Senior managers from Porterbrook and Chiltern Railways yesterday visited the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire to see the testing of Britain’s first hybrid-powered train.
The HybridFLEX battery-diesel train is currently undertaking a programme of tests between Duffield and Wirksworth, prior to returning to Chiltern Railways in the summer.
Fitted with a Rolls Royce MTU hybrid drive the HybridFLEX will cut noise emissions in stations and deliver zero emissions when operating under battery power.
Richard Allan, MD of Chiltern Railways, said: “Chiltern has a fantastic track record of innovating and investing in new routes, stations, and trains over a 20 year franchise that is now in its final few months. Looking ahead we have some major challenges and opportunities, not least in supporting the decarbonisation of the railway from our current position as an all-diesel operator with an average fleet age of 25 years. We need investment to modernise and this exciting use of new technology in an older train is a potentially very significant opportunity.”
Stephen McGurk, Porterbrook’s Chief Portfolio Officer, said: “We are very excited about this technology which has the potential to transform air quality and sound levels at major stations and in urban areas. I would like to thank our Chiltern Railways customer for working with us on the introduction of HybridFLEX to Britain’s railway.”
Modelling of duty cycles on Chiltern Railway’s London to Birmingham route suggest potential reductions of circa 20% in fuel consumption and circa 70% in NOx emissions. In addition to improved air quality and reduced noise, HybridFLEX units are also expected to deliver journey time and route capacity improvements, as the combination of diesel and electric power will offer enhanced acceleration capabilities.
The Rolls Royce MTU hybrid drives are also expected to produce maintenance savings through reduced ‘wear and tear’ on consumables, such as brake pads and discs.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Rupert Brennan Brown, Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Rupert@porterbrook.co.uk or +44 (0)7973 950 923
PR enquiries can also be directed to:
Simon Evans, Partner
Richard Brooks, Consultant
Richard.Brooks@Portland-Communications.com or +44 (0)7740 858477
- Porterbrook has been at the heart of the UK rail network for over 25 years and owns over a quarter of the national passenger rail fleet. We provide high-quality, digitally enabled rolling stock which helps deliver a safe, reliable and sustainable railway
- We currently have around 4,000 vehicles on lease or on order. Since privatisation, we have invested £3bn in new passenger and freight vehicles, and we are looking to invest a further £1bn in Britain’s railway over the coming years
- Our role as a leading asset owner and manager goes well beyond financing. Our rolling stock is designed to serve 30-35 years in front-line service. By ensuring that these vehicles live out their full asset life, with periodic upgrades and enhancements, we maximise value to passengers and taxpayers, whilst minimising carbon emissions and environmental impact
- Innovation is at the heart of Porterbrook’s approach to whole life asset management. In collaboration with industry and academic partners, we are developing a portfolio of digitally enabled and re-tractioned rolling stock. Our business is at the forefront of developing of hydrogen, hybrid and battery powered trains. We are also working with SMEs and Innovate UK to significantly reduce emissions from our existing diesel fleets
- We are committed to supporting and developing the UK rail supply chain. We trust 100+ UK-based companies to maintain and upgrade our assets, investing over £3m a week and supporting c.7,000 jobs
- Porterbrook employs 160 people of which three quarters are engineers and project managers. In addition, over a third of Porterbrook’s workforce is female including a number of our executive team
- In October 2014, the Porterbrook Group of companies was acquired by a consortium of investors including Alberta Investment Management Corporation (“AIMCo”), Allianz Capital Partners (“ACP”) on behalf of certain insurance companies of the Allianz Group, EDF Invest and a consortium of Utilities Trust of Australia (“UTA”), The Infrastructure Fund (“TIF”) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Pension Fund (“RBS”)