Prototype battery-powered ai???IPEMUai??i?? carries passengers for first time

Battery powered trains are evolving at a fast pace.

For the Chilliwack interurbanAi?? purposes, this sort of train could operate quite well on sections of non electrified track, including the 12.5 section of shared track with the Roberts Bank Railway and the 22 km section from the Fraser river Bridge to the downtown Vancouver Central Station.

As battery powered trains and trams improve, by the time the government comes out of its transit mega project stupor, the ability of battery powered trains to run further afield, will only increase.

Prototype battery-powered ai???IPEMUai??i?? carries passengers for first time

Ai??The first battery-powered train to run on Britainai??i??s rail network in more than half a century carries its first passengers this week.

The modified Class 379 Electrostar battery-powered train ai??i?? also known as an Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit (IPEMU) ai??i?? will run in weekday timetable service for five weeks between Harwich International and Manningtree stations in Essex.

It was retrofitted and tested by Bombardier in Derby and Leicestershire. The IPEMU is a joint project between Network Rail, Bombardier, Abellio Greater Anglia, FutureRailway and the Rail Executive arm of the Department for Transport.

The partner companies involved in the project believe there is huge potential for battery-powered trains to bridge gaps between electrified parts of the network and to run on branch lines where it would be too expensive to install overhead electrification.

Data gathered during the experiment will be used to help the wider rail industry determine what form a future IPEMU will take, be it a straight battery unit or hybrid.

On the retrofitted Class 379, the DMOS, PTOSL(W) and DMOC cars are standard, but the MOSL car has been converted to a ai???Trailer Battery Car (BOS)ai??i??. The MCM (motor converter module), CET tank and power bogie have been removed, the pipework and cabling have been reconfigured because of equipment being relocated and the toilet is locked out. The auxiliary reservoir has been relocated to the DMOS, and six battery rafts have been installed, alongside new power cables, trailer bogie, a new button on the cab desk, an additional HMI screen, and data acquisition instrumentation.

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The battery rafts fitted to the Class 379 unit contain a battery box, isolation switch, power distribution control panel, battery charging inverter, batteries and battery monitoring system, all mounted within a bespoke, purpose-built rig. Their creation follows the successful testing of several types of battery technologies, including lithium iron magnesium (which are being used for these tests) and hot sodium nickel salt.

A project update for the IMechE by Charles Twort of Bombardier and Sam Barrett of Network Rail said the trial performance targets were: a range of 50km (regional service); an acceleration and speed similar to a DMU; operational cycles of 30km battery and 50km overhead; a lifetime of five to seven years; and a ai???high level of intrinsic safetyai???.

Any future IPEMU would most likely be designed as a new train and not an adapted unit, to minimise energy consumption, but this project will also provide useful information for retrofit.


It could ultimately lead to a fleet of battery-powered trains running on Britainai??i??s rail network, which would be quieter and more efficient than diesel-powered trains, making them better for passengers and the environment.

Network Rail principal engineer James Ambrose said: ai???Weai??i??ve made terrific progress with this project so far and seeing the battery-powered train in timetabled service is a huge step forward.

ai???After months of engineering and testing, the train is running just as we would like it. Weai??i??ll be using this five-week period to gather data on how it handles during passenger service ai??i?? most travellers will recognise how quiet and smooth the ride is compared to a diesel-powered

He continued: ai???We are always looking for ways to reduce the cost of running the railway and make it greener too. This project has the potential to contribute significantly towards both those

Rail minister Claire Perry MP said: ai???This is a major milestone in this innovative project, and further proof of our commitment to deliver a world-class rail network fit for the 21st century.

ai???These trains potentially offer a real alternative where diesel or electrified services arenai??i??t suitable, and I look forward to seeing the results of the


Battery locomotives have been used on railways for around 100 years, including in munitions factories during World War 1 to avoid the risk of explosion from sparks emitted by steam locomotives. London Underground currently has a fleet of battery locomotives used on engineering trains when the power is switched off for track maintenance and improvement work.

