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Plans for Hitachi ‘battery hub’ unveiled in north east

HITACHI RAIL and Hyperdrive Innovation have signed an agreement to develop battery packs for trains by creating a ‘battery hub’ in north east England. Hitachi said the market for mass-produced batteries consisted of more than 400 trains.

Batteries offer a zero-emission replacement for diesel engines on trains using unelectrified lines.

The two companies said the agreement was an ’important step’ towards manufacturing batteries at Hyperdrive’s HYVE factory in Sunderland, and then installing them at Hitachi Rail’s train-building works in Newton Aycliffe, which is only about 30km away.

Hitachi has identified its fleets of 275 trains as potential early recipients of the batteries. They could also be installed on new metro and intercity trains in the future.

Hitachi Rail group CEO Andrew Barr said: ‘Battery trains can play a vital role in improving the air we breathe, tackling climate change and providing modern, high performing rail service – all things we know passengers want to see.

‘The partnership with Hyperdrive creates shovel-ready opportunity for new battery trains to be ordered now. As well as new trains, this is also a window of opportunity to cut carbon and supercharge a green recovery in the North East and across the UK.’

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