As the UK’s rail decarbonisation programme is getting into full swing, the UK’s first ever passenger-carrying diesel/battery hybrid train has run on the national network.
Class 230 train number 230002 ran between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh as a three-car hybrid, consisting of two battery-powered driving cars connected by an intermediate car housing four diesel-generators. The batteries are the primary traction source, being charged both by the generator sets and by capturing energy through regenerative braking.
Simply through the use of regenerative braking, fuel consumption is reduced by at least 25 per cent, so emissions are much lower than a conventional diesel train.
The Class 230 trains are manufactured by Vivarail in its workshops at Long Marston in Warwickshire. Former London Underground D78 stock trains are heavily revised and modified to produce low-cost trains for the national network. With aluminium bodies, and bogies that are only ten years old, the former underground trains form an ideal basis for the conversion.
In 2018, Vivarail successfully ran a pure-battery train with a range of 60 miles between charges – the first modern production battery train in the country – and demonstrated that emission-free travel is possible today.
Now the first hybrid train is undergoing a series of tests on the batteries and generators in preparation for the delivery of a new fleet of trains for Transport for Wales. Diesel/battery trains identical to 230002 will soon be running a quiet, low-emission service on the Wrexham-Bidston line.