Testing of a five-car Hitachi Class 802/0 tri-mode unit will begin in 2022, and the train could be in traffic the following year.
It is expected that the train will save more than 20% of fuel on Great Western Railway’s London Paddington-Penzance route.
The plan is for the ‘802’ to use battery power in and out of stations, and through urban areas. Of the 305-mile route, only 53 miles as far as Newbury are electrified (17%).
Hitachi will work with Eversholt Rail (which owns the train) and GWR on the project, using experience gained from Japan.
It will also receive support from Hyperdrive Innovation, which has agreed to create and develop battery packs that would be mass produced at its HYVE facility in Sunderland (RAIL 909).
Modifications to the Class 802/0 will be carried out at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe facility in County Durham.
“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to unlock new greener trains for passengers, reduce running costs for operators and cutting carbon,” said Jim Brewin, Hitachi Rail UK & Ireland Country Lead.
“Britain is in a unique position to become a global leader in battery trains. We want to support the UK’s green economic recovery and levelling-up.”
Hitachi believes that projected improvements in battery technology, particularly in power output and charge, could enable diesel engines to be incrementally replaced on long-distance trains.
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 921, out now.