More historic than one would think: Pesa’s 2-car Link trains are now fully homologated for revenue services in Germany. It is the first time a modern Polish manufacturer manages to get one of its products approved for revenue service in Germany. Even more remarkable: it is the first diesel train from a foreign manufacturer that gets permission to run in Germany since 1998.
The German notified body responsible for the approval of new rolling stock in Germany, the Eisenbahnbundesamt (EBA), gave the Pesa Link trains its official approval on 03.06.2016. This means that German customers of Pesa now can start using these trains for their revenue services.
The Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn
First one to do so is the Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (NEB), that has seven 2-car (series 0632) and two 3-car (series 0633) Link trains on order. These were ordered in 2013. They will be used between Berlin (DE) and Kostrzyń (PL), true international passenger services. For the future NEB is considering extending this service beyond Kostrzyń. And yes, the approval for Poland was already granted. Link trains are already in operation in several Polishregions such as Województwa Zachodniopomorskie and Lubuskie.
Pesa must be relieved. The homologation of its Link-platform for Germany has been challenging, with many interesting chaptors. In fact, NEB is not fist German operator that wanted Link trains. Netinera ordered twenty 2-car Link in 2011 already for its Oberpfalzbahn (Regensburg – Marktredwitz – Schirnding) services. But as test runs started, and the homologation process did not meet the expectations, the company decided to cancel the order in 2015 and get Alstom LINT trains instead.
Secondly, the homologation is also good news for the German railways (DB Regio), that closed a mega deal with Pesa during InnoTrans 2012: a frame contract for up to 470 Link trains. A shake up of the European railway industry and a clear warning to the German industry to step up and improve their products. 71 Link trains have been ordered so far for three different contract of DB Regio.
Yet the first step
But Pesa is not done yet. The deal with DB Regio also envisages Link trains a 1-car and 3-car compositions too. NEB will get 3-car trains too. Since 2015 therefore a 1-car and 3-car prototype train in the livery of DB Regio are available for homologation.
Presentation NEB in Berlin
On 16.06.2016 a festive event was held at Berlin-Friedrichstrasse station in Berlin. Representatives of Pesa, the NEB, Berlin-Brandenburg and even the Polish government were present during the official handover of a two-car Link.
The next day, revenue services with the new trains commenced immediately. The NEB Links, that eventually have to cross the Polish border to Kostrzyn, for now will be deployed in Germany only, starting from from Berlin-Gesundbrunnen on line RB27.