Plan to reduce train emissions in North with battery trial on Transpennine route

Trains in the North could reduce their emissions if a trial to retrofit batteries proves successful.

Transpennine Express is working with Hitachi Rail and Angel Trains to install battery technology trains used across the North with the aim of cutting carbon emissions by at least 20%.

In the trial, Transpennine’s Nova 1 fleet of 19 trains will have their diesel engine replaced by batteries, allowing the trains to run solely on battery power when travelling in and out of station areas, cutting noise pollution and helping to improve air quality.

Read more: go here for more stories on the climate agenda

Parts of the Transpennine route are electrified, but trains have to use diesel engines for the majority of journeys. Ahead of full electrification of the line, adding a battery and creating an electric-diesel-battery hybrid offers a quicker way of reducing carbon emissions.

Hitachi, which is a principal sponsor of the Cop26 summit, manufactures trains at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and works with Sunderland-based battery partner Hyperdrive Innovation, which recently became part of the Turntide Transport group, on creating and producing battery backs for trains.

Peter Wilkinson, managing director for passenger services at the Department for Transport, said: “I’m thoroughly delighted to see these battery trains progressing. In a world increasingly vulnerable to climate change, and the environmental and atmospheric impacts of carbon and other forms of pollution, the rail industry must both show leadership and take the lead; waiting for permission simply won’t be an acceptable excuse.

“This project is an exemplar and we are going to need others like it if we are to succeed in creating a future mixed economy of modern, environmentally clean and safe future rolling stock traction solutions.”

Jim Brewin, UK and Ireland country lead for Hitachi Rail said: “This trial can deliver a significant green boost to passengers and operator alike, improving air quality, cutting carbon emissions by at least 20% and reducing fuel costs. Hitachi Rail is a world leader in battery technology and believes it will be key to the UK hitting its net zero targets.

“As a business with a footprint across the North of England and with our factory at Newton Aycliffe, we see enhancing the TPE network as meeting the Government’s levelling up agenda, delivering greener, more efficient services to the region.”

Transpennine’s Nova 1 fleet entered service in November 2019. The 19 Class 802 trains in the fleet were built by Hitachi Rail and incorporate bullet train technology.

Hitachi said that upgrades to the Transpennine route will provide further opportunities to invest in greener technologies that could reduce carbon emissions.

Read More Related Articles First Group pledge to get Hull Trains back on track after £10.5m Covid reversal in fortunes Read More Related Articles 12 North East companies helping the drive towards net zero
Graeme WhitfieldRegional business editor