Magtec reaches milestone in £4m project to help decarbonise rail network

The rail industry’s first conversion of a diesel multiple unit to a low-emission electric hybrid drive has reached its next milestone with Magtec’s innovative self-charging battery technology fitted to a rail vehicle and now ready for initial testing on the track. The £4m Class 165 Hybrid DMU project aims to reduce carbon and gaseous emissions, whilst addressing local air quality and noise pollution issues.

Andrew Gilligan, managing director of Magtec, said: “Our market-leading technology has the potential to help decarbonise the rail network with improved fuel efficiency and performance with lower emissions. As it scales up, this project is on track to become a game-changer for the UK rail industry.”

The Hybrid DMU train’s electric drive offers improved acceleration compared to its diesel-only counterparts, potentially reducing journey times for passengers. Its smart drive system is able to detect proximity to stations or depots, switching to battery power to cut emissions and noise in populated areas.

Magtec’s new range-extender generators charge the traction battery and deliver power to the traction motor. They are smaller and more efficient than existing diesel engines and comply with the latest emissions standards. The battery is also recharged by the train’s regenerative braking system, increasing overall efficiency and further reducing emissions.

Magtec is working on the Hybrid DMU project with Angel Trains, Britain’s leading train asset management company, and Chiltern Railways, part of the Arriva group. Chiltern Railways has been awarded a new contract which includes commitments to continue working towards decarbonising and modernising its fleet.

Photo credit: Magtec

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