The first battery-powered train to run on Britain’s rail network in more than half a century carries its first passengers this week.
The new train contributes to Network Rail’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, improve sustainability and reduce the cost of running the railway by 20 per cent over the next five years. It could ultimately lead to a fleet of battery-powered trains running on Britain’s rail network which are quieter and more efficient than diesel-powered trains, making them better for passengers and the environment.
Following its successful retrofitting and trials at test tracks in Derby and Leicestershire last year by Bombardier, the modified Class 379 Electrostar battery-powered train – also known as an Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit (IPEMU) – will run in weekday timetable service for five weeks between Harwich International and Manningtree stations in Essex.
“After months of engineering and testing, the train is running just as we would like it. We’ll be using this five-week period to gather data on how it handles during passenger service – most travellers will recognise how quiet and smooth the ride is compared to a diesel-powered train,” Network Rail Principal Engineer James Ambrose said.
Photo: Network Rail