Porterbrook and Chiltern Railways have announced that testing has begun on HybridFLEX, Britain’s first hybrid-powered train.
Testing is taking place on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire and senior members of the management team from both firms have visited the railway to see the new train in action.
Using both electric batteries and diesel engines, the first HybridFLEX train is in the process of running test trains between Duffield and Wirksworth, before Chiltern Railways put the unit back into service.
At the heart of HybridFLEX is a Rolls Royce MTU hybrid drive.
Operating in multiple large cities and towns across the UK, Chiltern Railways are looking to improve journeys while using sustainable traction.
The hybrid setup in HybridFLEX allows for either battery or diesel power to be used, having the following benefits:
- Reduced fuel consumption
- Lower emissions – none outputted when using batteries
- Faster journey times
- Increased route capacity
- Reduced maintenance needed, on items such as brakes
MD of Chiltern Railways, Richard Allan said: “Chiltern has a fantastic track record of innovating and investing in new routes, stations, and trains over a 20 year franchise that is now in its final few months. Looking ahead we have some major challenges and opportunities, not least in supporting the decarbonisation of the railway from our current position as an all-diesel operator with an average fleet age of 25 years. We need investment to modernise and this exciting use of new technology in an older train is a potentially very significant opportunity.”
Porterbrook’s Chief Portfolio Officer Stephen McGurk said: “We are very excited about this technology which has the potential to transform air quality and sound levels at major stations and in urban areas. I would like to thank our Chiltern Railways customer for working with us on the introduction of HybridFLEX to Britain’s railway.”
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