We are so proud and delighted to have won the Environment award for our Class 230 battery train and fast charge system.  The awards are one of the industry’s top events and to be recognised by our peers for the work we’ve done is really heartening.

As a company we have always worked to reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint – indeed by using existing bodyshells and bogies we have already saved waste and energy before we even start building the trains!

Our power systems are modular and interchangeable – meaning a train built as a diesel unit could easily be converted to run on batteries if required.

Of course although battery trains aren’t new and the technology itself is proven the limited range and speed of recharge has made them largely irrelevant.  Until now!

The Class 230 battery train has:

  • 60 miles range between charges
  • 10 minute recharge time
  • And can be fitted with range extenders (such as pantograph, genset or fuel cells)

The real piece of innovation is the fast charge system.  This consists of sections of track connected to the main power control bank.  These sections of track only become live when the train is in place – essentially the driver pulls to a stop as normal and through mechanical and electrical checks the control unit then activates the power.  Second-use batteries can be house in a battery bank or there can be a connection to a local power source.  Either way the batteries within the train are then recharged in 10 minutes and the train is ready to go! It is a simple but elegant system that makes emission-free travel a reality for today!

The first of the battery powered variants is currently being built for Transport for Wales – it is a 3 car unit with 2 battery driving motor cars and diesel gensets on the middle car.  The gensets are used primarily to charge the batteries, and provide a secondary traction system.  Emissions can be further cut by geo-fencing sensitive areas so the gensets will not run at all in those locations.

The challenge now is to bring the pure battery train into service and that is where we will concentrate our efforts.  This train is completely emission-free and will go a long way to help with the decarbonisation of the UK’s railways – something we fully support!