Vivarail Bedford

Network Rail and Vivarail to introduce battery train at COP26

Network Rail and Vivarail revealed today that Vivarail’s next-generation battery train will be launched at COP26, running daily services throughout the international climate change conference.

This zero-emission train uses new batteries, developed by Vivarail, to combine maximum range with the ability to recharge quickly.

One of the huge benefits is that the train can travel for up to 80 miles on battery power, and recharge in only 10 minutes using Vivarail’s patented Fast Charge system.

Orange train

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “We are ambitious to make our railways even greener and I am delighted that Vivarail will launch their flagship battery train at COP26, thanks to investment from our Accelerating Innovation programme.

“Decarbonising the rail network is crucial to reaching net zero by 2050 and this technology is another example of how we are building back greener.”

At COP26, Vivarail will support the UK Government and wider rail industry’s ambition to reach net zero, and carbon reduction targets by bringing to life this emission-free technology to a number of audiences.

Vivarail has been helped by SLC Operations, Alstom and VTG with drivers, electrical charging, and transport. 

Last year,  Network Rail became the first railway company in the world to commit to the most challenging science-based targets for reducing carbon  emissions to a level that would limit global warming to 1.5°C, rather than the 2°C.

A key part of the strategy for achieving those targets is decarbonising traction energy through further overhead line electrification and using alternative fuels, including battery and hydrogen trains.  

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 becoming greener.

Red and silver train

Martin Frobisher OBE, Network Rail’s Safety and Engineering Director, said: “I’m delighted that we’re partnering with two thriving British companies in Vivarail and Porterbrook to showcase the future of rail in this country, to the world at COP26.

“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.”

Steve McBride, Managing Director of Vivarail, said: “Our R&D team has spent 3 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.”

Network Rail’s Sustainability Strategy outlines their vision to provide the cleanest, greenest mass transport.

The COP26 event will be held in Glasgow from November 1.


RTM April/May 24


Immerse yourself with the latest thought leadership on intelligent wayfinding for a more inclusive railway, a revolutionary approach to investment in the south, and strategic investments unlocking the North’s potential.

More articles...

View all
TransCityRail Banner


Mids \ 29 02 24
South \ 11 07 24
North \ 07 11 24

TransCityRail is a series of regional, interactive and insightful events across the country bringing together leaders, collaborators, problem solvers and innovators in a creative and invigorating way.

This series of events supports and informs the whole of the rail industry and connects suppliers with buyers, specifiers, leaders and decision-makers looking to procure a wide variety of innovative products and services for their region.

Rail Technology Magazine Podcast

Listen to industry leaders on everything within rail

Whether it's the latest advancements in rail technology, policies, innovations, or the challenges facing the rail industry providers, we cover it all.


Join us as we engage with top rail professionals, industry leaders, and policy experts to bring you insightful conversations that matter.