Tri-Bird Electric Train

Inside the factory making ‘tri-bird’ electric trains that could revolutionize transport in Europe


Choosing to hop on public transport instead of jumping into a private car can help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Imagine this: 1,000 people taking a train instead of each driving their own car. Sounds good, right? However, not all trains are created equal. Trains powered by diesel engines are far from eco-friendly.

Unraveling The Myth: Are All Railways Electrified?

With recent infrastructure investments, you might be thinking, “All our railways must be electrified by now. We don’t need diesel trains anymore.” Well, the reality might surprise you. Only about 60% of Europe’s railways have been modernized and electrified so far. Countries like Italy and Germany have achieved approximately 70% and 50% railway electrification, respectively. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom lags behind with just about 38% electrified railways.

The Challenge of Electrifying All Railways

Electrifying all of Europe’s railways isn’t a quick or easy task. There are still about 4,000km of non-electrified tracks in Italy alone! Fully upgrading European railways could take decades and would cost a huge amount of money. Some smaller regional lines might never see such an investment. So, what’s the solution? Enter Hitachi Rail and their revolutionary tri-brid train: The Masaccio.

Introducing The Masaccio: A Tri-Brid Train Revolution

Hitachi Rail has created the Masaccio, a new kind of train designed to tackle the challenge of using limited infrastructure while reducing emissions. This isn’t your average train – it can be powered by overhead electric lines, a diesel hybrid engine, or a battery! It’s a commuter’s dream, reducing both noise and air pollution.

The Masaccio’s battery is particularly noteworthy. It charges when the train runs on electricity from overhead lines, and it captures energy when the train brakes. The energy that was once wasted as heat is now stored and used to power the train.

How Energy Efficient Is a Tri-Brid Train?

The onboard battery of the Masaccio comes into play in two different situations. First, it can power the train when there are gaps in the electrification, eliminating the need for diesel. Second, it can power the train when it’s pulling into or out of a station, reducing noise and air pollution. Furthermore, the Masaccio’s ability to accelerate faster means quicker journey times.

Since its introduction in Italy, the Masaccio has led to a 50% reduction in emissions. But can this train do even better?

Tri-Brid Train: A Sustainable Solution?

While no solution is perfect, Hitachi has made a conscious effort to learn from past mistakes. Similar to electric cars, the Masaccio train is built with ultra-lightweight metals, meaning it’s no heavier than a regular train even with the added weight of the batteries. Hitachi is also using its resources wisely by redistributing materials across their products, especially crucial minerals like lithium.

Future of Hitachi’s Eco-Trains

Hitachi Rail has big plans for their eco-trains. They’re working on a fully battery-powered train they hope to introduce by 2030. They also plan to retrofit many of their old models to reduce material consumption.

Hitachi even has plans to harness solar power, estimating they can satisfy approximately 70% of their energy needs through solar panels. That would equate to a reduction of around 7,000 tonnes of CO2 per year!

In preparation for future climate changes, Hitachi tests all its trains in a specially built climate chamber. This ensures that regardless of whether temperatures drop to -50C or rise to +40C, their trains will keep running and passengers will stay comfortable.

So next time you see a Masaccio on the tracks, remember the exciting innovation behind its creation and the positive impact it’s making on our environment!

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