Hitachi Rail, Transpennine Express and Angel Trains have begun a UK first trial testing a battery powered intercity train converted from diesel power. 

The Nova 1/Class 802 train will be used to demonstrate the real-world viability of running a 100% battery-electric intercity train up to distances of 100km in battery mode, allowing it to bridge the gap between non-electrified sections on intercity routes. 

Jim Brewin, chief director for the UK and Ireland at Hitachi Rail, said: “Hitachi has invested more than £15 million in research and development to deliver a ‘UK first’ in battery train technology. 

“Collaborating closely with our partners, Angel Trains and TransPennine Express, we are committed to showcasing how the rail industry can significantly lower costs and emissions.” 

Hitachi’s predicts that the installation of the single battery unit will reduce emissions and fuel costs by around 30% on their intercity trains and could allow operators to enter and depart non-electrified stations in battery mode to improve air quality and reduce noise. 

While the rail technology company has previously developed intercity battery trains in the UK, this trial will be the first time that a diesel engine has been replaced with a battery. 

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The battery is capable of supplying power of around 700kw and was manufactured with Turntide Technologies in Sunderland, England, part of the growing North East battery supply chain. 

Paul staples, engineering, safety and sustainability director at Transpennine, said: “We’re really pleased to be a part of this innovative and critically important trial of battery technology. 

“We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and are constantly looking at ways of making rail travel even more sustainable and efficient.”