South West Trains has confirmed that one of its trains is running on fuel made from a mixture of diesel, soya beans and rapeseed oil in a bid to examine possible alternative fuels for the future.
The biodiesel mix is being trialled on Class 159 unit 007, which runs on the Exeter-Salisbury-London Waterloo route.
The trial started in April and will run until the end of the year. During this period, researchers will look at the performance of the train and examine whether the fuel affects its speed, engine or emissions.
Neil Ovenden, senior project engineer, confirmed that so far the fuel has made no difference whatsoever to the performance of the train.
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) led the way on the trial, which is being monitored by a team at Salisbury’s Traincare Depot.
Ian Papworth, director of engineering at ATOC, said: ‘ATOC is keen to explore and understand the potential of this fuel and discover its advantages and disadvantages on behalf of its members, so that they can make informed decisions on their fuel strategy.
‘Widespread adoption will depend on a number of factors such as pricing, taxation and, of course, the current debate on the overall sustainability of biofuel use.’