Thursday, September 20, 2018

News: Magtec changes track to convert diesel trains

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Magtec, the UK's largest supplier of electric vehicle drive systems, is working to deliver the rail industry's first conversion of a diesel-powered train to hybrid drive.

Founded in 1992, MAGTEC designs and manufactures electric drive systems and components for a wide range of applications including trucks, buses and military vehicles.

The expanding firm now has facilities in Sheffield and Rotherham and is working with train leasing company, Angel Trains and Chiltern Railways to convert a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Class 165 train. As part of the £3.5m project, the new "HyDrive" train is due for completion by late 2019 and will serve passengers on Chiltern Railways routes, including commuter routes between London Marylebone to Aylesbury.

In future, passengers using the Class 165 HyDrive could benefit from potentially reduced journey times, thanks to the improved acceleration offered by the hybrid technology compared to its diesel-only counterparts. Additionally, when the hybrid system detects proximity to stations or depots, it will turn the engines off and run on its battery, removing gaseous and noise emissions from populated areas.

Improved fuel efficiency means an increased range, making operation more efficient. Maintenance will also be reduced compared to diesel-only units, with remote diagnostics used to ensure that the hybrid system continues to operate smoothly.

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The completed Class 165 HyDrive project will have a positive environmental impact, most notably through a significant reduction in CO2, NOx and noise emissions. The new range-extender engines, designed to drive generators to charge the traction battery which delivers power to the traction motor, will be smaller and more efficient than the existing engines and will comply with the latest emission standards. The battery will be re-charged by the vehicles new regenerative braking system, increasing overall efficiency and reducing emissions.

The engines will be replaced after their life cycle providing an upgrade path to alternative power sources in the future. This offers the opportunity for incremental improvements in emissions and reduced operating costs as technology develops.

Kevin Tribley, CEO of Angel Trains said: "Angel Trains is delighted to be involved in this innovative Class 165 HyDrive project to deliver an industry-first transformation, alongside our partners Chiltern Railways and Magtec.

"Our £3.5m investment further demonstrates Angel Trains' commitment to investing in industry-leading innovations and decarbonisation initiatives, while continuing to deliver significant train upgrades to meet modern environmental and passenger expectations."

Marcus Jenkins, founder and managing director of Magtec, said: "This exciting project marks our entry into the rail industry and puts the UK at the forefront of innovation in the global sector. Repowering diesel trains as hybrid units will add decades to their life span, offering long-term commercial benefits for operators.

"Our innovative and elegant engineering is attracting interest from transport operators and innovators across the world."

Magtec is also a partner in a pioneering project with Unipart Rail and others which aims to reduce the weight and cost of a railcar by half.

Magtec website

Images: Angel Trains

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