Back in March I suggested that high speed battery-electric/diesel trains could be routed from Canberra to Sydney via the exiting line to Sydney Airport. This seemed a little far fetched, but in October 2006 Hitachi announced they are modifying a UK High Speed Train (HST) with their diesel electric system developed in Japan. The XPT trains used in NSW are based on the UK HST, so it should be possible to use the Japanese hybrid technology in Australia.
Hitachi Europe Ltd. today announced the launch of technology that will create Europe's first hybrid high speed train. The technology has been proven under test in Japan to cut fuel bills by up to 20% and harmful emissions by up to 50%. The test train includes a new hybrid traction system (consisting of a battery-assisted diesel electric traction drive) which will be installed into an existing High Speed Train (HST), with the equipment fitted into the front Power Car and a modified Trailer Car. The technology has been developed and tested in Japan since 2003 and is currently in production for a Japanese customer.
Hitachi and its partners Porterbrook Leasing, Network Rail and Brush Traction are aiming to commence trial running of the modified train in April 2007 and on completion of testing the modified train will run in service on the New Measurement Train for a period of six months to prove the benefits of the technology.
Alistair Dormer, General Manager Hitachi Rail Group, commented:
"Long term sustainability is a key requirement for future transportation systems and Hitachi is delighted to be playing a part in developing this new hybrid traction system, which will in time demonstrate significant benefits in reducing the environmental impact of train travel and reducing fuel bills". ...From: Hitachi Announces Launch Of First Energy-saving Hybrid High Speed Train In Europe, Hitatchi Europe Ltd, 12 October 2006