams, and work is done in several shifts.” 

The FLIRT Akku trains form the “world’s first battery-electric train fleet in regular scheduled service” according to Stadler and began operating in the region in October, with 55 trains set to rollout on the network by the middle of 2024. 

However, Schleswig-Holstein’s rail operator NAH.SH has now reported limited travel options on the Lübeck and Kiel route due to a lack of vehicle availability, with the restrictions scheduled to remain until 7 January and a shuttle bus in use on at least one line. 

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By GlobalData

Despite this, Stadler was keen to emphasise that the trains had not been taken out of service and put the issues with train availability down to the weather conditions meaning it took longer for the company to gain an overview of the situation. 

During the maintenance, the faulty trains will have their systems reset before being retested and brought back on to the network. 

Though the fleet in Schleswig-Holstein has been touted as the first fully battery-powered regularly scheduled network, Stadler has also seen orders from the BEMUs from operators around the world including San Francisco, California’s Caltrain, which ordered one of the trains as part of a larger purchase in August.