Hybrid power plan for Porterbrook ‘Turbostars’ and hydrogen trial for ‘319’


PORTERBROOK Leasing is working with Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU on the conversion of Class 168/170 ‘Turbostar’ DMUs for hybrid diesel/battery operation.

The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin on September 19 that will see a two-car ‘HybridFLEX’ prototype train on the main line at the beginning of 2020.

An artist’s impression of the ‘HydroFlex’, which is based on the Class 319.

Porterbrook then plans to roll out the modification across its ‘Turbostar’ fleet from 2021. The agreement includes an option for the retrofitting of a second DMU.

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The project involves replacing the MTU engines with a new power pack that supplements a 6H 1800 diesel engine, and battery packs for emission-free
operation in and around stations. The trains will retain their mechanical final drives, but a new gearbox will blend the power sources and add regenerative brake capability, which will charge the batteries during braking.

The two power sources will also allow faster acceleration to reduce journey times (or recover from delays) and make the DMUs compatible with the latest EU Stage V emissions regulations.

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Its hybrid drive system has been extensively tested by Deutsche Bahn in Germany, using a Class 642 ‘Desiro’ DMU, but this is the first agreement for the delivery of MTU hybrid drive systems in the UK.

Read more in the October issue of The RM – on sale now3!

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