A trial of battery-powered passenger trains on a shuttle service in West London could start next year, replacing the diesel trains used on the line at the moment.
Great Western Railway (GWR) is seeking a supplier for the trial to prove the capability of a battery-powered train, supported by fast charging equipment, on the West Ealing to Greenford service. That line is currently served by a 2-car Class 165 Networker diesel passenger trains, and as the line is unlikely to be electrified any time soon, to reduce pollution, GWR is looking to test battery trains instead.
The short 12-minute shuttle trips gives a half-hourly service including turn-around times at each end, which would also be used for fast-charging the batteries in the train in the platform bay at West Ealing. A half-hourly service between current first and last trains on the Greenford branch is 33 round trips, a total distance of 165 miles (264km) per day.
If an agreement is signed, then the trial of the new trains will last around a year, starting April 2022, with possible extensions to March 2025.
There are a number of battery-powered trains suppliers, but a curious twist could be if Vivarail wins the contract — as their trains are based on decommissioned District line trains. If that happens, then Greenford station, which is on the Central line, would also be served by ex-District line trains.