Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR) have announced new plans for hybrid diesel locomotives to operate on its line, as it aims to address climate concerns.
Operating a service for sight-seeing tourists and locals up to the summit of the UK’s second-largest peak, more than 12 million passengers have set off from Llanberis station along the route.
SMR recently announced its ambitious plan to replace its existing diesel locomotives with new hybrid diesel rolling stock, with each hybrid engine including an 8-tonne battery pack and a diesel generator to recharge batteries in service.
Further fixed battery chargers for overnight charging of the units are also planned.
Plans are yet to be finalised, but SMR plan to operate at Llanberis entirely on battery power, operate the generator charging on the uphill journey, turn off the generator on the downhill journey and use the regenerative braking to recharge the battery packs.
Senior engineering manager at SMR, Mike Robertshaw, explained: “We believe that this will save fuel – approximately 70l per locomotive per day in peak season. But more importantly, there are significant pollution reductions: noise, CO2 down 25%, NOx down 96%, HC down 85% and particulate matter down 98%.
“Also, the drivers’ cabs are dated and do not meet current standards for ergonomics, noise levels or comfort.
“The whole ethos for SMR is to preserve the railway for the future, to deliver improvements and to ensure that the business is viable for the future.
“For most people walking up a mountain like Snowdon is a challenge. A walk to the summit and back can take six to eight hours, whereas the train takes two and a half hours. SMR makes it possible for all people to reach the summit.”