Chiltern Railways unveils emission-free battery operated HybridFLEX train

Posted: 23 July 2021 | | 2 comments

Chiltern Railways has marked 25 years of achievement as a train operator with a celebration event and the launch of HybridFLEX – Britain’s first battery-diesel train.

Chiltern Railways unveils emission-free battery operated HybridFLEX train

Credit: Twitter/@chilternrailway

Chiltern Railways is currently an all-diesel operator, with an average fleet age of 25 years. A key priority for the operator is to help deliver decarbonisaiton for the UK by investing in innovation.

As such, and on its 25th anniversary event, the operator unveiled its HybridFLEX prototype train – the product of collaboration between rolling stock owner and asset manager Porterbrook and engineering giant Rolls-Royce.

As well as offering zero emissions and near silent operation at stations, the Rolls-Royce Hybrid PowerPack will also reduce fuel consumption and so CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent, Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions by over 70 per cent and particulate emissions by over 90 per cent, compared to the engines it replaces.

Chiltern will be trialling this new technology to demonstrate that it can contribute to better air quality, decarbonisation and the aim of removing traditional diesel trains from its network. The HybridFLEX aims to enter full passenger service from September 2021.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton Harris, said: “HybridFLEX trains will make rail travel even greener and the air in our stations cleaner. Chiltern Railways have connected people for a quarter of a century and now are helping to prepare for the future as we build back greener. This is a great example of how innovation and enterprise can help us reach our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050.”

Chiltern Railways unveils emission-free battery operated HybridFLEX trainRichard Allan, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways, said: “Chiltern has a fantastic track record of innovating and investing in new routes, stations, depots and trains to attract and retain customers. We are proud and privileged to mark our 25th anniversary by introducing colleagues and stakeholders to the HybridFLEX train. We need to modernise Chiltern again and this exciting use of new technology in an older train is a potentially very significant opportunity to help us decarbonise and improve our customer experience.”

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Chiltern Railways’ ambitious plans for the future. Our HybridFLEX, built in partnership with Rolls-Royce, will offer improved air quality and reduced noise at stations and other sensitive locations on the Chiltern network. HybridFLEX is part of Porterbrook’s growing portfolio of alternative traction systems designed to help Britain’s railway accelerate the race to net zero.”

Warren East, Chief Executive Officer at Rolls-Royce, said: “This collaboration demonstrates the pivotal role technology is already playing in the transition towards a net zero future. With 1.7 billion passenger rail journeys taking place every year in the UK, the 25 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions offered by HybridFLEX represents a meaningful step forward in the country’s journey towards its 2050 net zero target. We’re delighted to be part of this ground-breaking team with our hybrid solution alongside Chiltern Railways and Porterbrook.”

As part of the event, the HybridFLEX train travelled from London Marylebone station to Bicester Village station.

2 responses to “Chiltern Railways unveils emission-free battery operated HybridFLEX train”

  1. Michael Davies says:

    If the Government had electrified the line between Marylebone & Moor street. HS2 could have cancelled. The third rail system should have been installed as on Southern Rail. Zero emissions !!!

  2. simhedges says:

    So, they reduce carbon emissions by 25% on the way to net zero at 2050. Given that the lifetime of a train is more than 20 years, how will they get to zero? It would have been helpful to hear more about that.

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