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Author Topic: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia]  (Read 2653 times)
ChrisB
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« on: November 08, 2017, 09:57:44 am »

Quote
Following six years of planning, restoration of a 1949 heritage train and 3km of railway
line, the construction of two platforms and a train shed and the upcycling to produce the
world’s first solar train, the two carriage rail motor has today arrived in Byron Bay.

The monumental project comes from not-for-profit heritage rail organisation Byron Bay
Railroad Company. Their Byron Bay train will take locals and visitors between Byron
township and the burgeoning North Beach precinct incorporating the Byron Arts Estate,
the Sunrise residential community and Elements of Byron resort. The 3km journey along
the coastal track will cost just $3 for adults with some concessions provided for children.



This is another big milestone for the project and we’re just glad to see our beautiful train in its new Byron home. Even more so, we’re really looking forward to running first
passenger services and sharing this experience with residents and visitors soon.

The train, which has been fully refurbished in its heritage colours, seats 100 passengers
with additional room for standing passengers and luggage including prams and bicycles.
While there are some trains throughout the world with technology that allows them to
run parts of the train like lights and air conditioning on solar power, this is the first real train to run fully on power from the sun.

“This is an exciting world first, powering a train with solar power, day, night and in every type of weather” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council. “It shows Australia’s fantastic sunshine can be harnessed in smart ways not just to power
our homes and businesses, but to address another pressing problem – cutting emissions
in the transportation sector.”

Byron Bay Railroad Company is hopeful that passenger services will commence pre
Christmas. In the meantime they will begin training the nineteen new local staff,
undertaking test runs and commissioning the new solar equipment.

“Solar doesn’t stand still” said Dan Cass, Strategist at The Australia Institute. “It has been growing exponentially for a decade and more solar PV generation capacity is being
installed than any other technology internationally. This train demonstrates that
Australian solar scientists and their innovations are changing the world”.

For more information visit www.byronbaytrain.com.au
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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 12:19:47 pm »

Interesting, but not perhaps as exciting as it appears initially.
It would seem to be a primarily battery powered train, with a limited contribution from train mounted PV modules.
The train is plugged into the mains at the depot to charge. The fact that the depot is equipped with a large roof mounted, grid tied PV array is good for sustainability, but nothing remarkable these days.

I expect to see more use of battery powered trains for branch or secondary routes, and perhaps also for short sections of main lines that are problematic to electrify, such as the sea wall at Dawlish.

I have previously suggested that PV modules be fitted to lightly used rolling stock on heritage lines, but that is to keep seldom used batteries in good condition, not to propel a train.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 10:38:27 am »

The Byron Bay Railroad Company has now carried over 100,000 passengers between North Beach and Byron Beach. Trains run hourly from 10.00 to 17.00, taking about 10 minutes for the 3km trip; speeds are similar to those achieved on a British heritage railway. The route is mostly very straight and very flat.

The company describes its operations as 'carbon positive'. Solar panels on their operational buildings produce up to 30kW, and those on the roof of the train can provide an additional 6.5kW; there is a significant energy surplus. The train also recovers about 25% of its energy through regenerative braking. The 77kWh traction battery holds sufficient energy for 12-15 runs without recharging.

The service is provided by a single two-car NSW class 600/700 unit, consisting of railmotor 661 and trailer 726.  One of the Cummins NT855-R2 diesel engines has been removed from 661 to make space for the battery; the other is retained as a backup.

These units may be particularly suitable for this mode of operation: they were built at Chullora Workshops (which had expertise in aircraft fabrication having built Bristol Beaufort bombers during the war) and consist of an aluminium body bolted to a lightweight steel frame.

Could this technology, or a version of it, be used in Britain?
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2019, 11:07:34 am »

For those who would care to see it in operation
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1SafVI7vKs4.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2019, 12:37:27 pm »

Could this technology, or a version of it, be used in Britain?

Although since converted to 3rd rail, the locomotives on the Hythe Pier railway were originally battery operated, and the line is straight and flat like the Australian one ... the running time is not great - plenty of opportunity to recharge at either end of the pier.

