) has achieved a breakthrough for hybrid rail drive systems with orders from both Irish Rail (the state railway of Ireland) and Porterbrook (a UK-based rolling-stock leasing company) for its MTU Hybrid Power Packs.
The two companies have converted commitments made in September 2018 at the Innotrans railway trade fair into firm orders.
Irish Rail has ordered nine MTU Hybrid Power Packs, with Porterbrook initially taking four. These are due to be delivered between May 2020 and the end of 2021.
Both customers are evaluating the possible conversion of significant parts of their fleets to hybrid operation, once successful trials have been completed.
Jürgen Blassmann, head of rail business at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “We are proud to see the MTU Hybrid Power Pack, which we’ve been pioneering for years, now establishing itself in the market as a leading-edge traction solution.
"These first orders are a milestone, as we transform the company from an engine and Power Pack manufacturer to a solution provider offering tomorrow’s sustainable traction systems.”
The MTU Hybrid Power Pack combines an MTU diesel engine (built to European Union Stage V requirements) with an electric unit that can function both as a motor and as a generator, plus an MTU Energy Pack battery system that stores the energy recovered during braking.
Among other benefits, this enables train operations under battery power, with zero local emissions.
In station areas, traction noise is reduced by around 75%, while fuel consumption and CO2
emissions are cut by up to 25%.
The operating costs of vehicles fitted with hybrid drives are also significantly lower, and even brake pads and discs have reduced wear due to brake energy recuperation.
As a result of the additional power of the electric machine, train operators also have the option to improve journey times through better acceleration.