IPEMU trains with “batteries included” – could serve Penarth

It’s emerged that hybrid battery-powered alternatives are being considered for the electrification of the Valley Lines rail services – which run to Penarth.

New IPEMU trains [Independently Powered Electric Multiple Units]   – which are powered by lithium iron magnesium phosphate battery technology – are being considered as an alternative to conventional electric units – and could reduce the huge cost of completely electrifying the Valley Line services – currently run by Arriva Trains.

Trains have little room to spare underneath the Stanwell Road Bridge

One of the problems with electrifying services to Penarth is the lack of headroom on some bridges – particularly the Stanwell Road bridge which only has a few inches of clearance for the current ageing fleet of diesel trains.

Installing electrification would involve the extremely costly closure and re-build of the Stanwell Road Bridge or somehow reducing the track level to increase clearance underneath the bridge. Other options are to use train units which have various forms of intermittent on-board independent power.

The IPEMU  trains can run on electrified  and non electrified lines and – like some cars – have hybrid propulsion systems in which the traction batteries are automatically re-charged every time the brakes are applied. The units can also plug-in for charging from the mains whilst they are waiting at stations.

The units are being designed to “fill gaps” in the rail network where full electrification hasn’t – or can’t be – economically installed .


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  1. E Vole says:

    As usual something is going to be hard and expensive. “I know lets cut corners and it cost us more in the long run.”

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Will do nothing for the toxic borderline danger level exhaust fumes on Windsor Road.or Cardiff Road Dinas Powys.
      However it is a start but as the 89- 92 -93- 94-95 will continue belching forth Diesel Fumes instead of switching to Battery Power and the proposed Barrage Flyer- Penarth to Roath Lock Inter-City Diesel Express soon to join them.-
      This should reduce pollution outside Cogan and other Vale Schools by a massive 0.00001%

  2. JTR69 says:

    This is definitely the way forward. Quicker, cleaner and greener.

  3. Michael Mason says:

    Extend Dingle Road station up to the Victoria bridge in Grove Place and terminate the trains there. This will give direct access to Windsor Road, allow the cutting between Grove Place and Stanwell to be used as a much needed car park and provide a development opportunity for the old Penarth station and track.

    • snoggerdog says:

      thinking outside the box mr mason.

    • Penileaks says:

      I did suggest that the area of the cutting be used a few years back, but my idea was to bridge over the line to keep it level with the surrounding roads and therefore provide much more parking space than just in the cutting itself and instead of having to raise the bridges to accommodate electrified trains, bring back a steam engine just for the run from Cardiff Central to Penarth, it would do wonders for the tourist trade.
      As for the re-development of Penarth railway station, be careful what you wish for, as a great block of social housing might be what you get !

  4. AK says:

    Ideal for Penarth, because it will be able to ‘coast’ and recharge downhill from Penarth to Cogan (just like my own hybrid car), and the same again downhill from Bargoed at the other end.

    Hybrids are the future !

  5. Peter Church says:

    We apologise for the delayed start of the 14:32 train from Penarth to Rhymney.
    This is due to the driver forgetting to fully charge the batteries it in the morning, if any customers have fully charged smart phones can they make their way to the drivers cab please.

  6. David Chorley says:

    Of course they *could use 3rd rail electricity as seen all over the soth east of England

  7. Dave says:

    It will be a good few years before anything happens. The franchise has got to be awarded in a years time and then ordering trains takes about 2 years. As for electrification think of a number. I am sure they will get there in the end but don’t hold your breath. The old pacer units might be retro fitted with teleport devices before they sort all the bridges………

    • snoggerdog says:

      what about awarding the franchise to british rail,oh hang on that wouldnt work theyre british.

  8. penarthblog says:

    When I look at other cities around the world, Dortmund, Strasbourg, Milan or maybe even Denver, I get the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that the UK pays lip service to public transport. It’s common, in many parts of the world for transport networks to be integrated both in terms of timetabling and fare structures and they include buses, light and heavy rail, ferries and in many instances, free cycle hire. Meanwhile we plod along with stories and comments like the ones here.

  9. AK says:

    Cardiff City Centre around Central Station seems to be nothing but buses, taxis and buidling works at the moment – public transport nightmares!

Comments are closed.