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News from the UK Rail Industry 25th April 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

Transport Committee launches trains fit for the future

The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into the development of alternatively-fuelled trains and how carriages can be designed to meet the changing demands of the travelling public.

Chair of the Committee Lilian Greenwood MP said: “Trains and the technology behind them have been evolving since the invention of the railway. With the carriages commissioned now likely to be in service for the next four decades, it’s vital that the Government and industry looks ahead to cater for the needs of passengers of the future and ensure they are accessible to all. With the number of journeys on the railway continuing to grow, this is also a chance to examine the role new trains can play in reducing the country’s carbon emissions from transport and improving air quality.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The Railway Industry Association welcomes the announcement of a new parliamentary inquiry into how we can ensure trains are fit for the future. Now is exactly the right time to consider how the rail network can be decarbonised by 2040. RIA will continue to call for a rolling programme of cost-effective electrification, as the optimal solution for intensively used lines, as well as the continued development of new technologies like hydrogen, battery and trimodes.”

The inquiry will examine the costs and benefits to the rail industry as it takes decisions about moving away from diesel-powered trains in favour of electric and bi-mode vehicles. It will also look into the use of alternative fuels such as batteries and hydrogen. Full story.

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Recycled Underground trains launched with state-of-the-art systems

West Midlands Trains has launched its first Class 230 ‘D-Train’ DMU between Bletchley and Bedford, which forms part of its London Northwestern Railway business unit.

The Class 230 DMUs have been converted from London Underground metro stock, originally manufactured in 1980. The aluminium bodyshells have been retained, but the interiors have been extensively refurbished. 

Power is supplied by two underfloor genset modules on each vehicle, which incorporate a 3·2 litre Ford Duratec diesel engine. The traction control system developed by Strukton Rail uses IGBT choppers, with the traction control electronics and battery charger integrated in one box. A state-of-the-art remote condition monitoring system is also fitted. Maximum speed is 97 km/h.

The franchise operator ordered the three two-car units to provide extra capacity and improved customer amenities, including accessible toilets and USB sockets at every seat. The remaining two sets are expected to enter service in the coming weeks. 

Fuel consumption is roughly half that of previous diesel multiple-unit trains and is supported by stop-start technology, which sees the engines shut down when not needed. Four separate engine modules would enable a train to operate at near full power even if one engine should fail. 

LNR Customer Experience Director Jonny Wiseman said the Class 230 was “a fantastic addition to our fleet. There has been a lot of anticipation for the introduction of the D-Trains from staff, commuters and the local community, and we hope that our passengers find them comfortable and welcoming to travel on. These trains are unrecognisable from their former life on the Underground; Vivarail has created a modern and comfortable train, ideal for this route.” Full story.

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