Siemens claims British battery trains will save £3.5bn



Siemens’ British battery trains set to save £3.5bn and consign diesel trains to history

  • Siemens Mobility’s battery trains, to be assembled in Goole, Yorkshire could replace ageing diesel fleets within the next decade.
  • Only small sections of track would need to be electrified, with fast-charging at key points on routes supplied from the domestic grid via Siemens’ Rail Charging Converters (RCCs).
  • This would save £3.5 billion and 12 million tonnes in CO2 emissions for Britain’s railways over 35 years.

Siemens Mobility estimates its new battery bi-mode trains could save Britain’s railways £3.5 billion and 12 million tonnes of CO2 over 35 years.  

The trains, which would be assembled at Siemens Mobility’s new Train Manufacturing Facility in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, 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, claims Siemens.  

This OLE can also be installed much more quickly using Siemens Mobility’s 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.

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

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. Trains using a Lithium Titanate Oxide battery could, Siemens claims, charge their batteries to full capacity in 20 minutes whilst moving along the electrified sections or charging whilst stopped at stations.

Says Sambit Banerjee, Joint CEO for Siemens Mobility UK & Ireland:

“Britain should never have to buy a diesel passenger train again. Our battery trains, which we’d assemble in our new Goole factory in Yorkshire, 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 £3.5bn over 35 years.”

Siemens Mobility’s first battery train fleet is already in passenger service in Germany. Running in the Ortenau region it is estimated these trains will save 1.8 million litres of diesel per year when operating throughout the whole network.

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Chris Price
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