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Question: How will Exeter's first train under electric power reach there?  (Voting closed: July 06, 2020, 08:02:57 am)
25kv overhead from London - 11 (24.4%)
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Author Topic: Electric trains to Exeter? How do you see it happening?  (Read 9685 times)
Electric train
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« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2020, 07:10:44 am »

A bit complex and techie to explain in a post here, sufficed to say lessons have been learned from the engineering of GWEP (Great Western Electrification Program)

Lets hope the teams get the chance to stay together to use that learning rather than have a gap then have to learn it all over again. 

That is certainly part of the message Andrew Haines is sending to the DfT» (Department for Transport - about), the forming a new electrification construction team from scratch after a few years break will add costs and delays as it did with GWEP
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« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2020, 09:31:02 am »


That is certainly part of the message Andrew Haines is sending to the DfT» (Department for Transport - about), the forming a new electrification construction team from scratch after a few years break will add costs and delays as it did with GWEP (Great Western Electrification Program)

It would make perfect sense to keep a permanent team, or teams, with all the kit in full working order, to do a rolling national programme of electrification. Suddenly. most of the cost becomes part of the routine budget, and slowly but surely, we have an electric railway.
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« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2020, 10:33:29 am »

I wonder if this would be the answer - or at least the first answer likely to happen, though the timescale of any retrofit programme is not clear from this press release from Hitachi Rail:
Quote
Press release - 06 July 2020 07:30
Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive agreement opens way for battery trains across Britain

Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive agreement opens way for battery trains across Britain

Hitachi Rail and Hyperdrive Innovation have signed an exclusive agreement to develop battery packs to power zero-emission trains and create a battery hub in the North East.
...

Following on from that announcement earlier this year, Hitachi are now going to put some batteries into some of GWR (Great Western Railway)'s 802s. This was behind this morning's news items, based on this press release from Hitachi:
Quote
Hitachi and Eversholt Rail to develop GWR intercity battery hybrid train ? offering fuel savings of more than 20%
 
  •   Batteries replacing an engine to cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions
  •   First time a modern UK (United Kingdom) intercity train, in passenger service, will use alternative fuel
  •   Tri-mode train can improve air quality and reduce noise across South West route?s non-electrified stations

In a UK-first, Hitachi Rail and Eversholt Rail have signed an exclusive agreement aimed at bringing battery power ? and fuel savings of more than 20% ? to the modern Great Western Railway Intercity Express Trains that carry passengers between Penzance and London.

The 36 longer, faster trains ? with their iconic sleek design ? have already transformed journeys for passengers in south west England, since their introduction by GWR in August 2018. Now the partnership between Hitachi, the train builder and maintainer, and Eversholt Rail, the trains? owner, will develop a plan to install batteries on a modern Intercity Express Train. The trial will demonstrate that the innovation meets passenger service and safety standards.

The line between the South West and London is only partially electrified, with the majority of the 300 mile journey requiring diesel power. The partnership is looking at batteries replacing a diesel engine as a power source on an existing Hitachi-built five-carriage train ? currently known as a bi-mode for its ability to switch seamlessly between electric and diesel power.

Adding a battery creates an electric-diesel-battery hybrid train (tri-mode). On non-electrified sections of the route, the batteries will supplement the power of the engines to reduce fuel usage and carbon emissions by more than 20%. Whereas when travelling in and out of stations and surrounding urban areas, the train would rely on battery power only. This has the benefit of improving air quality and dramatically reduce noise levels, creating a more pleasant environment for passengers and people living nearby.

GWR?s Intercity Express Train fleet currently calls at 15 non-electrified stations on its journey between Penzance and London, all of which could benefit from trains running on battery-only power.

Hitachi Rail will draw upon market-leading expertise in Japan, and the support of its battery partner ? Hyperdrive Innovation. The two North East-based companies reached an agreement in July 2020 to create and develop battery packs for mass production at Hyperdrive?s HYVE facility in Sunderland, the UK?s first independent battery pack manufacturing facility.

The projected improvements in battery technology ? particularly in power output and charge ? create opportunities to replace incrementally more diesel engines on long distance trains. With the ambition to create a fully electric-battery intercity train ? that can travel the full journey between London and Penzance ? by the late 2040s, in line with the UK?s 2050 net zero emissions target.

Installing battery technology on trains can complement electrification and helps to improve the business case for upgrades that can level-up the South West and provide a low emission alternative to domestic air travel.

