5G-Enabled HydroFLEX Train Connects to COP26

Icomera and its design and engineering division, dg8, are supporting Network Rail and Porterbrook in showcasing the ground-breaking HydroFLEX train at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

The HydroFLEX project involves the conversion of an existing Class 319 train, fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell, giving it the ability to run autonomously on hydrogen power on non-electrified routes. HydroFLEX is expected to play a key role in decarbonising the British railway network, by helping to replace diesel-only trains by 2040.

dg8 has been responsible for the train’s mechanical and electrical installation design, including how best to integrate key components such as the hydrogen fuel tanks, fuel cell and battery module.

In addition, the train has been converted to include an ‘onboard boardroom’ to COP26, giving invited guests the chance to work with the conference while travelling on the train.

The interior design of the onboard boardroom was also provided by dg8 and the 5G Passenger Wi-Fi service will be available to those travelling in the converted vehicles, supported by the Icomera X5 mobile connectivity and applications gateway.

The ability to work productively while travelling has long been seen as a driving force behind the shift to more environmentally sustainable forms of transport. Now, as the recent pandemic has accelerated the work from home transition, the availability of Wi-Fi on public transport will support flexible working hours and locations. There will be a shift in attitudes from viewing the office as a working space, to viewing it as a meeting space. If a passenger’s commute can contribute towards their working day, and not disrupt it, then public transport will be the obvious and most effective modal choice for those journeys, while also easing the congestion of traditional peak travel hours.

Mark Hoptroff, Director of dg8 said, “We are proud to be part of this collaboration to deliver one of the best fully realised examples of how rail transport could operate in the future.”

Peter Kingsland, SVP Icomera UK added “Icomera and dg8 as a partnership are able to design, install and manage cutting-edge solutions in both new and retro fitted rolling stock, addressing the digital needs of the contemporary passenger and the climate challenges facing wider society.