Eco-friendly locomotive will be 'rolling ambassador' for German Protestant festival

A special locomotive bearing the motto of the 2019 Kirchentag, Germany's biggest regular Protestant festival, will travel the length and breadth of the country as a 'rolling ambassador' for the event that takes place this year in June in the western German city of Dortmund.

Stephen BrownThe train will promote the Kirchentag.

Painted in the red livery of Germany's national rail company, the Deutsche Bahn (DB), and decorated with the logo of the Kirchentag, the locomotive was presented at a ceremony on 14 January at Berlin's central station marking the start of the DB's official partnership with the Dortmund Kirchentag.

'The Kirchentag is taking the train once again because it makes sense and it is climate friendly,' said the president of the Dortmund Kirchentag, journalist Hans Leyendecker, who received a scale model of the locomotive from DB chief executive Richard Lutz at the end of the ceremony.

More than 100,000 participants are expected in Dortmund from 19-23 June for the Kirchentag, a church festival that takes place every two years in a different German city.

Its 2019 motto – 'What confidence is this,' based on a biblical verse (2 Kings 18:19) – is painted on the side of the series BR101 locomotive that will haul Intercity and Eurocity trains throughout Germany.

Stephen BrownDeutsche Bahn chief executive Richard Lutz presents Kirchentag president Hans Leyendecker with a scale model of the Kirchentag locomotive

Describing the locomotive as a 'rolling ambassador' for the Kirchentag, Lutz noted that the electricity that powers DB trains comes from 100 per cent renewable sources.

'We share the concern of the Kirchentag for the environment and mother earth,' said Lutz.

The Kirchentag was founded in 1949 by Protestant lay people in Germany to strengthen democratic culture after the Nazi dictatorship and the Second World War.

As in previous years, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will be present at the Kirchentag with a stand in the 'Market of Opportunities' exhibition space, and representatives of WCC member churches and its leadership will take part in many of the events at the five-day gathering.

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