Hitachi Rail enters first tri-mode hybrid train into service in Europe
Hitachi’s Blues train was launched for active service for Trenitalia in Sicily on Tuesday. The train stands out for its use of diesel, battery and electric power. The Blues had its static international presentation last September at the InnoTrans event in Berlin.
The Hitachi Blues can use its diesel engines while running on non-electrified lines. At stations or across short distances, the train can rely on battery power alone. The engines are also switched off during breaking and when departing from stations. This cuts fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in half compared with regular diesel trains, Hitachi claims. On electrified lines, the Blues uses pantographs.
The trains are built using materials with a high degree (95 per cent) of recyclability. On-board technologies have also been conceived with energy savings in mind. This resulted in the adoption of LED lighting systems, an smart airconditioning system, which operates based on the number of passengers on board, and smart parking using battery power.
The Blues can seat up to 300 people in a four-car configuration. Inside, there is also space for bicycles and luggage. Other amenities include USB- and 220v power sockets. Hitachi Rail has a framework agreement with Trenitalia for up to 135 train sets. Twenty-two of those trains will run in Sicily. The agreement is valued at 1.2 billion euros.
The developments in hydrogen and battery trains and the associated infrastructure such as recharging and refuelling are the central theme of the Rail Infra Forum on 15-16 March 2023 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The programme and speakers can be found on the event website.