A groundbreaking collaboration between Angel Trains, TransPennine Express (TPE), Turntide Technologies, and Hitachi Rail has led to the retrofitting of a TransPennine Express ‘Nova 1’ Class 802 train with a cutting-edge battery system. Developed by Turntide Technologies in Sunderland, the battery unit boasts a peak power of over 700 kilowatts and is designed to replace one of the train’s three diesel engines. Impressively, the battery matches the acceleration and performance levels of the diesel engine it replaces, without adding extra weight to the train.

Hitachi Rail projects that this battery technology could reduce emissions and fuel costs by up to 30%. This substantial reduction in environmental impact and operational expenses marks a significant advancement in the rail industry’s efforts to combat climate change and enhance sustainability.

The trial will assess the battery train’s capability to operate in zero-emission mode when entering and exiting non-electrified stations. This is expected to improve air quality and reduce noise pollution in and around stations, benefiting both passengers and local communities.

The successful deployment of battery technology in intercity trains could herald the development of fully battery-electric intercity trains. These trains would be able to travel up to 100 kilometers in battery mode, covering the final non-electrified sections of intercity routes.

Moreover, battery technology can potentially lower infrastructure costs by reducing the need for overhead wires in tunnels and across complex junctions. This cost-saving aspect is vital for rolling stock companies and Network Rail, allowing for more efficient resource allocation.

The UK’s first intercity battery train trial marks a significant step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future for rail travel. As the trial progresses and the technology matures, we can anticipate a greener, more energy-efficient railway network that benefits passengers and the planet.

By Impact Lab