UK Rail Line Electrified With Direct Solar Power

By Gary Cutlack on at

A small part of the national rail infrastructure near Aldershot is running on solar energy, provided not through grid arbitration and offsetting, but directly sourced from a trackside installation of panels that cut out the electricity grid entirely. It's the first step towards running trains on electricity generated specifically for the job.

The current installation of 100 or so panels generates just 30kW of power, but that's enough for the local signalling and lighting needs, as long as workmen don't start boiling any kettles. Trains running on this Wessex route leave from London Waterloo, connecting London to the south west commuter belt, so a tiny, tiny little bit of green energy has been helping trundle people into work from today, when the system went live.

Network Rail's local director Stuart Kistruck said: "We have ambitions to roll this technology out further across the network should this demonstrator project prove successful, so we can deliver a greener, better railway for our passengers and the wider public." [Guardian]