Network Rail has confirmed that it is working on a zero emission, battery-powered train that would be capable of running on non-electrified train tracks.
The train authority is undertaking a feasibility study to determine how trains can use energy storage to operate on non-electrified and diesel lines, recharging their batteries at terminal stations.
In a post on its website, Network Rail notes: ‘If we can create an energy storage capability for trains, electric traction can be introduced to more parts of the railway without the need to necessarily extend the electrification infrastructure.’
Commenting on the project, Richard Eccles, director of network strategy and planning for Network Rail said: “As the principle funder and delivery manager, we have done a great deal of feasibility work before reaching this stage, both to define the outputs we seek from the trial and to build confidence in the project across the industry. We are working with our partners to drive this innovation forward.”
Network Rail is collaborating with Derby-based manufacturer Bombardier and operator Greater Anglia to develop a test train. The chassis of which will use a Class 379 to test out various battery requirements.
Two different battery technologies will be evaluated by Network Rail: lithium (iron magnesium) phosphate and hot sodium nickel salt.
A modified train boasting energy storage will then be subjected to a number of ‘off network’ tests. If successful, Network Rail will look at adding the train to one of the electrified lines on the Anglia route to determine real world performance. The train will run both in and out of passenger service until the end of the year when the trial closes.