Great Wester Railway (GWR) initiated a fast-charge battery trial earlier this week.

Specialists have been running successful tests, examining the compatibility of the fast-charge technology with the Class 230 battery train.

As operations start, hope grows for the technology's potential deployment on the UK’s approximately 2,000 miles of branch lines in the future.

The technology aims to offer a reliable solution for battery-operated trains, aligning with the government's goal to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Oxford Mail: GWR managing director Mark HopwoodGWR managing director Mark Hopwood (Image: GWR)

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: "We want GWR to be at the forefront of the railway’s commitment to phase out diesel-only traction by 2040.

"This is why we took on the challenge and are taking an industry-leading approach in not only battery train operation, but the development of the fast-charge system."

Oxford Mail: Network Rail industry programme director for the Thames Valley, Jo GrewNetwork Rail industry programme director for the Thames Valley, Jo Grew (Image: GWR)

Network Rail industry programme director for the Thames Valley, Jo Grew, said: "This is a crucial technology that if successful could pave the way for deploying across branch lines around the country, enabling the rail industry to hit our decarbonisation targets."

The non-passenger battery train will be running alongside regular passenger services.

The technology will not require overhead electric wiring, thereby saving considerable expenses and landscape impacts, with the train charging for about 3.5 minutes at West Ealing before continuing its journey.

Rail minister Huw Merriman added: "We're ambitious about making the railways even more sustainable and this trial, backed by Government funding, could pave the way for greener journeys for millions of passengers."