Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Decarbonisation, Passenger Rail, Operations and Maintenance, Rolling Stock, Sustainability

SA hybrid trains set for passengers

hybrid trains

The South Australian Government  has showcased a clean, green public transport future, with hybrid trains and hydrogen buses to join a full-battery electric bus as the latest technology to be trialled across the network.

Initial testing of a prototype hybrid-diesel railcar is progressing well, with a second railcar fitted with a new energy storage and recovery system. These railcars have been coupled together and the testing of the two-car train set is now underway.

This two-car train set is the first of 44 diesel railcars expected to be fitted with the hybrid system, with the trains to run on the Outer Harbor, Grange and Belair lines.

This new system works by storing kinetic energy generated when the train brakes to an onboard battery, converting it into electrical energy to power normal train operations – decreasing stress on the engine and fuel consumption by approximately 16 per cent.

The battery will also be used instead of the diesel engine to supply auxiliary loads (power for lighting and air-conditioning, for example) at the train platform within Adelaide Railway Station to reduce noise, emissions and air pollution.

The first train is expected to be introduced into passenger service in coming weeks.

Installation of the system on the remaining trains will be progressively rolled out, with all trains expected to be in passenger service with the new system by mid-2024.

Once fully installed, Adelaide Metro will save an estimated 2400 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Adelaide Metro is committed to transitioning to a zero-emissions public transport system to support the State Government’s net zero emissions by 2050 target.

The operator also continues to make significant steps towards a zero-emissions future across its bus fleet, with testing of the state’s first full battery electric bus already well underway.

A further five full-battery electric buses are on order, pending the results of this trial.

Meanwhile, a ground-breaking, two-year hydrogen bus trial will involve two vehicles based at the Morphettville bus depot deployed on routes across Adelaide from late August.

In collaboration with Foton Mobility, BOC and H2H Energy, operator Torrens Transit will then begin internal testing of two Foton hydrogen fuel cell buses from the Morphettville depot before being released for operation.

Transport minister Tom Koutsantonis said as well as significantly reducing fuel use and environmental impact, the new hybrid train system offers a better customer experience – particularly at Adelaide Railway Station – where the train engine can remain off, reducing noise and pollution for those on board and in the station.

“This rail trial complements our commitment to embrace hybrid and fully electric solutions on Adelaide’s bus fleet, with South Australia’s first full battery electric bus already being tested, and 24 electric hybrid buses already in operation,” he said.

“The State Government will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to adopt any technology and develop solutions that reduce emissions and provide a superior passenger experience.

“We will leave no stone unturned in the quest to employ cleaner, greener and more efficient technologies across the public transport system that help achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – or even earlier.”