Network Rail is developing a prototype battery-powered train. Working closely with Derby-based train manufacturer Bombardier and operator Greater Anglia, the project will use one of the operator’s Class 379s as a test-bed to determine future battery requirements and what kind of train might be needed. This train will be adapted by Bombardier and fitted with two different forms of batteries which will undergo many lab tests before being fitted to the train. The modified train will then undergo a variety of tests ‘off network’. If these tests prove successful, the train will then run on an electrified branch line on the Anglia route, yet to be chosen, with its pantograph down. This is so that if there is a problem, it can raise its pantograph, and collect power again. This running will be both in and out of passenger service and by the end of 2014, the trial will be complete. If it proves practicable to 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. A battery-powered train could use non-electrified and diesel lines, and recharge their batteries at terminal stations.

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