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FirstGroup to trial pioneering technology to reduce train energy consumption
Tuesday 22 January 2008
FirstGroup, the UK’s largest rail operator, announced today that it is to begin trialling ‘Train Energy Management Systems’ (TEMS) which could reduce energy consumption by up to 13% on its Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) fleets.
First will be the first rail company in the UK to undertake such trials. Scheduled to begin in Spring 2008, the trials will last a minimum of two years. 15 EMUs from First Capital Connect and ten from First ScotRail have been earmarked for trial and evaluation. The cost of the purchase and management of the TEMS will be around £500,000.
The TEMS can be described as a railway energy meter as Bruno Cussigh, Vice President of Verona based FAR Systems SpA, the supplier of the TEMS, explains: “We have developed a meter that allows rail operators to accurately determine the energy used by trains when stabled, whether overnight on depot or during station layover. This data will allow operators to develop eco-friendly stabling practices which can reduce energy wastage. In addition, the TEMS will also monitor the energy usage of driving the train. Combining date, time and geographical location, operators can scientifically develop eco-friendly driving styles which can minimise energy usage for any given route.”
FirstGroup’s Rail Technical Director, John Hawkins, said: “FirstGroup is committed to reducing our carbon dioxide emissions from the rail division by 20% by 2020. We are looking at, and have implemented a number of initiatives to reach that ambitious target.”
He continued: “I am very excited to be working with FAR Systems SpA and in particular its innovative and pioneering Train Energy Management System. Although trials have yet to begin, we are optimistic that the system can help us deliver a 7-8% reduction in energy from improving stabling procedures and a further 3-5% from the development of eco-friendly driving techniques.
“Currently our EMU fleets account for 36% of the total FirstGroup rail fleet. This amounts to 26 million train miles per annum. Clearly, there is great potential to make a real difference in terms of energy reduction - indeed should other operators follow suit the energy saving could be very significant.”
FirstGroup and FAR Systems SpA officially signed the contract sealing delivery of the TEMS at today’s Future Fuels Rail Traction Summit in London. Bruno Cussigh added: “We are delighted to be working with the UK’s largest rail operator. We are very proud that our product can help First reduce its carbon emissions and augment its reputation for innovation and sustainability.”