Hybrid Rail projects by Rolls-Royce, Porterbrook and Irish Rail

Hybrid PowerPacks, delivered by Rolls-Royce, are going to improve the rail industry both in the United Kingdom and in Ireland thanks to the cooperation with Porterbrook and Irish Rail.


In particular, Rolls-Royce and Porterbrook, the UK’s largest owner of passenger rolling stock, have agreed the delivery of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks that can convert Class 168 and Class 170 ‘Turbostar’ DMUs from diesel-only to hybrid-electric operation. This technology allows for the cleaner and quieter operation of trains in stations and through urban areas. And, on the Irish side, Rolls-Royce and Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, the state-owned railway of the Republic of Ireland, will jointly develop the use of MTU hybrid rail drives on the Irish railway network.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: «Porterbrook is committed to reducing the emissions and carbon footprint of our existing diesel powered fleets. We hope our investment in this trial of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks will enable us to offer wider fleet fitment of this technology, so that our customers can reduce both emissions and operating costs, as well as improve air-quality in urban areas. Hybrid trains have the added benefit of operating with very little sound when using battery power, offering additional benefits to the railway’s near neighbours. This is one of several initiatives that Porterbrook is undertaking to address the challenge, set by Rail Minister Jo Johnson MP, of removing diesel-only trains from the UK rail network by 2040».

Meanwhile, Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, said: «We’re delighted to be able to join forces with Rolls-Royce in bringing a new and eco-friendly kind of rail drive technology to Ireland. Our passengers will greatly appreciate the ride on an even quieter train, and since this is a rail drive that spares resources, we all stand to gain from the benefits to the environment that it offers».

Class 22000

The agreements

Rolls-Royce will initially deliver two MTU Hybrid PowerPacks based on type 6H 1800 engines to Porterbrook. These will be fitted into a Turbostar DMU in the beginning of 2020 which will then be trialled for a period of six months during regular operations.

For the Irish case, the two parties agreed that from the year 2021 initially nine PowerPacks would be supplied for Class 22000 rail vehicles. Subject to the success of the trials, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail plans to convert its entire Class 22000 fleet using up to 234 MTU Hybrid PowerPacks. Conversion to the hybrid configuration is to get going by early 2022 at the latest. MTU has already demonstrated in simulations that Hybrid PowerPacks can produce fuel savings of up to 33% on the Irish rail network.



MTU Hybrid PowerPack

The MTU Hybrid PowerPack is an environmentally friendly drive system which combines the advantages of diesel and battery-powered rail traction. Noise emissions in stations are cut by around 75 percent. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 25 percent. NOx emissions can also be reduced by up to 70 percent and particulate emissions by around 90 percent.


The total operating costs of rail vehicles with MTU hybrid drives are also significantly lower, and even brake pads and discs experience reduced wear due to energy recuperation during braking. As a result of the additional power of the electric machine, train operators also have the option to improve journey times through better acceleration.

MTU Hybrid PowerPack


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