Chiltern Railways has launched the HybridFlex battery-diesel train travelling to Bicester Villagefrom from Marylebone station in London.
The company, that celebrates its 25 years of achievement as a train operator, has an all-diesel train fleet.
“We are proud and privileged to mark our 25th anniversary by introducing colleagues and stakeholders to the HybridFLEX train. We need to modernise Chiltern again and this exciting use of new technology in an older train is a potentially very significant opportunity to help us decarbonise and improve our customer experience,” Richard Allan, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways said.
The move is part of operator’s priority to help deliver the decarbonisaiton of the UK by investing in innovation.
“HybridFlex trains will make rail travel even greener and the air in our stations cleaner. Chiltern Railways have connected people for a quarter of a century and now are helping to prepare for the future as we build back greener. This is a great example of how innovation and enterprise can help us reach our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050,” Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris said.
HybridFlex train has been developed by the rolling stock owner and asset manager Porterbrook and Rolls-Royce under an agreement signed in 2018 at InnoTrans to convert Class 168 and Class 170 ‘Turbostar’ DMUs from diesel-only to hybrid-electric operation.
As well as offering zero emissions and near silent operation at stations, the Rolls-Royce Hybrid PowerPack will also reduce fuel consumption and so CO2 emissions by up to 25%, Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions by over 70% and particulate emissions by over 90%, compared to the engines it replaces.
“Chiltern is delighted to be trialling this new technology to demonstrate that it can contribute to better air quality, decarbonisation and the aim of removing traditional diesel trains from its network,” the company says.
The HybridFlex battery-diesel train aims to enter full passenger service from September this year.