UK: Stadler has unveiled a Class 777 electric multiple-unit which has been fitted with a prototype battery energy storage system to enable operation on non-electrified tracks.
The independently-powered electric multiple-unit is being supplied to Liverpool area transport authority Merseytravel in addition to the 52 four-car EMUs which it originally ordered in 2017.
The EMUs are equipped for 750 V DC third rail operation at up to 120 km/h on the Merseyrail network, and have small batteries for independent movement around depots. They are also designed to be capable of using 25 kV 50 Hz electrification on any future network extensions.
The IPEMU is fitted with a larger battery that can be charged from the third rail. This is intended to provide a range of 25 km on non-electrified routes at a maximum speed of 80 km/h.
The IPEMU equipment is mounted on the underframe and roof, using the space left for the 25 kV transformer, which means other EMUs could easily be converted into IPEMUs if required. Potential applications being considered are proposed extensions of Merseyrail services off the third rail network to Helsby, Skelmersdale and Wrexham.
‘The Class 777s EMUs are set to become the Merseyrail fleet for decades to come’, said David Powell, Programme Director for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. ‘The ability to deploy these as IPEMUs gives us a very powerful tool to widen our network and to further improve our green credentials.’
The manufacturer’s UK & Ireland Sales Director Ralf Warwel said the IPMEU ‘brings together the very best of Stadler: green technology, design innovation and a keen emphasis on our client’s specific requirements.’