Decarbonising High-Speed Bi-Mode Railway Vehicles through Optimal Power Control

Decarbonising High-Speed Bi-Mode Railway Vehicles through Optimal Power Control

Loughborough University

With support from Angel Trains, GWR and Chiltern


The project aim is to quantify the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of a hybrid-electric high-speed railway vehicle with optimised control of its power sources, compared to both the current control system and a conventional diesel railway vehicle.



Will Midgley, Loughborough University

How would you describe your project in one Tweet (i.e. 280 characters)?
"Bi-mode trains can run on electricity from overhead lines or from an onboard diesel engine. Advanced control methods will reduce the carbon dioxide generated by bi-mode trains and result in more efficient use of energy on part-electrified routes."

What are the benefits for industry, within in the context of the wider decarbonisation landscape?  
"Electrification has been proven to be the best way to decarbonise rail transport. However, this is costly, and recent electrification plans have been scaled back or cancelled. Bi-mode trains help to bridge this electrification gap by running on electricity when under wires and switching to diesel when not under wires. This project will reduce the fuel usage of bi-mode trains when running in diesel-only mode, which in turn will reduce their CO2 emissions and save the operators money."

What are the key areas of the team's expertise, particularly in terms of cross-sector skills transfer?
"Will has experience in the automotive sector, modelling and controlling a new type of hybrid vehicle. These skills are being brought across to the rail sector to help with modelling the vehicle, and with developing optimal controllers to achieve this reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions.

Tim has extensive experience in the rail industry. His knowledge of the behaviour and properties of rail vehicles is proving invaluable to this project.

Precious has extensive electric machine modelling experience, and this project is relying on her knowledge and modelling skills for the electric components.

Nabilah has a long history of rail vehicle modelling and is bringing her skills and knowledge in this area to the modelling phase of the project.

Pete has worked on high-level control of aerospace products and is transferring these skills to the rail domain.

Chris is a world-class control engineer who has previously worked in the automotive industry. He will transfer his control and modelling skills from the automotive sector to this rail-based project."

The team (from left to right): Will Midgley, Tim Harrison, Nabilah Farhat, Pete Hubbard, Roger Goodall and Chris Ward, Loughborough University

Team members
Job title and organisation
Dr Will Midgley
Loughborough University
  • Decarbonisation of transport
  • Control of mechatronic systems
Dr Chris Ward
Senior Lecturer
Loughborough University
  • Automotive control systems
  • Control of mechatronic systems
Dr Peter Hubbard
Loughborough University
  • Hardware-in-the-loop design and control
  • Design and control of mechatronic systems
Dr Tim Harrison
Senior Research Associate
Loughborough University
  • Rail engineering
  • Mechatronic system design
  • Experimental equipment development
Precious Kaijuka
Research Associate
Loughborough University
  • System modelling
  • Actuator redundancy modelling
  • Hardware-in-the-loop testing
Prof Roger Goodall
Loughborough University
  • Maglev trains
  • Controller designs
Dr Nabilah Farhat
Research Associate
Loughborough University
  • Controller design
  • Vehicle modelling
  • Model validation
David Bridges
Product Development Manager
Angel Trains
  • Decarbonisation of rail transport
  • Hybrid trains

Reports and Research in Brief