UK’s first hybrid powered passenger train unveiled

 Thursday, August 12, 2021 

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The Hybrid FLEX train, UK’s first hybrid powered passenger train was open for the public by Chiltern Railways, a train operating company.

Manufactured by UK based rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook collaborated with Rolls Royce the hybrid battery-diesel trains are scheduled to commence their full scale passenger operations in September 2021.

HybridFLEX is the newest member of Porterbrook’s portfolio of alternative traction systems designed to help UK’s railway system in its efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The new trains are expected to aid Chiltern to decarbonise its railway system and heighten passenger experience through fleet modernisation.

An agreement was signed between Porterbrook and Rolls Royce to convert Class 168 and Class 170 ‘Turbostar’ diesel multiple units (DMUs) from diesel only to hybrid electric operation. The site of signing the agreement was at InnoTrans Rail Transport Industry trade fair in Germany in 2018.

Rolls Royce agreed to provide hybrid systems for installation on two test trains for a six months’ testing period. The agreement covers the initial delivery of two MTU Hybrid Power Packs based on type 6H 1800 engines.

The train which carried passengers for the first time between Maryleborne and Bicester Village in 2021 is under trial run at the Ecclesborne Valley Railway in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

HybridFLEX Features

The HybridFLEX project involved Rolls Royce MTU hybrid drive system installation to a multiple diesel unit, resulting in a vehicle that can run on both battery and diesel control with continuous alteration between the two modes.

The hybrid drives are expected to reduce maintenance cost over the duration of the vehicle in concern due to reduced abrasion of components as brake pads and discs.

HybridFLEX Details

·         HybridFLEX trains are expected to make travelling in a train more environment-friendly. These trains have reduced noise in at stations and other locations and have improved air quality inside its cabins.

·         The emission free battery of operation reduces CO2 emission and fuel consumption by 25%, noise production in stations by 75%, Nitrous Oxide (N2O) emissions by 70% and particulate emissions by 90%.

·         These train units are expected to reduce travel time and increase route capacity through improved acceleration capabilities.

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