Environment and Sustainability, Passenger Rail

Adelaide’s trains move towards a greener future

hybrid energy

South Australia’s public transport system is taking another step towards becoming greener and more energy efficient, with hybrid energy technologies being adopted for more than half of the existing fleet of diesel trains. 

Forty-five of the state’s 70 diesel rail cars will be upgraded with hybrid energy storage and recovery systems, as part of a $10 million 2021-22 State Budget initiative. It is aimed at reducing the fleet’s fuel consumption, noise, vibration and diesel emissions. 

The hybrid vehicles are an important step toward a greener public transport system, minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said. 

“The Marshall Liberal government is committed to providing an efficient, effective and greener public transport system,” Wingard said. 

“We also want to provide the next generation of school students with a cleaner and greener public transport experience, especially as Year 7 transitions into public high schools from next year. 

The new fleet of hybrid energy trains will help cater for the increased commuter demand at public high schools, minister for Education John Gardner said. 

“Next year South Australian Year 7 students will finally benefit from moving to high school – where they will access the specialist subject teachers and learning environments that the National Year 7 curriculum is designed for,” Gardner said. 

“It’s an exciting time for public education in our state and this is yet another milestone in the transition of Year 7 into high school – a move that will bring us in line with the rest of the nation and help drive our students to be the best they can be for South Australia’s future.” 

Young people are increasingly interested in reducing their environmental footprint and living more sustainably, member for Elder Carolyn Power said. 

“Our delivery of hybrid electric public transport options for school students demonstrates our commitment to joining them on this journey and working towards a greener future,” Power said. 

The hybrid energy systems fitted to our diesel trains will enable excess energy to be recovered while the train is braking, to be stored in batteries for later use. 

“This will improve reliability and reduce operating costs, while also resulting in a cleaner, more attractive service to passengers by eliminating diesel fumes when the trains are sitting undercover in Adelaide Railway Station,” Wingard said. 

“Fuel costs will be reduced by up to 20 per cent, with better fuel efficiency resulting in savings in the order of $1.3 million per year. Operational costs are expected to be reduced by $4 million over the remaining service life of the fleet.” 

The Department for Infrastructure and Transport owns and manages a fleet of 70 diesel railcars and 22 three-car electric multiple unit (EMU) trains, consisting of 66 railcars. 

A further 12 EMU, consisting of 36 railcars, are currently in production to enable fully electric operations on all the Seaford, Tonsley and Gawler Lines. 

These 12 new EMUs will be introduced into service on the Gawler line progressively from early 2022. 

Future network improvements will include exploring the use of hydrogen, electric and hybrid engines. 

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