Train leasing company Eversholt Rail and Vivarail are to develop the Class 321 ‘Renatus’ EMU fleet with battery power and range extension.
The 30-strong fleet received AC traction motors, air-conditioning and an upgraded interior, with the programme completed in 2019. They are currently in service with Greater Anglia but are due to be replaced by Alstom Class 720 EMUs.
Eversholt and Vivarail believe the class has the right characteristics, fleet size and availability for conversion to a Battery Electric Multiple Unit.
The aim is to develop a design which can operate on battery power for up to 30 miles, which would enable the trains to operate on non-electrified or partly electrified routes to aid decarbonisation of the rail network. They say a number of opportunities have been identified to deploy such trains.
Technical and safety case development will continue throughout 2022 alongside a market engagement exercise to assess the viability of potential routes. This latter will decide whether investments in the trains will be made.