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General railway discussions

rbt

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It would totally make sense to be able to use these as DPU's. And then if you could actually distribute power to an adjacent locomotive that would be even better. So that you could "bank" power while going downhill and use it going uphill.

I presume they'll be mostly used for yard movements for the next 5 years; lots of stop/start and never far from the charging point.
 
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roger1818

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I presume they'll be mostly used for yard movements for the next 5 years; lots of stop/start and never far from the charging point.

Can you provide any references to back that up? Everything I have read about Wabtec’s FLXdrive locomotive indicates that it is designed for road freight use by operating in a hybrid consist with a pair of diesel electric locomotives on either side. The battery can be changed either by plugging in when stopped or by using regenerative breaking.

 

Bordercollie

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Can you provide any references to back that up? Everything I have read about Wabtec’s FLXdrive locomotive indicates that it is designed for road freight use by operating in a hybrid consist with a pair of diesel electric locomotives on either side. The battery can be changed either by plugging in when stopped or by using regenerative breaking.

I never said that it can charge on either side. I said it would be beneficial if it could.
 

crs1026

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^The original post indicated that CN has earmarked this unit for the Bessemer and Lake Erie, a CN-owned shortline in Ohio/Pennsylvania.

In other words, it's as far from the center of CN operations as, say, Vancouver Island.

And, it came about mostly because of a grant from the State of Pennsylvania.

It will be an interesting test, and may lead to something down the road ... but hardly something CN appears to have much investment in, beyond the PR value.

- Paul
 

rbt

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Can you provide any references to back that up? Everything I have read about Wabtec’s FLXdrive locomotive indicates that it is designed for road freight use by operating in a hybrid consist with a pair of diesel electric locomotives on either side. The battery can be changed either by plugging in when stopped or by using regenerative breaking.


Regenerative braking is the big energy savings, and you don't use that cruising along at 45mph, you use it when stopping shortly after starting. Second, installing 1MW charging stations (for a 10 hour charge time) isn't cheap. They're not going to put them in every 700 miles across Canada when they have less than a handful of engines.

I readily admit I have little familiarity with freight railway operations, but my fiscal self would be looking for very short runs with lots of stop/starts.
 

crs1026

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Regenerative braking is the big energy savings, and you don't use that cruising along at 45mph, you use it when stopping shortly after starting. Second, installing 1MW charging stations (for a 10 hour charge time) isn't cheap. They're not going to put them in every 700 miles across Canada when they have less than a handful of engines.

I readily admit I have little familiarity with freight railway operations, but my fiscal self would be looking for very short runs with lots of stop/starts.

Regen opportunities are significant even on a nonstop run, because tracks are seldom flat and braking is used in many places to govern speed - a train going full speed into a dip will gain speed very quickly unless some form of braking is applied. And then, it needs new energy added to go up the next grade. As well, with so much of the rail system being single track, even priority trains do have to slow down and stop to pass opposing movements.
Currently the railways have no choice but to waste huge amount of energy (and produce huge amiunts of carbon) that could be reclaimed - until now, the only option has been to string catenary, which has been too costly to justify.
So battery power has considerable promise… but it’s too soon to say there is a solution. Until there is much more intensive testing of ready for production locomotives, it’s still a matter of first proof of concept and then demonstration of ready to implement solutions.
The Wabco unit is still a very early design, Depending on how world dynamics evolve, it may take a long time for the stars to align. we are still at wait and watch mode in many ways.

- Paul
 
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drum118

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crs1026

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Could this becoming to NA?? That is big change for Europe freight cars. Base on the length of NA trains, a lot of testing require.

Voith and PJ Monitoring to develop automatic coupler


It's certainly a lot easier with shorter trains as used in Eurpoe, but the principles will eventually leak over to North America and train length really isn't an obstacle. This kind of development is long overdue, but the necessary conservatism of the industry (given that the solution will have to apply across the entire network) plus the technical challenges involved, plus the investment required, don't argue for anything quick.

The article implies that it could be a decade before the solution is ready for "sharing". Perhaps other competitors are developing their own systems and might try to get there first.

Well worth watching!

