Hitachi ABB and Zenobe team up to enable battery-powered trains


Hitachi ABB Power Grids has teamed up with battery storage outfit Zenobe to use battery power to energise overhead lines at train depots and on sections of track when maintenance is taking place.

The batteries are coupled with static frequency convertors (SFCs) and have been used at the Potteric Carr site on the East Coast Mainline. While that is the first time the technologies have been used on the UK rail network, SFCs are widely used in Europe and worldwide, according to country MD for Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Ian Funnell.

Zenobe founding director James Basden said the firm is “committed to owning and operating battery systems on the traction power system and so bring both new third party investment to support the electrification of the rail network.”


  1. This is not about battery powered trains as the headline suggests, but about maintaining the overhead catenary wires power supply with batteries during some maintenance procedures. Battery powered trains are not likely to be viable with present technology as their energy density is too low, so hydrogen fuel cell trains are a better choice and are running passenger commuter services in Germany and the Netherlands. It would be good to see our diesel powered trains converted to hydrogen on lines that are not electrified. The technology exists in the Hydroflex and Alstom Breeze conversions; just waiting for the money.


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