Hitachi Rail and Angel Trains to Retrofit Batteries on TPE Trains

Rolling stock manufacturer Hitachi Rail and rolling stock owning company Angel Trains have agreed in principle to retrofit TransPennine Express intercity trains with batteries.

The move would allow these trains to reduce their diesel consumption over a route that continues to elude electrification.

TransPennine Express train
TransPennine Express train

Hitachi, Angel Trains and the train operating company, TPE (owned by FirstGroup) say trials are to start in 2022 and could reduce emissions by 20 percent or more. A switch to more battery power over diesel power would also reduce the amount of noise trains produce, especially in urban areas. Furthermore, passengers and staff in stations will benefit because the trains will use battery power when entering and leaving stations, thereby reducing air pollution locally.

Hitachi Rail and Angel Trains see this trial as a test case for rolling out battery retrofits to the wider fleet.

The TransPennine Express Nova 1 (Class 802s) fleet consists of 19 trains. As part of the trial, each five-car train will have one of its three diesel engine replaced with batteries.

Hitachi said that “While parts of the TPE route are electrified, trains are currently required to use their diesel engines for the majority of the time. Ahead of the completion of full electrification, adding a battery and creating an electric-diesel-battery hybrid, offers a fast and effective means of reducing carbon emissions.”

Hitachi Rail is using its battery partner, Hyperdrive Innovation, for the manufacture of the battery packs. Hitachi Rail went on to say that its battery trial was part of its decarbonisation strategy to encourage “modal shift away from cars and planes to trains”.

The Nova 1 fleet originally entered passenger service in 2019.

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