The Anonymous Widower

Could Battery-Electric Hitachi Trains Work Hull Trains’s Services?

Before I answer this question, I will lay out the battery-electric train’s specification.

Hitachi’s Proposed Battery Electric Train

Based on information in an article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, which is entitled Sparking A Revolution, the specification of Hitachi’s proposed battery-electric train is given as follows.

  • Based on Class 800-802/804 trains or Class 385 trains.
  • Range of 55-65 miles.
  • Operating speed of 90-100 mph
  • Recharge in ten minutes when static.
  • A battery life of 8-10 years.
  • Battery-only power for stations and urban areas.
  • Trains are designed to be created by conversion of existing Class 80x trains.

For this post, I will assume that the train is five cars long. This is the length of Hull Trains’s Class 802 trains.

Recently, Hitachi have released this infographic.

This seems to give the same information and a definitive range of 90 km or 56 miles.

Hull Trains’s Services

Hull Trains run a train between Kings Cross and Hull, with some trains extending to Beverley.

  • The service runs at a frequency of five trains per day (tpd) to Hull station and two tpd to Beverley station.
  • Intermediate stations are Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough and Cottingham

The Beverley service is 213 miles long and takes three hours and seven minutes.

These are facts about the operation of the service.

  • The train changes between diesel and electric operation at Temple Hirst Junction, which is on the electrified East Coast Main Line.
  • Temple Hirst Junction is forty-four miles from Beverley and thirty-six miles from Hull.
  • Trains to and from Beverley reverse at Hull and and are allowed eighteen minutes for the operation.
  • This reverse at Hull is enough time to charge the train’s batteries using a Fast-Charging system.

As these trains could have a range of at least fifty-five miles on battery power, is there any point to bother with diesel?

Could Hull Trains and TransPennineExpress Share A Fast-Charger?

In Could Battery-Electric Hitachi Trains Work TransPennine Express’s Services?, I said this about their Manchester Piccadilly and Hull service.

As with the Scarborough and Redcar Central services, a Fast-Charging system would probably be needed at Hull.

As Hull Trains and TransPennine Express are both First Group companies, I would assume they would share amicably!

But would they allow LNER’s Azumas to use their Fast-Charger?

Could Hull Station Go Zero-Carbon?

If all the Hitachi trains used by Hull Trains, LNER and TransPrnnine Express were to use battery power to run between Hull station and the nearest electrification, the only diesel trains using the station would be Northern‘s assortment.

Northern run services through or to Hull as follows.

  • Sheffield and Hull
  • Sheffield and Bridlington
  • Hull and Scarborough
  • Hull and York

All services have a frequency of around one train per hour (tph).

These services could be run by either battery-electric or hydrogen-electric trains.

Hull station is also a big bus interchange, so these would need to be converted to electric or hydrogen.

I’m sure iTM Power not far away in Sheffield, would be happy to provide a hydrogen system to fuel the buses and the trains.


It looks to me, that if a Fast-Charging system, were to be fitted at Hull and used during reverse or turnround at the station, that a Class 802 train fitted with batteries could work Hull Train’s service without using a drop of diesel.

I can just see the advertising – Hull Trains – Your carbon-free way between London and Hull!

It wouldn’t even need any electrification, other than the Fast-Charging system at Hull.

I also believe that Hull station and the co-located bus station could go carbon-free.


February 26, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I think it would be difficult to declare any UK rail station as truly zero carbon at present for two reasons:
    1/ is there enough non-carbon electric power to cover the demand? If not then you would have to assign to the station the average carbon/non-carbon electric mix (allowing for the fact that the UK can achieve non-fossil fuel electric generation briefly at present)
    2/ ICE road vehicle access to service the station in various ways (taxi, deliveries, customer pickup/drop off, etc.)

    But eliminating ICE locomotion from the station is a laudable goal, not least to improve local air quality.

    Comment by MilesT | February 26, 2020 | Reply

    • I think that given that Humberside is fast developing lots of onshore and offshore wind, that there could be fast progress.

      Last night, I was chatting with the owner/driver of a battery taxi. He likes it, but felt hydrogen would be better!

      Comment by AnonW | February 26, 2020 | Reply

  2. This looks the most promising of all the routes you’ve examined that could be enabled very quickly. I wonder if battery would be a straight swap on weight and volume of the engines plus fuel tanks were removed from a couple of coaches?

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 26, 2020 | Reply

    • I think they will be! Modern Railways said as much in the last or previous edition, with regard to Avanti West Coast. I would not be surprised to see diesel engines and batteries being Plug and Play. Stadler’s batteries and diesel engines in the Class 755 trains certainly are.

      Comment by AnonW | February 27, 2020 | Reply

  3. […] Could Battery-Electric Hitachi Trains Work Hull Trains’s Services?, I showed that Hull Trains could run their services with a Fast Charging system in Hull […]

    Pingback by GWR Buys Vehicles Outright In HST Fleet Expansion « The Anonymous Widower | September 11, 2020 | Reply

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