British operator Chiltern Railways celebrated its 25th anniversary with a demonstration ride of the prototype HybridFLEX train, which uses a hybrid powertrain – diesel combined with traction batteries.
The HybridFLEX train was created by the operator in cooperation with the leasing company Porterbrook. The basis was a series 168 diesel train built by Bombardier Transportation, which was fitted with an MTU hybrid power plant (part of Rolls-Royce). Its use can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25%, nitrogen oxides by 70% and particulate matter by 90%. At the same time, thanks to the energy storage on batteries at the stations, zero emissions and an almost silent operation of the train engines are ensured.
Chiltern Railways is owned by Arriva and operates a fleet of diesel trains with an average age of 25 years. Modernization of this rolling stock using new technology will significantly improve its environmental performance. The HybridFLEX train prototype is scheduled to enter regular operation in September 2021.
Operator Chiltern Railways operates between London and Birmingham, as well as several other non-electrified routes (photo: Chiltern Railways).