Battery-powered train carries first passengers

An “eco-friendly battery-powered train for the 21st century”

The first battery-powered train to run on Britain’s rail network in more than half a century has begun to carry passengers. The operator Network Rail said it “marks an important milestone in the project to demonstrate the viability of an eco-friendly battery-powered train for the 21st century.”

The new train contributes to Network Rail’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, improve sustainability, and reduce the cost of running the railway by 20% over the next five years. It could lead to a fleet of battery-powered trains running on the rail network which are quieter and more efficient than diesel-powered trains, making them better for passengers and the environment.

Network Rail and its industry partners, including Bombardier, recognise the potential for battery-powered trains to bridge gaps between electrified parts of the network and run on branch lines where it would be too expensive to install overhead electrification.

Following trials at test tracks in Derby and Leicestershire last year, the modified Class 379 Electrostar battery-powered train – also known as an “independently powered electric multiple unit” (IPEMU) – will run a weekday timetable service for five weeks between Harwich International and Manningtree stations in Essex.


[Cartoon by Body and Soul International –]