Class 230, via Network Rail

GWR to advance with fast-charging battery trial

In a bid to further decarbonise rail travel throughout the UK, train operator Great Western Railway has officially completed the purchase of a catalogue of emission-free assets from battery and hybrid trains manufacturer Vivarail, entering administration in December 2022.

The partnership has seen GWR agree to contracts for the procurement of intellectual property, rolling stock and equipment relating to the development of high-performance battery and FastCharge technology. These will combine to support the wider introduction of battery powered trains on the rail network.

This deal will secure the future of planned trials of this innovative technology, allowing it to be tested in a real-world environment, with GWR supporting through West Ealing and Greenford.

To ensure the smooth delivery of this process and trial, GWR has proactively employed nine former Vivarail members of staff, utilising their knowledge and understanding of the technologies to support the project delivery and ongoing developments.

GWR Engineering Director Simon Green said:

“We’ve been working closely with the Vivarail team on this exciting project for some time, and we are delighted we have been able to step in and make sure its important work can continue.

“There have clearly been some setbacks that mean we will need to review the existing plans and timescales, but we will continue to work with Network Rail and the Department for Transport to get the project back on track.

“This work is a key part of our commitment to reduce the carbon emissions of our train fleet with a view to removing all diesel-only traction from the network by 2040, in line with the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.”

As the UK seeks to achieve carbon net zero through sustainable energy usage within the public transport sector, progressing with the use of battery powered trains will catalyse the further growth in this field across Britain, whilst providing passengers with faster journeys and an improved experience as they traverse the network.

Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.  


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