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Siemens’ British battery trains set to save £3.5 billion

Posted on 12 Jun 2024. Edited by: Tony Miles. Read 460 times.
Siemens’ British battery trains set to save £3.5 billionSiemens Mobility has calculated that its new battery bi-mode trains could save Britain’s railways £3.5 billion and 12 million tonnes of CO2 over the next 35 years. The trains, which would be assembled at Siemens Mobility’s new Train Manufacturing Facility in Goole, would be powered by overhead wires on already electrified routes, then switch to battery power where there are no wires.

That means only small sections of the routes and/or particular stations have to be electrified with overhead line equipment (OLE), making it much quicker and less disruptive to replace diesel trains compared to full electrification.

This OLE can also be installed more quickly using Siemens Mobility’s innovative Rail Charging Converter (RCC), which makes it possible to plug directly into the domestic grid — potentially cutting delivery times for OLE from seven years to as little as 18 months.

Sambit Banerjee, joint CEO for Siemens Mobility UK & Ireland, said: “Britain should never have to buy a diesel passenger train again. Our battery trains, which we would assemble in our new Goole factory, can replace Britain’s ageing diesel trains without us having to electrify hundreds of miles more track in the next few years. So, on routes from Perth to Penzance, passengers could be travelling on clean, green battery-electric trains by the early 2030s; and the best thing is that this would save the country £3.5 billion over 35 years.”

A number of train operators are currently looking to replace their ageing diesel fleets, including Chiltern, Great Western Railway (GWR), Northern, ScotRail, TransPennine Express (TPE) and Transport for Wales (TfW), while East-West Rail will need to secure new trains.

Strategic points

Siemens Mobility has conducted extensive modelling using advanced train performance simulation software to compare using battery bi-mode trains to running diesel or part-diesel powered trains.
It shows that Siemens Mobility’s battery bi-mode trains would only require 20–30% of a line to be electrified. These trains, using lithium-titanate-oxide battery chemistry, can charge their batteries to full capacity in 20min while moving along the electrified sections or charging while stopped at stations.

Siemens Mobility has reviewed routes across the country and identified strategic points along these routes where discontinuous electrification OLE could be installed, powered by Siemens Mobility’s RCCs, enabling the batteries to be charged. The RCCs can be installed in as little as 18 months alongside the OLE, connecting to the local power grid using an 11kV charge, instead of using the high powered 275/400kV electricity network, connections to which can take up to seven years to install on traditional electrification projects.

Taking this approach across routes for the seven train operators mentioned above would save Britain’s railways £3.5 billion over 35 years compared with using diesel-battery-electric ‘tri-mode’ trains, as had been proposed; and it would support the Government’s aim of removing diesel-only trains from Britain’s railways by 2040. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 12 million tonnes over that period, the equivalent of removing 80,000 cars from our roads or planting a forest across an area the size of the Isle of Man.

Siemens Mobility’s first battery train fleet is already in passenger service in Germany. These highly advanced trains are running in the Ortenau region and will save 1.8 million litres of diesel per year when operating throughout the whole network.