Hitachi Rail and the UK’s Global Centre for Railway Excellence (GCRE) have signed an agreement to test the latest rail technologies, after Hitachi Energy won a competitive tender to supply a Static Frequency Converter for power grid management and energy security.
This strategic partnership exemplifies Hitachi’s collaborative approach, which uses its extensive expertise in green energy and mobility to deliver innovative solutions across the wind energy – final drive chain in the UK, according to the Japanese company.
In what will be a major boost to the UK rail supply chain, Hitachi will test new UK-built trains, battery technology and digital solutions at its test centre in Wales. Hitachi will use GCRE’s £400 million facility to test future rolling stock and its pioneering battery technology, which was developed in collaboration with Turntide.
Hitachi and GCRE see the opportunity to make the site a hub for digital rail technology by testing both digital signalling and infrastructure monitoring solutions. Hitachi has developed digital solutions that can automate track operation, overhead power lines and vegetation monitoring to identify faults and reduce costs.
GCRE can support the next stages of development, which include using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict areas at risk of failure and deserving of preventive maintenance.
Hitachi has 187 intercity trains in passenger service with the European Train Control System (ETCS), which creates an opportunity to test future ETCS upgrades to ensure a smooth transition to digital signalling.