Hitachi Rail TPE battery trial (Photo Hitachi Rail) (2)

UK: A Class 802 electro-diesel inter-city trainset which has been retrofitted with a battery in place of one of its three engines is being tested by Hitachi Rail, operator TransPennine Express and leasing company Angel Trains.

The battery will provide top-up power for peak demand and give regenerative braking capability when the trainset is operating in diesel mode. It will also enable the trainset to enter and leave non-electrified stations using battery power, improving air quality and reducing noise.

It is expected to reduce emissions and fuel costs by up to 30%.

Trials planned for later this year aim to provide real-world evidence to inform the business case for a battery-electric trainset which would be capable of running up to 100 km in battery mode on non-electrified sections of inter-city routes. This could reduce the need to install expensive 25 kV 50 Hz overhead electrification in tunnels and at complex junctions.


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The trainset selected for the trials is 802 207, which was damaged in a shunting accident in March 2022.

The 6 m long 2·2 m wide battery module was manufactured with Turntide Technologies in Sunderland and sent for testing by Hitachi in Japan.

It can produce a peak power of more than 700 kW, providing the same acceleration and performance as the diesel engine it replaces, while being no heavier. The system is modular, and can be scaled up or down depending on a route’s topography, timetable or charging infrastructure.

‘Hitachi has invested more than £15m in research and development to deliver a UK first in battery train technology’, said Jim Brewin, Chief Director for UK & Ireland at Hitachi Rail, on May 24.

‘Collaborating closely with our partners, Angel Trains and TransPennine Express, we are committed to showcasing how the rail industry can significantly lower costs and emissions. This is an important next step towards a more energy efficient and greener railway.’

Decarbonisation pathway

Hitachi Rail TPE battery trial (Photo Hitachi Rail) (3)

Hitachi Rail said replacing diesel engines with a battery and partial electrification would create a low-cost pathway to decarbonise railways around the world. It has ambitions to install the battery on trains internationally, potentially boosting UK exports.

Hitachi unveiled its Masaccio diesel-battery-electric regional train for Italy’s Trenitalia at InnoTrans 2022, and a long-distance version in March this year. It aims to roll out a EuroMasaccio for other European markets including Germany from 2026.