The Anonymous Widower

Charging The Batteries On An Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

There are several ways the batteries on an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train could be charged.

  • On an electrified main line like the Great Western or East Coast Main Lines, the electrification can be used in normal electrified running.
  • A short length of electrification at the terminal or through stations can be used.
  • The diesel engines could be used, at stations, where this is acceptable.

Alternatively, a custom design of charger can be used like Vivarail’s  Fast Charge system.

In Vivarail’s Plans For Zero-Emission Trains, I said this.

Vivarail Now Has Permission To Charge Any Train

Mr. Shooter said this about Vivarail’s Fast Charge system.

The system has now been given preliminary approval to be installed as the UK’s standard charging system for any make of train.

I may have got the word’s slightly wrong, but I believe the overall message is correct.

In the November 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a transcript of what Mr. Shooter said.

‘Network Rail has granted interim approval for the fast charge system and wants it to be the UK’s standard battery charging system’ says Mr. Shooter. ‘We believe it could have worldwide implications.’

I hope Mr. Shooter knows some affordable lawyers, as in my experience, those working in IPR are not cheap.

I think it’s very likely, that Vivarail’s Fast Charge system could be installed at terminals to charge Hitachi’s Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains.

    • The Fast Charge systems can be powered by renewable energy.
    • The trains would need to be fitted with third rail shoes modified to accept the high currents involved.
    • They can also be installed at intermediate stations on unelectrified lines.

Vivarail is likely to install a Fast Charge system at a UK station in the next few months.

These are my thoughts about charging trains at various stations.

Penzance station

This Google Map shows Penzance station.

Penzance would be an ideal station to fully charge the trains, before they ran East.

  • The station has four long platforms.
  • There appears to be plenty of space just to the East of the station.
  • Penzance TMD is nearby.

This picture shows Platform 4, which is on the seaward side of the station. The train in the platform is one of GWR’s Castles.

It is partly outside the main station, so might be very suitable to charge a train.

If trials were being performed to Penzance, it appears that the station would be a superb choice to charge trains.

My only worry, is would the location have enough power to charge the trains?

Plymouth Station

This Google Map shows Plymouth station.

It is another spacious station with six platforms.

Chargers could be installed as needed for both expresses and local trains.

A Zero-Carbon Devon and Cornwall

If the battery trains perform as expected, I can see the Devon and Cornwall area becoming a low if not zero carbon railway by the end of this decade.

  • The Castles would be retired.
  • They would be replaced by battery electric trains.
  • Charging would be available on all platforms at Penzance, Plymouth and possible some other intermediate stations and those on some branch lines.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt tourism.


December 28, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,


  1. The VivaRail system needs 3rd rail and 4th rail shoes and its has a relatively lightweight battery system compared to what an IET would. Presumably the battery packs would be a substitute for the engines so that would need shoegear on every motor car and some reasonable accuracy in where you stop the train but will one set of shoegear suffice to support levels of current needed for rapid recharge? I reckon they will need double shoegear and this will need to be retractable so a fair amount of gubbins needed on the underframe to support this as well as having to be interlocked with train management system software. I suspect Hitachis initial offering will be a 25kV powered to avoid this level of modification and wouldn’t be surprised that an OLE system will be seen as the most sensible means to provide recharging. This can be easily provided now that static frequency converters have been approved for connection at DNO 33kV system.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | December 28, 2020 | Reply

    • Network Rail have said, that they will accept the Vivarail system as an interim standard. Overhead wire in a station would work, but the Heritage and Health and Safety lobbies don’t like it. Think what happened at that bridge in Oxfordshire, where Network Rail needed to replace it to get the wires underneath.

      There’s a lot more to Vivarail’s system, than anybody thinks.

      I also think ordinary third rail, that is only switched on, when a train is on the top is a viable alternative.

      Note that third rail and Vivarail’s system are compatible with solar panels, as all can work in DC

      Comment by AnonW | December 28, 2020 | Reply

  2. […] I talk about charging the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train in Charging The Batteries On An Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train. […]

    Pingback by Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20% « The Anonymous Widower | November 26, 2021 | Reply

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