Battery Powered Trains

Client objective

Hitachi Rail introduced one of the world’s first battery fleets in Japan in 2016, building on their innovative bi-mode fleets operating across the UK, and they want to bring this new generation of battery trains to Europe. To support the promotion of these new trains, we were commissioned to create a two-minute animation to explain its new features and benefits. Some of which include:

  • Travelling up to 90+ kilometres just on batteries
  • Recharging whilst in motion under the wires
  • Existing diesel engines can be removed and replaced with batteries
  • Trains will be able to enter, alight and leave non-electrified stations in battery mode
  • Battery solution complements electrification minimising potential infrastructure costs

What we did

Hitachi provided us with a script and we storyboarded an engaging film to support the various key business objectives. We wanted to communicate a fluid seamless journey from start to finish in order to highlight how accessible and versatile the trains are. We were also able to acquire the CAD files of the trains to ensure accurate representation of their construction. From there we followed a fairly typical animation pipeline. The final film was built using the 3D animation software package Maya, rendered in Arnold and then composited in Nuke.

Two 3D animated Hitachi Rail battery powered trains driving through the countryside
two stripes

Battery power can provide the bridging technology, and in time, replace diesel trains more and more as battery range increases. It would also allow the Government to be more ambitious in achieving the ‘no diesel by 2040’ goal, according to Hitachi. By 2021 there will be 286 Hitachi trains carrying passengers across the UK. This is approximately 11 per cent of the UK’s total trains.

If you are unfamiliar with the animation production process, this blog post What to expect when you work on an animation with Sliced Bread might serve to help you, it provides a complete guide on how we typically approach our projects, from concept to final delivery. It also provides information on how we structure our fees and plan the production schedule.

If you would like to know more about how engaging and immersive animation can help your marketing communications? Drop us an email at

We create bespoke explainer animations, virtual reality experiences, and e-learning content for effective and engaging communication campaigns.

If you have a project you would like to discuss, feel free to get in touch via the link below.

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3D animated train at a station with people waiting to board standing on the platform, with the text 'Reducing diesel emissions and minimising noise'
3D Animated Hitachi Rail Battery train travelling past some cottages
Birdseye shot of the top of a 3D animated Hitachi Rail Battery train
3D Animated Train travelling on a track with the text Recharging whilst in motion under the wires