Unipart Group, 27 August 2021

Unipart Rail and McCulloch Group launch the TRT-e

Unipart Rail and McCulloch Group have officially launched the first prototype of the new industry-changing TRT-e, a zero-emissions version of the Trac Rail Transposer, the safest and most versatile rail handling machine on the infrastructure.

This first-of-its-kind solution uses an electric motor and battery power pack instead of the traditional diesel engine, and is run via an electronic control system with remote condition monitoring enabling it to be worked more extensively on the rail infrastructure where diesel emissions and noise pollution are a major issue.

The existing diesel-powered TRT is already a low-carbon, low-emission system, being an EU Tier 4 final engine, however the TRT-e will eliminate up to 80kg of CO2 on a typical operating shift, equating to an annual saving of 650,000kg of CO2 within McCulloch’s UK operations.

The launch took place during demonstration events held last month at the Network Rail RIDC (Rail Innovation and Development Centre) in Tuxford. During the event, customers had the opportunity to see the TRT-e demonstrated live within a test track environment which demonstrated the capabilities of the equipment and the enhanced benefits in terms of environmental impacts and carbon footprint reduction. 

The funding for the TRT-e project was provided by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK as part of the 2020 First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, which has awarded funding to innovative projects that will make railways cleaner, greener, and more passenger-friendly.

Unipart Rail was selected as the winner in the Environmental sustainability category, receiving a share of the £9.4 million awarded to 25 pioneering projects.

Manufactured at the Unipart Rail site in Crewe, the TRT-e has been developed in partnership with expert partners including McCulloch Group, Hyperbat, Williams Advanced Engineering, Advanced Electric Machines, and SR Technology.

This pioneering project supports the Unipart Group objective to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, with the strategic intent of becoming net zero before 2050.

David Girdler, Chief Executive Officer, McCulloch Group commented: “McCulloch’s innovative and patented methodology of lifting and manipulating rail within the footprint of the TRT machine optimises efficiency, requiring far lower power requirements when compared to equivalent traditional rail plant which is often converted construction plant. This principle has enabled the development of a battery equivalent – the TRTe – which builds on the hugely successful and already efficient diesel powered TRT without compromising on operational performance or reliability.  

“At McCulloch Group we are driven by operational and environmental considerations and the development of the TRTe will further revolutionise trackwork efficiency in an even more sustainable manner.

“We are excited to be putting this technology into production, along with the opportunity to transfer this innovative power source to all of our equipment solutions in the near future.”  

Neil McNicholas, Managing Director, Unipart Rail commented: “The collaboration between Unipart Rail and McCulloch, and our combined knowledge, technical expertise, and manufacturing capability, provides us with the opportunity to offer a unique solution to customers. This enables them to reduce their operational costs, enhance safety, and improve productivity.

“The TRT-e is a first-of-its-kind solution for the rail industry and will have a huge impact on our customers’ operations. We look forward to introducing this technology across the wider range of McCulloch products in the future, in order to support customers in their journey to implement sustainable solutions and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Original article: https://www.unipart.com/trt-e-launch-unipart-rail-and-mcculloch-group/

Partner Information (source: Rail Forum Midlands)

Hyperbat is a joint venture between Unipart and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and was formed to manufacture innovative high voltage battery solutions for specialist applications. WAE have designed and manufactured a ‘one-off’ battery bespoke for this application and Hyperbat are now looking to commercialise a production version going forward.

Advanced Electric Machines
AEM is a design and manufacture specialist of EV motors. The TRT-e motor is believed to be the world’s most sustainable motor for electric vehicles. It is completely free of rare earth magnets, yet able to offer all of the performance and efficiency benefits and more of a conventional permanent magnet motor, without their considerable environmental drawbacks.

SR Technology Innovations
SR Technology Innovations was brought into the project to develop the control system, sensors and monitoring. Remote data monitoring has been built into the control system and display screens added to the front of the machine and the remote handset that will show basic data.