That reads as if they plan to do a trial, though perhaps even that depends on a bit of prior work on the batteries.
Just wondering on the technical details. They plan to replace one of the under-floor diesel engines with batteries. I presume that each diesel engine only powers the motors in that carriage. But obviously when the train is running on OLE (Overhead Line Equipment, more often "OHLE"), all motors are powered from the same transformer. So is power in fact shared between driven carriages when running in diesel, and therefore presumably also diesel-battery, mode too?
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« Reply #63 on: December 17, 2020, 10:52:06 am »

Just wondering on the technical details. They plan to replace one of the under-floor diesel engines with batteries. I presume that each diesel engine only powers the motors in that carriage. But obviously when the train is running on OLE (Overhead Line Equipment, more often "OHLE"), all motors are powered from the same transformer. So is power in fact shared between driven carriages when running in diesel, and therefore presumably also diesel-battery, mode too?

I have been wondering that too. I've not found a clear statement on the matter, though.

I have read of a "3 kV DC (Direct Current) bus", taking power from the transformers via AC/DC converters. However, looking at the cables between vehicles, that's not a bus in the normal sense. It must be implemented as relatively low-power links (ca. 600 W), each from one of the two (5-car) or three (9-car) transformers to a motor drive unit.

When running on diesel power, each engine feeds its own motor drive units. If any engines are not running, that will reduce the adhesion significantly, so a way of feeding some power between motor vehicles would make sense. With a true busbar, that would be the obvious thing to do, but with separate links I think you'd have to reconfigure them by switching. I think it's possible, but you'd need to be told - no way to work it out by looking.
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« Reply #64 on: December 17, 2020, 11:33:02 pm »


That is certainly part of the message Andrew Haines is sending to the DfT» (Department for Transport - about), the forming a new electrification construction team from scratch after a few years break will add costs and delays as it did with GWEP (Great Western Electrification Program)

It would make perfect sense to keep a permanent team, or teams, with all the kit in full working order, to do a rolling national programme of electrification. Suddenly. most of the cost becomes part of the routine budget, and slowly but surely, we have an electric railway.

Agree, a steady rolling programe of electrification is IMHO (in my humble opinion) the way forward. Hopefully the work would become quicker, cheaper, or better in other ways.
Priority should be given to the most heavily used routes, and to shorter lines that connect therewith.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2020, 07:25:09 am »

Just wondering on the technical details. They plan to replace one of the under-floor diesel engines with batteries. I presume that each diesel engine only powers the motors in that carriage. But obviously when the train is running on OLE (Overhead Line Equipment, more often "OHLE"), all motors are powered from the same transformer. So is power in fact shared between driven carriages when running in diesel, and therefore presumably also diesel-battery, mode too?

I have been wondering that too. I've not found a clear statement on the matter, though.

I have read of a "3 kV DC (Direct Current) bus", taking power from the transformers via AC/DC converters. However, looking at the cables between vehicles, that's not a bus in the normal sense. It must be implemented as relatively low-power links (ca. 600 W), each from one of the two (5-car) or three (9-car) transformers to a motor drive unit.

When running on diesel power, each engine feeds its own motor drive units. If any engines are not running, that will reduce the adhesion significantly, so a way of feeding some power between motor vehicles would make sense. With a true busbar, that would be the obvious thing to do, but with separate links I think you'd have to reconfigure them by switching. I think it's possible, but you'd need to be told - no way to work it out by looking.

Electrical power "bus" on rolling stock is quite common.  For example Class 800 have 25kV bus along the entire unit, Class 700 have two 400V 3 phase bus one for each half of the train with a bus coupler to join the 2 if required.

A common 3kV dc bus is possible, its likely to be a common feature on some European trains, the prime mover (diesel or hydrogen) would generate at a standard 3 ph 400V feeding into the power bus via switch mode power supply and onto the power bus; traction power, battery charging and domestic power can be tapped off of the power bus via inverters
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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2020, 10:39:14 am »

Electrical power "bus" on rolling stock is quite common.  For example Class 800 have 25kV bus along the entire unit, Class 700 have two 400V 3 phase bus one for each half of the train with a bus coupler to join the 2 if required.

A common 3kV dc bus is possible, its likely to be a common feature on some European trains, the prime mover (diesel or hydrogen) would generate at a standard 3 ph 400V feeding into the power bus via switch mode power supply and onto the power bus; traction power, battery charging and domestic power can be tapped off of the power bus via inverters

