UK’s first hybrid rail project launched

Rolls-Royce and Porterbrook signed at InnoTrans a Letter of Intent for the delivery of hybrid engines to convert Class 168 and Class 170 ‘Turbostar’ DMUs from diesel-only to hybrid-electric operation. This is the first agreement for the delivery of MTU hybrid drive systems in the UK.
The agreement covers the delivery of hybrid systems for installation on two test trains. Following trials, Porterbrook aims to offer hybrid conversion to a range of customers operating existing Turbostar fleets.
Rolls-Royce will initially deliver two MTU Hybrid PowerPacks based on type 6H 1800 engines to Porterbrook. These will be fitted into a Turbostar DMU in the beginning of 2020 which will then be trialled for a period of 6 months during regular operations.
The agreement includes an option for the retrofitting of a second DMU with two MTU Hybrid PowerPacks. Based on the performance of the Hybrid fitted units, Porterbrook hopes to offer customers the opportunity to convert their existing Turbostar fleets into HybridFLEX trains through the installation of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.
The transformation from diesel to hybrid-electric operation will allow a noise emissions reduction in stations by 75 percent, a 25 percent fuel consumption and CO2 emissions reduction. NOx emissions can also be reduced by up to 70 percent and particulate emissions by around 90 percent.
The total operating costs of rail vehicles with MTU hybrid drives are also significantly lower, and even brake pads and discs experience reduced wear due to energy recuperation during braking. As a result of the additional power of the electric machine, train operators also have the option to improve journey times through better acceleration.

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