New electric battery train makes first journey during Glasgow COP26

While world leaders meet at the UN climate conference in Glasgow, an emission-free battery train crossed the iconic Forth Bridge in the UK for the first time. Developed by Vivarail, two existing diesel trains were converted to reduce emissions.

The eyes of the world are on Scotland, as world leaders gather to accelerate action to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement at the COP26, which takes place from 1 to 13 November. A good time to showcase a new battery-powered train, which can reduce emissions on non-electrified parts of the railway network.

The Forth Bridge, as seen in the cover image, can’t get overhead electric lines because of the height restrictions. This means trains need to have an independent source of power to travel across, for which conventionally diesel was used. It is a good example of a situation where a battery train is a greener alternative.

10 minute recharge

British company Vivarail has designed and manufactured pure battery and battery hybrid trains, as well as charging technology. Their next generation battery train is capable of achieving a range of up to 100 kilometres and recharges in only 10 minutes.

The flexibility of batteries mean this package can be used to repurpose good quality diesel trains. It can also be added to other types of electric train so that they’re capable of travelling on parts of the network that do not have catenary.

At the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, leaders from all over the world gather to (hopefully) take action to tackle climate change

Using existing diesel trains

Vivarail has converted Class 230 trains to become fully battery-powered to prove the concepts. These trains previously ran London’s District Line as the D78 stock. The battery traction and charging package can be used on other trains with a higher speed. The method of using modular systems means it can easily convert existing mid-life diesel trains to battery operation. This approach ensures that good quality rolling stock does not get scrapped early. The Class 230 trains are ideal for branch lines and shuttle services, says Vivarail.

Another train, the hydrogen hybrid train HydroFLEX, developed by Porterbrook, will be showcased on COP26 Transport Day on Wednesday November 10th. Network Rail teams up with best-selling children’s book authors M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, who feature trains in their books, aboard the HydroFLEX.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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