New HS2 trains recognised for reduced carbon impacts
The innovative design of the upcoming high-speed trains, set to commence operations on the HS2 rail network in the next decade, has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the world’s inaugural train to attain global accreditation under the British Standards Institute’s PAS 2080 standards.
In December 2021, HS2 Ltd awarded a 2 billion pound (about 2.3 billion euro) contract for the design, construction, and maintenance of 54 high-speed trains to a collaborative effort between Hitachi Rail and Alstom.
These state-of-the-art, eight-carriage trains, spanning 200 metres in length, are scheduled to begin production around 2027, with manufacturing taking place across three facilities in the United Kingdom. Vehicle body assembly and initial fit-out will occur at Hitachi’s facility in County Durham, followed by additional fit-out and testing at Alstom’s historic Derby works. Furthermore, in a significant development for the UK’s train manufacturing capability, all the trains’ bogies (the assemblies housing the wheelsets) will be both produced and maintained at Alstom’s Crewe facility.
These trains are designed to facilitate seamless, direct journeys through the HS2 and conventional railway networks. Before high-speed passenger services are initiated between 2029 and 2033, each train in the fleet will undergo a comprehensive series of static and dynamic testing procedures.
The innovative design of these trains draws inspiration from the highly successful Frecciarossa high-speed trains currently in operation in Italy and Spain. These trains are poised to exhibit a significantly lower carbon footprint throughout their entire lifecycle compared to any other high-speed train currently under development, production, or operation, with a remarkable 90 per cent increase in carbon efficiency compared to air travel.
Throughout the meticulous design phase of these trains, extensive efforts are being invested to optimise various aspects, including the carbody’s weight, wheelsets, and cabling. Additionally, there is a strong commitment to incorporating recycled and recyclable materials into a larger portion of the train’s construction. Substantial attention is also dedicated to enhancing the train’s energy efficiency. This includes improvements in aerodynamics, culminating in the distinction of being the world’s first high-speed train to feature a sleek and dynamically efficient underside, which substantially reduces its drag coefficient.
Furthermore, the train’s traction system and electric motors are engineered for highly efficient energy utilisation. This remarkable efficiency serves to reduce the overall energy demand for a train that is designed to achieve speeds of up to 225 miles per hour (about 360 kilometres per hour)| while maintaining its operational capacity over an impressive distance of 18,500 miles (almost 3000 kilometres) between servicing intervals.