Weekly Newsletter

22 March 2024

Weekly Newsletter

22 March 2024

German train line offers free travel after Hydrogen fleet issues

The Taunusbahn line said it made progress with manufacturer Alstom to improve the reliability of the new fleet.

Noah Bovenizer March 19 2024

A German train line to Frankfurt is giving passengers free rides for two months after admitting the slow introduction of new hydrogen-powered trains delivered a “poor operating quality”. 

The RB15 ‘Taunusbahn’ line in Hesse, run by START on behalf of transport association RMV, began switching to hydrogen trains in December 2022 but saw a 19% cancellation rate the following year. 

The issues began after some of the first hydrogen trains delivered to RMV by manufacturer Alstom were found to be defective, delaying their rollout, and the operator struggled to find enough staff able to operate the new vehicles. 

While the entire fleet of 27 Coradia iLint trains, ordered in 2019, is now in operation and running at a better average cancellation rate of 90%, the operator said it wanted to reward customers who had remained loyal to the service between Brandoberndorf and Bad Homburg. 

However RMV said there is still improvements to be made with Knut Ringat, chairman of RMV management, calling on Alstom to further improve the fleet’s reliability. 

He said: “There is still room for improvement here, after all the standard in RMV is 95 percent and the vehicle manufacturer has to achieve that here too. Among other things, the currently even more frequent refuelling means higher personnel costs for the operator START. 

“Fortunately, with great effort, we have succeeded in securing the staffing level of train drivers despite the nationwide shortage of skilled workers.” 

Following the delayed rollout of the hydrogen fleet, with only two delivered for the beginning of operations in 2022, RMV ended up using the older diesel trains along with rail replacement bus services to try and maintain the timetable on the Taunusbahn line but these replacements were not without their own issues. 

A revised plan by Alstom subsequently saw all 27 trains delivered by the end of September and attempted to increase the reliability of delivered trains by retrofitting them to address the issues with hardware and software components. 

However, the line still saw multiple closures through the year as RMV and Alstom carried out construction work to improve reliability and attempted to recruit the staff needed to cover the operation of the trains. 

The free travel programme covers all 2nd class travel between Brandoberndorf and Bad Homburg as well as morning journeys to Frankfurt and return journeys in the afternoon and evening and will run between 1 April and 31 May, customers with an annual pass or Deutschland-Ticket will also receive a credit of €49 per month during the scheme.

Uncover your next opportunity with expert reports

Steer your business strategy with key data and insights from our latest market research reports and company profiles. Not ready to buy? Start small by downloading a sample report first.

Newsletters by sectors


Sign up to the newsletter: In Brief

Your corporate email address *
First name *
Last name *
Company name *
Job title *
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Thank you for subscribing

View all newsletters from across the GlobalData Media network.