CZECH-based Railway Research Institute (Výzkumný Ústav Železniční – VUZ) plans to install its own sources of clean energy and environmentally-friendly production of green hydrogen at its Velim test centre. VUZ will also upgrade tracks to allow it to test autonomous trains.

“Over the next five years we are preparing fundamental investments that should reach a total of €24m,” says VUZ CEO Mr Martin Bělčík. “Much of this amount will go into services offered on the smaller test track, as well as into technologies that will help us further reduce our emissions.”

The most significant investments include equipping the shorter test track with ETCS, which is already fitted to the larger 13.276km 230km/h test track. VUZ is also preparing a study for the testing of autonomous rail vehicles, especially for urban and suburban systems. It says there are no plans to increase speeds on the larger test track.

VUZ is also planning a series of investments over the next five years designed to reduce the centre’s carbon footprint.

“Reducing our carbon footprint is absolutely fundamental for us,” says Bělčík, who said that it formed part of VUZ’s philosophy for future development. “We already guarantee our customers that the electricity at our facility comes solely from renewable resources. We are currently preparing a project for our own non-fossil fuel sources of energy to cover not only our own consumption, but also the output of green hydrogen.”