Alpha Trains commits to hybrid retrofit for diesel fleet


Alpha Trains has signed a letter of intent with Rolls-Royce to retrofit its existing diesel train fleet with hybrid drive systems.

The agreement, which was confirmed by the two companies at InnoTrans 2018, includes the company’s fleet of Talent, Desiro and Coradia Lint trains.

Following the successful retrofit of a hybrid drive system to a Class 643 Talent EMU, the technology will be rolled out across all of Alpha Trains’ 140 diesel vehicles.

The hybrid drive system combines an electric traction motor/generator and battery storage. The batteries are able to store energy recovered during braking which can then be used to power the electric traction motor.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions can be reduced by as much as 25 per cent, according to Rolls-Royce, and the additional power from the electric drive system offers faster acceleration and more power.

Thomas Schmidt, managing director of Alpha Trains Europa GmbH, said: “With the hybrid drive from MTU, our intention is to further increase the attractiveness of our fleet of passenger trains for our customers and to make them fit for an even more cost-effective and environmentally friendly operation.”

He added: “The letter of intent is also sending a signal to local transport authorities that they should “consider the possibility of including alternative drive technologies, such as a hybrid retrofit, in tenders.”

Jürgen Blassmann, head of rail business at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, said: “We are delighted that with Alpha Trains we have acquired and are joining forces with an outstanding partner for our forward-looking MTU Hybrid PowerPack.

“Fuel savings and the generally lower operating costs of our drive solution will offer immediate benefits to the operators of these vehicles – with no additional cost whatsoever for infrastructure.”

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