Network Rail and Vivarail to bring next-generation battery train to COP26

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Network Rail and Vivarail have announced that Vivarail’s next-generation battery train will be launched at COP26 and will run daily services throughout the international climate change conference, which is being held in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1-12, 2021.

The zero-emission train uses new batteries, developed by Vivarail, to combine maximum range with the ability to recharge quickly. The result is a train that can travel for up to 80 miles on battery power and recharge in only 10 minutes using Vivarail’s patented Fast Charge system.

Fast Charge’s development was supported by an Innovate UK grant and will shortly begin its final stage of Network Rail approvals. 

Steve McBride, managing director of Vivarail, said, “Our R&D team has spent three years developing these new batteries, working with specialists Hoppecke. The result is a new traction and charging system able to convert diesel stock or act as range extenders on other types of electric train. We are now ready to play our part in delivering an electrified network in the shortest possible time. We have already sold our first train to the United States – with a second on order.”

Meanwhile, in 2020 Network Rail became the first railway company in the world to commit to stretching science-based targets for reducing carbon. A key part of the strategy for achieving those targets is decarbonizing traction energy through further overhead line electrification and using alternative fuels, including battery and hydrogen trains.  

Martin Frobisher OBE, Network Rail’s safety and engineering director, said, “Rail is already the greenest form of public transport, and battery-powered trains will play an important role in our commitment to providing an even cleaner, greener railway for the future.”

A hydrogen-powered train will also feature in a fringe event at COP26, announced earlier this year by Network Rail and Porterbrook. This will give guests, including leaders and climate experts, a first-hand experience of British technological innovation and expertise, and how alternative fuel trains of the future will play a vital part in building back better and greener from the pandemic.  

Find out more

In the launch issue of Electric & Hybrid Rail Technology magazine, Vivarail’s head of marketing, Alice Gillman, provided an insight into its Fast Charge solution. Click here to read the full story.

Meanwhile, Network Rail’s strategy and planning director, Helen McAllister, spoke about the organization’s traction decarbonization plan to electrify the rail network. Click here to read the full story.