Porterbrook Invests in Rail Charging Converter for Battery-Powered Trains

Porterbrook and Siemens Mobility have signed a 1.7 million GBP deal to install a Rail Charging Converter (RCC) at the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre.

This technology could enable battery charging on non-electrified sections of the UK rail network using a 25kV power supply.

It will be installed at Porterbrook’s Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire, which comprises 20 kilometres of track for railway testing, engineering and storage.

Porterbrook's Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre
Porterbrook’s Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre

This latest investment in the site will further upgrade its track and power offerings to enhance Porterbrook’s long-term testing capabilities as the industry continues to decarbonise operations.

Rob Morris, Joint CEO at Siemens Mobility said:

“This is a great opportunity for the UK rail network. We all know rail is the greenest form of transport. Our Rail Charging Converter, delivered here in the UK, can help transform journeys for passengers by supporting trains to use clean power in the form of battery or electric.”

This novel charging solution was designed to enable battery-powered trains to charge via existing standard local power supply cables.

The modular system uses power electronics to provide a fully compliant, standard connection between the three-wire electricity grid and the single-wire railway.

This low-cost solution therefore the amount of electrification infrastructure that needs to be installed. Instead, it enables trains to plug into existing power cables to receive an ideal power supply.

Through this capability, the Rail Charging Converter (RCC) could help remove diesel-powered trains from routes without continuous overhead lines.

Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook said:

“This innovative technology will provide a permanent traction power solution to Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre. It is the perfect site to use the RCC, which can help the UK railway to extend cleaner battery EMU operation across the network.”

Siemens Mobility initially developed this Rail Charging Converter (RCC) with support from the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) through Innovate UK’s First of a Kind programme.

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