Inclusion intelligently integrated: ODEG's Desiro HC train sets new standards for barrier-free travel in regional transport

ODEG press release
Test of accessibility innovations successfully passed by passengers with reduced mobility on and in the train 

Brandenburg an der Havel, 25 March 2024 - Today, ODEG - Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn GmbH, in cooperation with its public transport authorities in the states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt as well as political representatives, successfully presented the A and B boarding systems on its "Desiro HC" train on the Elbe-Spree network at Brandenburg main station during a practical test. The regional express train, developed and built by Siemens Mobility, was specially designed to offer people with limited mobility a new dimension of barrier-free travel in regional transport. The entrances and exits allow passengers with mobility aids to travel almost barrier-free, unannounced and independently.

The Desiro HC has two entrances and exits of different heights (A = 55 cm and B = 76 cm) to meet the requirements of the different platform heights along the routes in the Elbe-Spree network. Wider doors (1.40 m) and a spacious multi-purpose area (12 m2) ensure comfortable access and more space for all passengers. These technical innovations were tested today by passengers with reduced mobility at the event and explained by representatives of the vehicle manufacturer Siemens. The train, which has been in service on the Elbe-Spree network since December 2022, also offers step-free access from the 55 cm and 76 cm high platforms into the centre carriage, which is connected via ramps standardised throughout Europe. After the barrier-free boarding area, there are over 6 square metres of catchment areas in the carriage for a quick and safe passenger transfer. Passengers are informed in the vehicle which of the two doors to use. A strong guidance system and pictograms on the floor, walls and doors point to the A and B entrances and exits. In addition, the passenger information system indicates the exit when the train arrives.

Here you will find all the facts at a glance.

The transport services on the Elbe-Spree network were ordered on behalf of the federal states and their transport associations, including Verkehrsgesellschaft Mecklenburg-Vorpommern mbH (VMV), Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH (VBB) and Nahverkehrsservice Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH (NASA). 27 Desiro HC trains are in operation on the RE1 line (Magdeburg Brandenburg an der Havel Berlin Frankfurt (Oder) Eisenhüttenstadt Cottbus), which is one of the most important train connections in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region. This train type will also run on the RB17 (Wismar Ludwigslust) and the RB18 (Bad Kleinen Schwerin) from December 2024. This expansion of the train fleet in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a step forward in ensuring inclusive and comfortable travel.

Rainer Genilke, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Planning of the State of Brandenburg, emphasises: "The State of Brandenburg has set itself the goal of increasing its local rail passenger transport services by almost 45 percent between 2017 and 2031. This puts Brandenburg at the forefront in a Germany-wide comparison. This is also about comfort and user-friendliness in local rail passenger transport. After all, mobility is a basic need for all people, whether they have limited mobility or not."

Manja Schreiner, Senator for Mobility, Transport, Climate Protection and the Environment of the State of Berlin

"This train is a perfect example of inclusion in everyday life. Our fellow citizens with physical disabilities deserve a proper solution like this and not a makeshift solution like a ramp. I wish the Desiro HC and its users with and without wheelchairs a safe journey at all times."

Ute Bonde, Managing Director of the Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association

"Promoting accessibility in the network area and putting it into practice every day is a declared goal of the VBB: be it with the VBB Bus & Bahn escort service, the optimised route guidance in our route planner or our accessible apps. With the two different heights for boarding and alighting on the RE1 route, we are now a big step closer to achieving this goal. Our passengers in Berlin and Brandenburg must and should be able to use their public transport in a self-determined way every day."

Elisabeth Schmidek, mobility-impaired / e-wheelchair user

"The barrier-free innovations on the ODEG train are a big step in the right direction and it is with great appreciation and pleasure that I recognise the need to think about accessibility from the outset. Who wouldn't want to be self-determined and independent when travelling? Accessible mobility is essential for all passengers. And it makes it easier for disabled and non-disabled people to get to work, school and university, to the doctor, to cultural events, to their families and friends and to everything else that everyone here likes to go to."

Dr Elmar Zeiler, Head of Regional Trains at Siemens Mobility

"At Siemens Mobility, we want to create technologies that support people and enable inclusion and equal opportunities. We are proud of the innovative, barrier-free boarding areas on the Desiro HC train for the Elbe-Spree network, which also accommodate platform heights of different heights. This is a real innovation in regional transport and a big step towards inclusive, independent mobility."

Lars Gehrke, Managing Director of ODEG, drove the Desiro HC himself to the two tracks with the different platform heights today: "With today's event, we are passing another milestone in our endeavours to ensure barrier-free, safe and comfortable regional transport. We are proud to make an important contribution to improving accessibility and continue to strive to develop innovative solutions to meet the needs of all passengers. We are a driving force for our region."

From December 2024, the new barrier-free Desiro HC will be running on the RB17 line in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

You can find more information on accessibility at ODEG here: .


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