New £1.7m Mobile Rail Charging Facility for Long Marston

Porterbrook has agreed a £1.7m deal with Siemen’s Mobility to purchase an innovative Rail Charging Converter (RCC) for Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre.

The new technology makes battery charging and 25kV power supply possible in areas of the UK railway where overhead line equipment is not currently available. This latest investment in the site will play a key part in the comprehensive track and power upgrades being undertaken to enhance its long-term testing capabilities.

Porterbrook’s Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire comprises 20km of track for railway testing, engineering and storage.

Rob Morris, Joint CEO at Siemens Mobility said: “This is a great opportunity for the UK rail network. We all know rail is the greenest form of transport. Our Rail Charging Converter, delivered here in the UK, can help transform journeys for passengers by supporting trains to use clean power in the form of battery or electric.”

Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook said: “This innovative technology will provide a permanent traction power solution to Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre. It is the perfect site to use the RCC, which can help the UK railway to extend cleaner battery EMU operation across the network.”

The original development of the Siemens Mobility’s Rail Charging Converter (RCC) was supported by the Department for Transport through Innovate UK’s First of a Kind programme.

The team will install a novel charging solution which was designed to enable charging of trains with batteries, fed from existing standard local power supply cables.

The modular and containerised system uses power electronics to provide a fully compliant, standard connection between modern three wire electricity grid and the single wire railway.

The converter essentially reduces the electrification infrastructure needed by being able to plug into existing power cables and deliver the ideal power supply for trains.

Compatible with all overhead line equipment powered trains, the small, low-cost design enables the removal of diesel passenger train operation on routes without continuous electrification.