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tpgroup supports the HydroFLEX Train debut at COP26

15 November 2021 | tpgroup

tpgroup is part of a British-based supply chain that has delivered the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train in less than 12-months. The HydroFLEX train was be showcased by rolling stock company Porterbrook, in partnership with Network Rail, at November’s UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow when it made its first passenger journeys.

tpgroup is the Prime contractor for the integrated hydrogen fuel cell system on the HydroFLEX. Our role has covered preliminary consulting work around the system requirements and configuration through to providing the hydrogen fuel cells. We have also designed and manufactured critical electrical components and cabling .for the system. The work has been carried out by specialists within our Atmosphere Management Systems business based in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The programme has seen over £7m invested by Porterbrook to demonstrate how green-hydrogen and innovative-engineering can accelerate the delivery of a greener rail sector. It has also successfully created the UK’s first hydrogen-rail supply chain covering over 30 businesses, many new to rail.

The HydroFLEX train at COP26 included an ‘on-board boardroom’, giving invited special guests the chance to use the train to support the globally significant discussions that will take place in and around the international event.

Jon Constable, Managing Director of tpgroup’s Atmosphere Management Systems business said: “We are proud to be part of this milestone programme that saw the UK’s first hydrogen-ready train showcased at COP26. The success is due to the huge level of commitment across the supply chain and partners to make this happen with Porterbrook’s support. I would also like to pay credit to my team that have worked tirelessly to achieve the tight deadlines.”

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “We are incredibly proud to work alongside some truly great British businesses, whose skills and expertise have helped us take HydroFLEX to COP26. This reflects a high level of collaboration across the private sector which in turn has been supported by our Network Rail and University of Birmingham partners. Seeing HydroFLEX in action in Glasgow was a true milestone moment as we accelerate the rail industry’s journey towards Net Zero.

Notes to Editors

Media Contact

Amanda Fallbrown | phone(0)7747 766446 | email:

About tpgroup
tpgroup delivers consulting services, digital solutions and complex equipment for mission, business and safety critical applications in defence, space and energy sectors.

National infrastructure & security organisations rely on us to solve their most pressing challenges and to transform how they operate in an evolving world – trusting us with their most valued assets.

With more than 400 people in six European countries, we serve global customers through long-term contracts.

tpgroup’s hydrogen capability

is a specialist gas system integrator with over 50-years expertise in creating and operating high performance systems such as electrolysers producing fuel cell grade hydrogen. tpgroup’s digital technologies complement the specialist gas systems by optimising the availability and performance of assets using our Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities to provide decision support, helping to keep systems operational and maximise 

We bring extensive safety-critical asset management experience built within the rigorous and challenging defence environment where reliability is of paramount importance.

About Porterbrook

• Porterbrook owns almost a quarter of the national passenger rail fleet and currently has around 4,000 vehicles on lease or on order. To date we have invested £3bn in new passenger and freight vehicles and are actively looking to invest a further £1bn in UK rail over the coming years
• Engineering excellence is central to our role as a leading railway asset owner and manager. Porterbrook is a delivery partner, supporting improved industry performance and reliability across operations. Our 30 to 35-year whole life asset management approach optimises value to passengers & taxpayers and aims to minimise environmental impact
• We have an established reputation for delivering new technologies, such as battery, hybrid and hydrogen powered trains. These innovations support the government’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050 ambitions, improve air quality, reduce emissions, and enhance network resilience
• In 2020 we introduced HydroFLEX, the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train, in partnership with the University of Birmingham. This innovative train will be showcased at Glasgow in November during COP26
• In collaboration with our industry partners, we project manage the delivery of regular upgrades to our rolling stock fleets. Each year we invest over £150m in our existing assets, supporting nearly 100 UK-based companies and supporting c.7,000 jobs
• Porterbrook employs over 180 people, of which three quarters are engineers and project managers. In addition, 32% of Porterbrook’s workforce is female including a number of our executive team which compares favourably to the UK rail industry average of 16%
• In October 2014, the Porterbrook Group of companies was acquired by a consortium of investors including Alberta Investment Management Corporation (“AIMCo”), Allianz Capital Partners (“ACP”) on behalf of certain insurance companies of the Allianz Group, EDF Invest and a consortium of Utilities Trust of Australia (“UTA”), The Infrastructure Fund (“TIF”) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Pension Fund (“RBS”) 

About HydroFLEX

HydroFLEX is the world’s first train retrofitted to operate under hydrogen power and the first hydrogen-powered train on Britain’s railway. It is capable of drawing power from overhead wires and where these don’t exist, operating in self-powered mode using hydrogen, fuel cells and batteries. 
HydroFLEX is the result of a ground-breaking collaboration between Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham.
• HydroFLEX represents a £7m private sector investment by Porterbrook in a zero-emission alternative to diesel powered trains. 
By retaining the capability of using overhead wires as a power source, HydroFLEX can extend the electrified railway to non-electrified routes but without the need for costly and disruptive infrastructure upgrades.

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