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February 11, 2022

Chiltern Railways launches battery-diesel hybrid train in UK

The firm partnered with Porterbrook and Rolls-Royce to make a 20-year-old diesel train cleaner, quieter and quicker.

British train operating company Chiltern Railways has commissioned a new battery-diesel hybrid train to run on the 64km route between London Marylebone and Aylesbury in the UK.

The firm partnered with Porterbrook, which is the train owner, and technology company Rolls-Royce to convert a diesel train and allow it to run on both diesel and battery power.

Chiltern Railway managing director Richard Allan said: “We have worked hard with our partners to fit a powerful battery power pack underneath a 20-year old diesel train to make the train cleaner, quieter and quicker.”

Designed to reduce CO2 emissions, noise and air pollution while saving fuel, the new train, known as ‘HybridFLEX’ features a battery provided by technology company Rolls Royce.

Rolls-Royce’s mtu Hybrid PowerPack integrates a diesel engine with an electric unit, which can serve as a motor and generator.

The Rolls Royce battery allows the 20-year-old diesel train to use 25% less fuel while significantly reducing air pollution.

Said to be the first of its kind to operate on Britain’s national rail network, the battery-diesel hybrid train is planned to be used between the capital and Oxford in the coming months.

With a speed of 100mph (160.9km/h), the HybridFLEX two-carriage train can run solely on battery power when arriving and departing the stations.

The HybridFlex train is expected to cut fuel usage and noise by up to 75%.

Government Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “We are working across transport to hit net-zero by 2050 and it is brilliant to see our railways rising to the challenge.”

Porterbrook CEO Mary Grant said: “It’s a significant first step in demonstrating how improvements to this fleet can reduce emissions and improve air quality both at stations and other locations across the network. 

“HybridFLEX is part of Porterbrook’s growing portfolio of alternative traction systems designed to help deliver a more sustainable railway.”

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