Vivarail to supply Fast Charge Class 230 for GWR
GREAT WESTERN Railway (GWR) is to trial battery-charging technology on its Greenford branch line, following the signing of a deal with Vivarail. ‘Fast Charge’ equipment will be installed at West Ealing later this year and the technology will be tested with Vivarail’s battery-only Class 230 train, which was demonstrated at COP26 in Glasgow last year. The trial will be the first time that the fast-charging equipment has been introduced into an operational setting.
The Vivarail Class 230 has a range of up to 62 miles on battery power, but in tests it has been found that the train can be recharged in just 10 minutes using the Fast Charge equipment. When the train arrives at a station, it connects automatically to the Fast Charge and the batteries receive charge while the train is being prepared for its next journey.
The trial is supported by £2.15 million funding from the Department for Transport’s Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline. The development of the Fast Charge technology has also received funding from Innovate UK. GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “This is underlines our commitment to reduce the carbon emissions of our train fleet with a view to removing all dieselonly traction from the network by 2040, in line with the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
“We are looking forward to working with our rail industry colleagues over the coming months to be able to rigorously test this battery train and charger on the Greenford branch line.”
Vivarail managing director Steve Mcbride said: “Spearheading new green technology for rail is Vivarail’s forte, so I am delighted that we are working with Great Western Railway on this demonstration of battery traction and automatic fast charging. “The Greenford to West Ealing line will now lead the UK in bringing in new emission-free battery electric trains combined with our world-leading charging system.
“Battery technology has been identified as a key part of the network’s solution to reach Net Zero and it is the ability of our charging system that provides the key to replacing diesel trains.
“I believe it will mark a step-change in showing the innovation within our industry.
“The support from GWR, Network Rail and the DFT to get this under way has been phenomenal.”