One even wonders if the boat could charge at both piers ... similar energy surplus once the train has run as there is in Australia?   The only concern is the short days in winter and the fact it's a commuter service that runs in the dark; perhaps add a generator from wind, water or wave power under the pier too??
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2019, 12:56:39 pm »

That's the beauty of electric traction - once you've adopted it, the next question is not 'whether' you decarbonise it, but 'how'...
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broadgage
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2019, 10:56:31 am »

Yes, similar technology could be used in the UK.
I am a little doubtful about fitting solar panels to an existing train as cost, weight, and complication is thereby added and the output limited by shading and often not facing the sun.

A battery train charged from the mains might be better. Offseting the electricity used for charging by a large grid tied solar array on the roofs of depots or stations is better still.
A wind turbine is a worthwhile addition in a suitably windy location.
Ideally enough renewable electricity should be produced to offset ALL the electricity used by the transport undertaking, not just that used for traction, but also the electricity used for stations, depots, signalling and other purposes.

Similar arguments apply to ferries or other ships that make frequent short voyages.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2019, 11:15:26 am »

Yes, similar technology could be used in the UK.
I am a little doubtful about fitting solar panels to an existing train as cost, weight, and complication is thereby added and the output limited by shading and often not facing the sun.

A battery train charged from the mains might be better. Offseting the electricity used for charging by a large grid tied solar array on the roofs of depots or stations is better still.
A wind turbine is a worthwhile addition in a suitably windy location.
Ideally enough renewable electricity should be produced to offset ALL the electricity used by the transport undertaking, not just that used for traction, but also the electricity used for stations, depots, signalling and other purposes.

Similar arguments apply to ferries or other ships that make frequent short voyages.

Actually I was being rather vague when I asked whether similar tech could be used here! What I meant was that I was wondering if any first-generation (sic) DMUs, as used on some heritage lines, would be particularly suited to conversion to battery-electric. Doubtless the carbon emissions of steam engines don't make that much difference in the round, but it can only be a matter of time before people start to point fingers and ask questions...
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onthecushions
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2019, 11:26:07 am »


The Class 503 unit at Margate would be ideal. It weighs in at only 77t for all three cars.

OTC
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stuving
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2019, 11:42:18 am »

Actually I was being rather vague when I asked whether similar tech could be used here! What I meant was that I was wondering if any first-generation (sic) DMUs, as used on some heritage lines, would be particularly suited to conversion to battery-electric. Doubtless the carbon emissions of steam engines don't make that much difference in the round, but it can only be a matter of time before people start to point fingers and ask questions...

Well, there is one at the Royal Deeside Railway that needs no conversion - though it is currently listed as "Electrically out of service".
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2019, 11:49:54 am »

Well, there is one at the Royal Deeside Railway...

Oh yes... handsome brute it is too!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2019, 01:13:06 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
Celestial
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2019, 12:06:24 pm »

I'm guessing that as Byron Bay is a similar latitude to the Canaries that both the strength of the sun and amount of it is slightly more than we might get in the UK.  I certainly wouldn't suggest to TfW that they rely on it for the Valley Lines electrification.
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broadgage
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2019, 01:12:22 pm »

Whilst traction motors and batteries COULD be fitted to a heritage DMU, this would in most cases need a lot of re-design as the transmission is mechanical.

It might be easier to start with an old DC EMU, or a slightly more modern DMU that already has electric transmission.

Yet another possibility would be a battery loco hauling heritage coaches. There is growing interest in use of same for shunting. A heritage line would be an interesting demonstration of any new or proposed battery locomotive.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2019, 01:18:13 pm »

I'm guessing that as Byron Bay is a similar latitude to the Canaries that both the strength of the sun and amount of it is slightly more than we might get in the UK.  I certainly wouldn't suggest to TfW that they rely on it for the Valley Lines electrification.

Maybe solar wouldn't work in the Valleys, but I'm told it can be quite windy atop the surrounding hills...
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bignosemac
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2019, 04:04:54 pm »

I'm guessing that as Byron Bay is a similar latitude to the Canaries that both the strength of the sun and amount of it is slightly more than we might get in the UK.  I certainly wouldn't suggest to TfW that they rely on it for the Valley Lines electrification.

Maybe solar wouldn't work in the Valleys, but I'm told it can be quite windy atop the surrounding hills...

So, sail powered trains then?
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