RTM readers have recalled the two-car battery powered train in use on the Aberdeen-Ballater branch from 1958, and the BR Southern Region motor luggage vans that used lead-acid batteries, for example.

Roger Capel noted on the RTM website: ai???The 1957 battery train (gather it was a BEMU!) was done in the same works as today’s IPEMU, using the two standard ai???Derby Lightweightai??i?? DMU bodyshells. At that time DB were putting battery railcars into service in Germany, but I think its immediate despatch to the wilds of Aberdeenshire indicates that it was a BR

But the IPEMU is the first modern attempt to trial battery power for potential passenger services.

Tell us what you think ai??i?? have your say below or email


One Response to “Prototype battery-powered ai???IPEMUai??i?? carries passengers for first time”
  1. eric chris says:

    This is a great innovation for long distance commuting and can easily be used on LRT and tram lines to improve safety (lines falling) and reduce costs (poles and substations) tremendously. I can’t wait for the UBC to Chilliwack tram-train to start service after TransLink is scrapped and competent engineers take over the design and planning of transit here.

    Incidentally, as Haveacow predicted here in other posts, the crumbling concrete guide-way is proving to be a major financial disaster for TransLink. TransLink spent about $2 million just to find out how many hundreds of millions of dollars that it’s going to cost to do the repairs. TransLink has no clue; this is not a little problem which is only going to cost a few million dollars to fix and it could eventually take down the entire s-train network for major structural repairs:

    I’m sure; more good news is to follow soon about concrete falling onto people or cars from the s-train money sucking disaster. Honestly, is the plebiscite here for more funding “to reduce road congestion” as TransLink purports or to pay for the s-train money pit?

    If you take the $35 monthly (travel anywhere pass) away from the student joy riders taking s-train here, the ridership becomes dismal. Gordon Price (one of the key master minds of the s-train stupidity) is back putting his spin on how s-train has dropped car trips to downtown Vancouver. Yes, it has but he failed to mention how: major corporations abandoned downtown Vancouver and its restrictive parking put into place to force commuters onto s-train. The following slick commercial by TransLink (paid for by you and me) is enough to make you puke:

    Both BC Gas and BC Hydro, for instance, moved most of their employees to Delta and Surrey for their employees to drive. I know many engineers and others who tell me the decision for these companies to leave Vancouver was partly due to the loss of employees who were not going to take transit by TransLink to downtown Vancouver, no way. For them it meant transferring from a bus to s-train at night in bad weather to deal with creeps at the s-train stations and on the s-trains. This was a no go for female employees who were being assaulted, particularly on s-train. Interestingly, the same employees admitted that if they could catch a bus from the home to downtown, they would take transit. Here is a recent story which you won’t find published by The Vancouver Sun; it is bad for the image of s-train and the reporters at The Vancouver Sun can’t write about bad things about transit, only good things about transit:


    People keep telling us “if only you got your message out, more people would be voting NO.” The problem is that we don’t have the taxpayer funded resources of the YES side. So we have to careful about how we spend our money and make sure we get the biggest bang for our buck.

    TransLink is desperate to raise your taxes while continuing with their wasteful ways – like having two overpaid CEO’s at the same time. They are spending millions of taxpayers dollars to try and buy this vote – with fancy TV and online ad campaigns.

    That’s why we are going to be rolling out our secret weapon: Lawn Signs. They are very cost effective and make a big splash in neighbourhoods.

    Each lawn sign costs about $6.30 when the cost of the plastic, the wire frame and the taxes are included. And we need lots of them – can you help us buy a few lawn signs? Just click here to buy lawns signs using our secure online form.

    Only $63.00 will buy us 10 signs – think of the impact that ten signs will make in your neighbourhood or along your commute home. Help us buy 10 .

    Thank you for your support,

    No TransLink Tax

    PS. Please share this email with people who you think would want to fight this outrageous TransLink Tax.