UK: Chiltern Railways Powers Class 68 Locomotives with Vegetable Oil

Chiltern Railways has become the first passenger rail operator to launch vegetable oil-powered trains on its network.

The operator is now powering its Class 68 locomotive-hauled trains with fuel derived from used cooking oils, tallows and other recyclable wastes in the place of conventional diesel.

This move will reduce the impact the trains have on the environment and will improve air quality across Chiltern Railways’ network.

Chiltern Railways Class 68 powered by vegetable oil
Chiltern Railways Class 68 powered by vegetable oil

Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% and air particulates by 85% when acting as a drop-in alternative to conventional diesel fuel.

Although it is more expensive than conventional diesel, Chiltern is switching to using HVO fuel as part of its plan to modernise and decarbonise its operations.

Richard Allan, Managing Director for Chiltern Railways, said:

“We are determined to operate a railway that is easier, greener, and better for our customers. The conversion of a key part of our fleet of trains to HVO fuel will make a big difference in terms of emissions.

“We have listened to customers and stakeholders who rightly highlighted air quality as a key concern to us, and have taken action to minimise the impact on the environment that these trains have through cleaner, greener fuel.”

Chiltern’s Class 68 locomotives are used to haul Mark III coaches that provide high-capacity passenger services.

The company operates six of these locomotives, transporting a total of 25 coaches under the power of HVO fuel.

William Tebbit, Chairman of Green Biofuels, said:

“Our HVO allows diesel train fleets across the railway network to enjoy a greener drop-in alternative instead of diesel. This is crucial when you think of the air quality issues when trains are in stations and built-up areas. GBF is already supplying HVO to the rail freight sector and is delighted to now be supplying passenger trains.  Passengers, train and station staff can now enjoy much better air quality.”

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