THE first diesel-battery hybrid train in the Chiltern Railways fleet made its passenger debut on July 21 when it carried invited guests from London Marylebone to Bicester Village.  

A two-car class 168 operated by Chiltern Railways and branded HybridFLEX has been converted in a project with Rolls-Royce and rolling stock owner Porterbrook. 

Rolls-Royce has provided a hybrid powerpack for the train that reduced fuel consumption, meaning CO₂ emissions drop by up to 25%, Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 70% and particulate emissions by more than 90% compared with the diesel engine it replaces. The train will enter full passenger service from September. 

“We need to modernise Chiltern again and this exciting use of new technology in an older train is a potentially very significant opportunity to help us decarbonise and improve our customer experience,” says Chiltern Railways managing director, Mr Richard Allan. 

“This is a great example of how innovation and enterprise can help us reach our ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050,” says rail minister, Mr Chris Heaton-Harris.  

The operator uses an entirely diesel-only fleet with an average age of 25 years. Britain has legally mandated achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.