- Paul
 

AHK

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Regen opportunities are significant even on a nonstop run, because tracks are seldom flat and braking is used in many places to govern speed - a train going full speed into a dip will gain speed very quickly unless some form of braking is applied. And then, it needs new energy added to go up the next grade. As well, with so much of the rail system being single track, even priority trains do have to slow down and stop to pass opposing movements.
Currently the railways have no choice but to waste huge amount of energy (and produce huge amiunts of carbon) that could be reclaimed - until now, the only option has been to string catenary, which has been too costly to justify.
So battery power has considerable promise… but it’s too soon to say there is a solution. Until there is much more intensive testing of ready for production locomotives, it’s still a matter of first proof of concept and then demonstration of ready to implement solutions.
The Wabco unit is still a very early design, Depending on how world dynamics evolve, it may take a long time for the stars to align. we are still at wait and watch mode in many ways.

- Paul

Question - for a typical long haul freight train - whether container, bulk commodities, or general freight, if the locomotives are equipped with regenerative braking systems and the freight cars themselves are not, how much of a train's the kinetic energy would be recovered during braking? Would the amount of energy being recovered even be material?
 

roger1818

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Question - for a typical long haul freight train - whether container, bulk commodities, or general freight, if the locomotives are equipped with regenerative braking systems and the freight cars themselves are not, how much of a train's the kinetic energy would be recovered during braking? Would the amount of energy being recovered even be material?

If the locomotives have enough traction to accelerate the train, they have enough traction to decelerate the train at the same rate. Unless they need to stop the train quickly, the regenerative breaking could do most of the speed modulation, especially if automation is used to proactively adjust the regeneration, rather than doing it reactively (the computer could easily be programmed to know the grade and speed limits up ahead as well as the length and mass of the train).
 

drum118

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It's certainly a lot easier with shorter trains as used in Eurpoe, but the principles will eventually leak over to North America and train length really isn't an obstacle. This kind of development is long overdue, but the necessary conservatism of the industry (given that the solution will have to apply across the entire network) plus the technical challenges involved, plus the investment required, don't argue for anything quick.

The article implies that it could be a decade before the solution is ready for "sharing". Perhaps other competitors are developing their own systems and might try to get there first.

Well worth watching!

- Paul
When I first saw a freight train in Europe, was taken back on so many things not seen in NA and behind the times. Couplers was the first thing follow by 2 wheels and short cars opposite to passenger trains.

Newer cars today are meeting NA standards, except for couplers.

Given the fact that a few NA rail equipment companies own freight manufacture companies in Europe these days, they will be working closely on the design and development to be use in NA down the road. Testing them on 40 car trains in Europe is a step, but still doesn't meet NA load standards let alone 250 car trains.,

It will save live and reduce the lost of fingers or hands that takes place with current NA couplers today.
 

crs1026

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Question - for a typical long haul freight train - whether container, bulk commodities, or general freight, if the locomotives are equipped with regenerative braking systems and the freight cars themselves are not, how much of a train's the kinetic energy would be recovered during braking? Would the amount of energy being recovered even be material?

If you like math, see here which models a real life scenario.

Bottom line: energy savings can be up to nearly 60%, with carbon saved also.

There are lots of variables - including whether the Reclaimed energy can be redirected to another load. That’s what makes the battery so attractive, because the energy can be stored, and you don’t have to send it many miles back down the transmission line to where Hydro or another train needs it. The need for such a long transmission network is what has stood in the way of rail electrification on this continent.

- Paul
 
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crs1026

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It will save live and reduce the lost of fingers or hands that takes place with current NA couplers today.

A smart-train that can integrate braking, coupling/uncoupling, and add new forms of equipment monitoring will certainly be much safer and cheaper to operate.

I don’t see length as the big obstacle - the components will handle the drawbar forces. What will be interesting is how to energise and motorise all the railcar-mounted devices that are operated by hand to day as trains are built and disassembled. And how to digitise some of the things that are done by eye today, such as aligning couplers, confirming pins are up/down, confirming good joints and separations, opening/closing angle cocks, and setting/releasing handbrakes. These are not low-energy mechanical operations! And how to make these components reliable and maintenance free. (Perhaps the savings would offset a much more demanding approach to maintenance and state of good repair, which the railways don’t even attempt today).

An integrated solution is mandatory…. no point in automating the coupling if the air brake system isn’t automated at the same time. But, the Westinghouse brake, while incredibly clever, sorely needs to be replaced with a better system that gives more protection against runaways, spurious emergency stops (which can cause derailments), and mitigates slack action better. So a huge opportunity.

There is a huge logistical issue too, in that there has to be enough equipment equipped to be operable…. or a huge backwards compatibility design effort is needed. Equipping the fleet gradually with a goal of reaching 100% capability is a 40-year proposition, and until the new tech can function, there is no ROI. (A lot like having one burned out bulb on a string of Christmas lights…. all it takes is one gap….)

- Paul
 
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