G-volution, an SME specialising in the development and application of dual fuel engine technology that allows co-combustion of diesel and a secondary fuel, wanted to pivot their product offering from trucks to trains. With no previous experience of the UK rail industry, they approached Pragmatex to help them enter the market. When Pragmatex started working with G-volution in 2019 they had already successfully secured innovation funding from the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) to develop the technology for passenger rail applications. The project would develop the technology and deploy it in passenger service on one of Grand Central’s vehicles running between Bradford and London Kings Cross. This represented a significant undertaking for G-volution to secure the necessary standards, engineering and safety approvals for something which had never been attempted before – a true world first.
Pragmatex provided project management services, technology development consultancy services and market entry advice to G-volution. The project included a comprehensive design for a dual fuel (Liquified Natural Gas and Diesel) retrofit modification and trial of the train on a route between Bradford and London Kings Cross. Pragmatex led the project, chaired project meetings and reported progress to RSSB. Pragmatex also provided advice on securing the necessary standards compliance and safety approvals and led the management of the project hazard record and hazard mitigation work. Pragmatex assisted G-volution with stakeholder engagement – setting up meetings with key stakeholders, including the Office of Rail and Road and the Department for Transport. Pragmatex were also instrumental in helping G-volution secure funding for a parallel project to evolve the technology for freight applications, securing funding from Innovate UK and working with Network Rail to convert a freight locomotive.
The project successfully concluded with all necessary safety and engineering approvals secured. The dual fuel train entered passenger service in September 2021 – beginning six months of trial operation. Pragmatex are continuing to work with G-volution as they evolve their business in developing green transport technologies in the UK and overseas.