First hydro-train on maiden voyage - The Evesham Observer

First hydro-train on maiden voyage

Evesham Editorial 2nd Oct, 2020   0

BRITAIN’S first hydro-powered train has made its maiden voyage between Long Marston and Evesham.

The prototype, called Hydroflex, reached speeds of up to 50mph.

Mainline testing is the culmination of almost two years’ work and more than £1m investment by developers Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham.

And during trials this week Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was on board for the first trip.

He said: “As we continue on our road to a green recovery, we know that to really harness the power of transport to improve our country – and to set a global gold standard – we must truly embed change.

“That’s why I’m delighted through our plans to build back better we are embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transport it will bring.

“The next stages of Hydroflex are already well underway, with the University of Birmingham developing a hydrogen and battery-powered module that can be fitted underneath the train, which will allow for more space for passengers in the train’s carriage.“

The train will soon be going into production, in response to customer demand.

It should be ready to start carrying passengers by the end of next year.

And Porterbrook chief executive Mary Grant believes mainline testing is an ‘important milestone’.

She said: “Porterbrook is committed to innovation and the delivery of a carbon neutral and sustainable railway.

“The mainline testing achieves another important milestone on this journey.

“I’m also delighted to be able to announce our intention to start producing Hydroflex trains, creating the world’s first electric and hydrogen powered rolling stock, as well as generating significant opportunities for the UK supply chain.”

Porterbrook expanded its operations to Long Marston earlier this year, signing a 15-year lease which saw it take over the direction and development of the facility.

The site covers 135 acres and includes 12 miles of storage sidings and a two-mile test-track loop.

The Hydroflex train has been developed and previously tested at the site.

Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston said: “I’m so pleased Evesham was chosen as the first station for the HydroFLEX’s first journey and it demonstrates the serious government investment into the Midlands and levelling up of infrastructure across the country.

“Trials for hydrogen trains are beginning in the Midlands, expected to be rolled out in the next three years.

“I think it’s a really exciting time for the transport sector and this green industry will open up more jobs, with the hub being the Midlands.

“I’m also delighted that the Transport Secretary was also able to get a little view of the constituency yesterday as he rode on the first British hydrogen-powered train journey.”


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