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Fast-charging technology for battery trains launched by Vivarail

Vivarail has launched a new fast-charge system which can fully charge one of its Class 230 battery trains in seven minutes with a range of 60 miles between charges.

The British rolling stock manager announced that it has successfully demonstrated the capabilities of its charge system to the DfT and InnovateUK after a 12-month project to develop new rail technology.

Charge times can be as little as seven minutes for a 60-mile journey, and Vivarail stressed how this 60-mile range allows operators to have a wide choice of potential lines in order to run zero emissions trains.

The fast charging system comprises of a newly-developed carbon ceramic shoe which connects to the train when the unit pulls into a terminus station, drawing on high currents at an extremely fast rate.

The project to develop the technology was supported by a grant from the Accelerating Innovation in Rail competition, funded by the DfT and delivered by InnovateUK.


Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said: “Having procured, operated and maintained trains over many years my aim with the Class 230 has always been to build a train that delights passengers and operators.

“I know how important it is to the public and the industry as a whole to phase out diesel units and our battery train is paving the way for that to take place today not tomorrow.  This train can be easily brought into service saving huge amounts of spend on electrification and infrastructure.”

He added: “I was delighted that InnovateUK awarded us this grant last year and I am extremely proud of my team, led by Pete Mason and Paul Soor, who brought this brand-new system to fruition in such a short space of time.”

Vivarail said the fast-charge system can easily be brought into use on its Class 230 battery trains which were tested on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway in October 2018 with the help of ScotRail and Transport Scotland.

The company said the trials showed that the battery trains were able to provide a reliable and consistent service and proved that the electronic control systems were fully functional, providing a viable alternative to diesel operation in the UK.

Kelvin Davies, innovation lead for rail at InnovateUK, commented: “What the Vivarail project team have achieved is extremely encouraging in supporting the delivery of battery-powered rolling stock in the UK.

“Exploring the opportunity offered by this technology is crucial in delivering the Department for Transport’s future national rail strategy, supported by Innovate UK.

“As we move away from diesel traction the expertise developed in this project will promote the UK as being at the forefront of this exciting growth area.”


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