Hitachi Rail’s new Blues Train, one of the most advanced battery hybrid train іn the world, was unveiled at InnoTrans 2022 in Berlin, writes Railway Supply with reference to Global Railway Review.

Hitachi Rail

Built for Trenitalia, the battery-powered hybrid train will cut carbon emissions and fuel consumption by 50 percent, and has the ability to arrive at stations and depart using only battery power. The train will be the first ever “tri-mode” transport (using battery, electric and diesel power) to begin serving passengers in Europe later this year.

The Blues “tri-mode” train represents a significant market breakthrough due to its ability to operate seamlessly on electrified and non-electrified lines. On electrified routes, it uses pantographs to get power from overhead lines. However, when it moves to non-electrified lines, typically smaller regional routes, a combination of battery and diesel power comes into play. When it is close to the station, the batteries fully power the train, eliminating emissions, including harmful NOx, and reducing noise pollution. The battery can be recharged while the train is running in both diesel and electric modes.

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The maximum speed of the train is 160 km/h. However, the extra power offered by the onboard batteries means the Blues train’s acceleration and performance is superior to existing diesel trains, allowing for shorter travel times for passengers.

The Blues train is equipped with the innovative European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) digital signaling, which until now has only been used on high-speed trains. This system supports the reduction of railway energy consumption and emissions by regulating the speed, acceleration and deceleration of trains. ERTMS also improves safety by allowing automatic activation of train safety features, including emergency braking in case of danger or if trains exceed the line speed of the track. ERTMS is recognized as the European railway standard, making Blues Train highly interoperable and suitable for operation throughout Europe.

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