Neil Bates, Director at Creactive Design Transport and Vivarail join Network Rail and Porterbrook in receiving the Cross-Industry Partnership, Environment & Sustainability Award at the Modern Railways Innovation Awards 2022.
Project Name: Green Trains @ COP26
What was Green Trains @ COP26?
COP26 was a unique and high-profile opportunity for the UK railway to come together to highlight rail’s sustainability credentials to the world and the role it can play in meeting zero carbon goals.
The co-ordinated programme of events under the banner of ‘Green Trains @COP26’, hosted by Network Rail in partnership with Porterbrook and Vivarail, showed the rail industry’s green ambitions by emphasising the quality and ingenuity of British rail engineering.
Stationed at Glasgow Central for the duration of COP26 and operated around the Cathcart Circle and Barrhead area, Porterbrook’s HydroFLEX electric/hydrogen/battery hybrid train and Vivarail’s battery train were tangible assets for the promotion of green rail. Both trains were retrofitted and repurposed using existing older rolling stock.
The trains collectively demonstrate the art of the possible for low carbon-emissions transport, responding to the challenge set by UK and climate leaders to move away from the diesel traction vehicles and seek a greener net zero railway by 2050.
The ‘Green Trains @COP26’ event showcased these innovations to a global audience, including the International Union of Railways, the UK Prime Minister, HRH The Prince of Wales and a younger audience of graduates and school children. The event aimed to change people’s perception of the railway – not as dirty and outdated, but modern, innovative and environmentally-conscious.
No single organisation could have individually accomplished the quantum or quality of what was achieved, and the successful outcome was a result of all parties being prepared to put short-term interests aside to unify around long-term goals.
Vivarail’s Battery Train
Vivarail’s battery train is designed to run solely on battery power and release zero harmful emissions during its journey. The train, upcycled from an old London Underground Class 230 unit, is fuelled using a large battery (charged overnight), and translated to six smaller on-train batteries located underneath each of the driving carriages. This generates sufficient power for a range of 62 miles.
It enabled the train to become the first of non-diesel train to cross the Forth Bridge using renewable energy. Previously, this has only been possible for trains powered by fossil fuels. It demonstrates the potential for cleaner, innovative technology to become the norm in locations which cannot accommodate or economically justify overhead electric wires.
Vivarail has also developed fast-charge technology which enables the train to rapidly re-charge automatically. It can undertake this at the end of the journey but also at interim points where it takes energy – automatically – when required. This is a gamechanger for battery trains, as it offers unlimited range at a fraction of the cost of electrification.
If you were unable to make it to COP26, but would like to experience the Vivarail’s next generation battery train interior, click below for a virtual tour.