Swiss battery-powered train breaks world distance record

Swiss battery-powered train breaks world distance record

In December 2021, an all-electric, Swiss-built Stadler locomotive broke the Guinness World Record for the longest journey by a train on a single battery charge. Despite the weather, the train managed to travel 224 kilometres before running out of charge, setting the record on the route between Warnemünde and the German capital city Berlin.

Battery only trains a carbon-friendly alternative to diesel-electric

The FLIRT battery-powered train was developed by the Swiss international company in 2016, after the original design was developed for Swiss public transport for use in Zug in 2002. The new version aims to be CO2 neutral and a climate-friendly option for railway lines that haven’t been fully electrified.

In battery-only mode, the train managed a distance of 224 kilometres, enough to go from Zurich to Aarau and back twice on a single charge. The train broke the distance record for a battery-powered locomotive, which is now certified by Guinness World Records. “We calculated the vehicle had an operational range of 80 kilometres,” said Technical Lead Evelyn Thiel, “But on various journeys, we were able to realise significantly greater ranges.”

Swiss train fought wintery conditions to break the record

Along with the long distance, the train also had to cope with snow and wintery temperatures during its attempt. Executive Vice President of Marketing & Sales at Stadler, Dr Ansgar Brockmeyer, hailed the achievement, saying “We are very proud to be the official holder of the world record.”

Stadler is one of the largest providers of rolling stock in Switzerland and Germany, exporting worldwide from its headquarters in Bussnang, Canton Aargau. So far, over 2.000 FLIRTs have been sold in 20 countries around the world. With this new record, there is hope that better battery technology will provide a cheap way of making diesel-electric lines more environmentally friendly.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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