University of Birmingham leases high-speed train

Posted on 13 Oct 2019 and read 732 times
University of Birmingham leases high-speed trainDerby-based Porterbrook, a rolling-stock asset management company, has leased one of its iconic high-speed trains to the University of Birmingham (the HSTs revitalised InterCity rail travel in Britain in the late 1970s).

This will enable the University of Birmingham to test a range of digital and decarbonisation innovations on a ‘highly flexible rolling-stock platform’.

Porterbrook’s decision to lease the train is part of its continued commitment to the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN), which brings the rail industry and academia together to develop innovative products.

It follows the successful ‘proof of concept’ of HydroFLEX — the UK’s first hydrogen train, which ran for the first time earlier this year, thanks to the collaboration between Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham.

By using the HST as a research platform, the University of Birmingham can accelerate its existing research into alternative power sources for trains with more-demanding duty cycles, such as long-distance passenger or freight operations.

Porterbrook COO Stephen McGurk said: “We are very excited by some of the ideas that the university is exploring to reduce emissions and decarbonise the railway. We look forward to some of these coming to market in the very near future.”

Alex Burrows, director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, said: “This HST will be invaluable in allowing us to test and develop our technologies on an operating train and in an open environment.

“It is by having facilities like this that we can really deliver world-leading research and innovation that will transform the railway for operators and customers.

“We are hugely grateful to Porterbrook for its commitment to our research.”

The official handover took place at Long Marston last month, at the Porterbrook-sponsored Destination Decarbonisation event, which focused on reducing the UK rail network’s carbon footprint.

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