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Hitachi and Eversholt Rail develop battery for a GWR intercity battery hybrid train trial

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Hitachi and Eversholt Rail develop battery for a GWR intercity battery hybrid train trial

Hitachi Rail and Eversholt Rail are in the advanced stages of designing and engineering an electric-diesel-battery (tri-mode) train, with plans to trial on a Great Western Railway (GWR) Class 802 train in 2022.

With proof of concept and layout in the final stages of approval, work has begun to build the battery for functional testing and integration onto the train. The battery, which will be 6m x 2.2m in size, will replace one of the diesel engines on a five car GWR Class 802 train.

The battery system has been designed for the partially electrified route between Penzance and London. Installation of this modification enables two operating modes. Firstly, to operate on battery only, when travelling on non-electrified sections of the GWR network. Secondly, to supplement the power of the diesel engines, if required, to maintain train performance.

The introduction of the battery will cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions by at least 20%. By using battery power to travel in and out of stations and urban areas, the train will improve air quality and dramatically reduce noise levels, creating a more pleasant environment for passengers and people living nearby.

Having already undertaken fire safety tests to support the design and safety case of the battery, system integration testing will now take place at Hitachi’s facility in Naples, followed by combined testing in Japan. Both tests will take place in 2022, enabling manufacturing and fitment to be undertaken at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory, with on track testing on the Great Western network to follow.

Jim Brewin, UK & Ireland Country Lead, Hitachi Rail said: “Creating an intercity battery hybrid train is a green innovation that will cut emissions by at least 20%, improve air quality and generate fuel savings for the operator. This is new technology, and we have made progress in creating the battery prototype and are now preparing for system and network trials. The UK has an opportunity to become a global leader in battery technology and we believe it will be key to the Government meeting its Net Zero targets.”

Peter Wilkinson, Managing Director Passenger Services at the Department for Transport (DfT) said: “I’m thoroughly delighted to see these battery trains progressing. In a world increasingly vulnerable to climate change, and the environmental and atmospheric impacts of carbon and other forms of pollution, the rail industry must both show leadership and take the lead; waiting for permission simply won’t be an acceptable excuse. This project is an exemplar and we are going to need others like it if we are to succeed in creating a future mixed economy of modern, environmentally clean and safe future rolling stock traction solutions.”

Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director at Eversholt Rail said: “We are extremely proud of the investment we have made in our Class 802 fleet on the Great Western Railway. This fleet has brought a step change in train performance and passenger environment on the routes they operate and this hybrid investment is the next stage in that journey. We are excited to be working with Hitachi, using leading edge battery technology to deliver this project. This equipment will enable a reduction in carbon and noise emissions whilst improving air quality and delivering fuel savings.”

Steve Montgomery Managing Director of First Rail said: “We recognise and welcome opportunities to invest in sustainable rail initiatives and support innovations such as this which create solutions to help improve rail’s emissions and air quality, accelerating the transition to a zero carbon world. Working with our industry partners ensures that we achieve a better environment for our customers and will further encourage them to switch from cars to trains, which have a lower environmental impact per passenger mile.”

In 2020, Hitachi and Eversholt Rail identified the opportunity to trial adding a battery to existing diesel-electric (bi-mode) train on the London to Penzance route. The line is only partially electrified, with the majority of the 300 mile journey requiring diesel. By adding a battery, the train will be an electric-diesel-battery hybrid train (a tri-mode).

Hitachi is committed to becoming a climate change innovator and is a Principal Sponsor of COP26 in Glasgow this month. The business is a global leader in rail battery technology and last month [October 2021], celebrated five years since the inaugural run of the DENCHA train, the world’s first battery-powered passenger train. Hitachi is also able to draw on the support of its battery partner – Hyperdrive Innovation. The company is creating and developing battery packs for mass production at Hyperdrive’s HYVE facility in Sunderland, the UK’s first independent battery pack manufacturing facility.

This trial also represents a continuation of Hitachi Rail’s decarbonisation strategy to offer solutions for customers to help them reduce emissions around the world, through the provision of alternative fuel trains and encouraging modal shift away from cars and planes to trains.

ENDS

Images and video available for journalists here

For more information, please contact:

Douglas McIlroy, Hitachi Rail

07548238140

douglas.mcilroy@hitachirail.com

Note to Editors:

  • More information on Hitachi Rail’s decarbonisation strategy can be viewed here
  • More information on DENCHA battery train can be viewed here

About Hitachi Rail:

Hitachi Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signalling, service & maintenance, digital technology and turnkey solutions. With a presence in 38 countries across six continents and over 12,000 employees, our mission is to contribute to society through the continuous development of superior rail transport solutions. We are proud of our global achievements, from our world ­famous ‘bullet trains’, to our signalling solutions and turnkey projects, state­-of-the-art traffic management and digital solutions. Drawing on the wider Hitachi Group’s market-leading technology and research-and-development capabilities, we strive for industry leading innovations and solutions that can deliver value for customers and sustainable railway systems that benefit wider society. For information about Hitachi Rail, visit www.hitachirail.com

About Eversholt Rail:

Eversholt Rail owns UK passenger and freight rolling stock and has more than 25 years’ experience in the rail industry. Eversholt Rail has invested more than £3bn in new trains since privatisation and continually invests in existing fleets to maintain quality and reliability to deliver a better passenger experience. Eversholt Rail has a proud history of innovation and plays an integral role in the growth and modernisation of the UK rail sector by introducing new products and technologies into the market.

Further information can be obtained on www.eversholtrail.co.uk

About First Group:

FirstGroup plc is a leading private sector provider of public transport services. With £4.3 billion in revenue and around 30,000 employees, First Bus and First Rail transported nearly 700,000 passengers a day in the year to March 2021. First Bus is the second largest regional bus operator in the UK, serving two-thirds of the country’s 15 largest conurbations with a fleet of c.5,000 buses. First Rail is the UK’s largest rail operator, with many years of experience running long-distance, commuter, regional and sleeper rail services. We operate a fleet of c.3,750 rail vehicles on four contracted operations (Avanti, GWR, SWR, TPE) and two open access routes (Hull Trains and Lumo, our new East Coast service). We create solutions that reduce complexity, making travel smoother and life easier. Our businesses are at the heart of our communities and the essential services we provide are critical to delivering wider economic, social and environmental goals. We are formally committed to operating a zero-emission First Bus fleet by 2035 and to cease purchasing further diesel buses after 2022; and First Rail will help support the UK Government’s goal to remove all diesel-only trains from service by 2040. Visit our website at www.firstgroupplc.com and follow us @firstgroupplc on Twitter.

About Great Western Railway:

Great Western Railway (GWR) operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the Covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR was recently awarded an extension to its direct award franchise (called DA3), which shall run up to 31 March 2023, with an option to extend for a further year. Find out more here: https://www.gwr.com/about-us

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About Hitachi Rail: Hitachi Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signalling, service & maintenance, digital technology and turnkey solutions. With a presence in 38 countries across six continents and over 12,000 employees, our mission is to contribute to society through the continuous development of superior rail transport solutions. We are proud of our global achievements, from our world ­famous ‘bullet trains’, to our signalling solutions and turnkey projects, state­-of-the-art traffic management and digital solutions. Drawing on the wider Hitachi Group’s market-leading technology and research-and-development capabilities, we strive for industry leading innovations and solutions that can deliver value for customers and sustainable railway systems that benefit wider society. For information about Hitachi Rail, visit www.hitachirail.com

Press contacts

Doug McIlroy

Doug McIlroy

Media contact – UK & Ireland +44 7548 238 140

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