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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hitachi Rail unveils ‘tri-mode’ battery hybrid train

Hitachi Rail has unveiled its new ‘Blues Train’ at InnoTrans 2022. Built for Trenitalia, the cutting-edge battery hybrid train will reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption by 50% and has the ability to arrive at and depart from stations completely under battery power.

The train will be the first ever ‘tri-mode’ (using battery, electric, and diesel power) to enter passenger service in Europe. Its inauguration comes ahead of its introduction into passenger service in Italy later this year. It is based on Hitachi’s Masaccio platform. The total Blues framework agreement with Trenitalia includes the supply of up to 135 trains worth €1.2 billion.

The Blues train, represents a significant breakthrough, with its ability to operate seamlessly on electrified and non-electrified lines. On electrified routes, it uses pantographs to draw power from the overhead lines. However, when it moves to non-electrified lines, usually smaller regional routes, a combination of battery and diesel power takes over.

When it is near a station, the batteries power the train completely, eliminating emissions including harmful NOx and reducing noise pollution. The battery is able to recharge while the train is in operation, both in diesel and electric mode.

The fleet’s top speed is 160km/h and the extra power offered by the on-board batteries means the train’s acceleration and performance is superior to existing diesel trains, allowing it to offer reduced journey times.

The Blues train is equipped with European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) digital signalling, which has up until now only been used on high-speed trains. This system supports the reduction of the railway’s energy and emissions footprint by regulating the speed, acceleration and braking of trains. ERTMS also boosts safety by enabling the automatic activation of train safety functions, including emergency braking in case of danger or if trains exceed the track’s line speed. ERTMS is recognised as the European rail standard, making the Blues Train highly interoperable and suitable for operation across Europe.

Andrew Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail, said: “The Blues train, with its pioneering battery hybrid technology, is a hugely important way for railways across Europe to reduce their carbon emissions, while improving passengers’ journeys.

“We’re thrilled to unveil this technology here in Berlin and to begin passenger service in Italy later this year. We know that decarbonising transport is a vital mission around Europe, so we’re delighted to provide our customer with effective solutions that lessen the impact on the planet.”

Image credit: Hitachi Rail

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