What I have found out about 800/802s, from Hitachi or other reliable sources, is:
  • There is a fixed link - bus of you prefer - at 25 kV from the two pantographs (only one of which will be up) to the two or three transformers. Presumbaly there's VCB (Vacuum Circuit Breaker - electrification) for each transformer.
  • The alternators are rated at 700 kW/1900 rpm/1950 V/214 A.
  • The big cables (single conductors) between body ends are marked 1800/3000V-150mm2. And there are lots of them at the ends of the unit, fewer as you go inwards. 
  • I can't see the cables would be paralleled, especially given the number of joints in them. Hence the idea that they feed point-point between modules on vehicles. Power could be fed at either 1800V AC or 3000 V DC (Direct Current), given the information above.
  • One Hitachi diagram I'm not convinced by - it may be a non-technical illustration, since done for a semi-technical article in Hitachi Review. It shows each motor vehicle with an auxiliary power (240 kVA)/battery charger unit feeding a 400V 3-phase bus, and a combined drive for four motors (226 kW continuous each), which sounds OK. It also shows the alternator feeding the same converter as the 25 kV transformer, which implies that the feed between vehicles is at ca. 2 kV AC.
  • The fix (or half of it) for the EMI problem on the ECML (East Coast Main Line) (not the axle counter one) was to add inductance. Roger Ford describes this as "between the transformer and the traction converter under each Driving Pantograph Transformer cars". That implies there is a converter on each DPT (which in turn implies one on the TPS too), but then again it could refer to the converters being on the MEx vehicles.
  • So there's still a question about the power flow topology that's "not proven".
  • None of this relates to 801s, on which one GU has to move the whole train. Whatever its power, it has to feed all motors to get full adhesion, so links have to exist to support that.
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« Reply #67 on: May 24, 2021, 01:24:37 pm »

I was reading an article about the development of aluminium-ion batteries (which I'd never heard of previously).  It appears they have many advantages over lithium-ion ones.

This was the article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2021/05/13/ev-range-breakthrough-as-new-aluminum-ion-battery-charges-60-times-faster-than-lithium-ion/?sh=2bf34746d287

Do our experts on batteries here on the forum think that they have the potential to become game changers in terms of trains, as the author of the article suggests they will be for cars?
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« Reply #68 on: May 24, 2021, 02:21:55 pm »

I was reading an article about the development of aluminium-ion batteries (which I'd never heard of previously).  It appears they have many advantages over lithium-ion ones.

This was the article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2021/05/13/ev-range-breakthrough-as-new-aluminum-ion-battery-charges-60-times-faster-than-lithium-ion/?sh=2bf34746d287

Do our experts on batteries here on the forum think that they have the potential to become game changers in terms of trains, as the author of the article suggests they will be for cars?

It certainly looks a game changer on several counts:

  • it does not use 'exotic metals' such as lithium (bad news for Cornwall?) as it uses commonly occurring materials (aluminium, carbon and urea)
  • it reduces the weight of the battery considerably
  • it can be charged in much less time

However, the article does not have any information on the efficiency. 
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« Reply #69 on: May 24, 2021, 04:42:09 pm »

I am a bit doubtful for two reasons.

Firstly, lithium is more reactive than aluminium and therefore seems likely to have a higher energy density.

Secondly, the claimed much faster charging seems most unlikely in practice due to power availability limits. The larger electric cars have batteries of about 40 Kwh.
These can be slow charged in a day or so from a domestic 13 amp socket, or fast charged from a domestic 32 amp circuit overnight, or very fast charged in much less than hour at some charge points.
Fast charging can use as much as 350 Kw. Faster than that seems unlikely in most cases due to the cost of providing the power.

Moving on to trains, a battery capacity of 1 Mwh has been suggested as a "ball park" figure for a basic battery train. That can be fast charged from existing OHLE in an hour or so, or charged overnight from a 3 phase 415 volt supply.
Charging ten times faster implies a power input of 10 Mw which is beyond the capacity of most existing or likely future OHLE.

And remember that a larger or higher specification battery train might have a battery of SEVERAL Mwh capacity, and that one might need to charge several at the same time.

Battery trains are in my view not optimum for fast or long distance use. More suitable for the Minehead branch and other similar locations, or for short sections of main lines that are problematic to electrify such as Dawlish.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #70 on: May 25, 2021, 06:56:00 am »

I was reading an article about the development of aluminium-ion batteries (which I'd never heard of previously).  It appears they have many advantages over lithium-ion ones.

This was the article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2021/05/13/ev-range-breakthrough-as-new-aluminum-ion-battery-charges-60-times-faster-than-lithium-ion/?sh=2bf34746d287

Do our experts on batteries here on the forum think that they have the potential to become game changers in terms of trains, as the author of the article suggests they will be for cars?

The feasibility work on the proposal to use battery powered trains is the high charge current, an example Ashford - Hastings the charge current at Ashford exceeds the normal traction current and for a longer duration than a pure DC (Direct Current) traction rolling stock.   The duty cycle for traction supplies allow for short duration peak loads with rest time between, battery charging has a high current for a prolonged time especially at a turn around station.

Work is on going to how best to adopt battery powered trains
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