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GO Transit Electrification (Metrolinx, Proposed)

ssiguy2

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OK now we have battery on top of hydrail and catenary
I'm glade you think so but I never said that.There is no such thing as a perfect solution. One of the drawbacks of battery trains is how often you have to replace the batteries and the cost. The distance it can travel without a full recharge is also an issue as well as how long it takes to recharge the train although a ReBaar type system would go a long way to relieving that.

As far as this idea that some of you have of battery trains being revolutionary, you need to get out more. Battery trains have been around for a century...…………….there is absolutely, positively nothing revolutionary or even novel about them. Battery trains are the same as they have always been and have proven themselves to be efficient and safe. The ONLY difference between older battery ones and the new ones is that the batteries have improved immensely. This means that now they are actually more useful for true commuter/suburban needs.

Most systems , like the new ones built by Bombardier, Stadler, and coming soon Siemens, are dual-mode...…......they can run on both catenary and battery alone. The Auckland system is opening this year, Stadler just got a contract last month for 55 FLIRT battery trains for Germany, Austria is opening several battery lines this year, Britain has already started testing it's new battery trains on regular track for deployment in Anglia, and Ireland's DART announced last month that it is buying 600 carriages to battery and catenary trains to replace the diesels they run now.
 

Rainforest

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GO RER doesn't need battery everywhere but you can significantly reduce the capital cost if you can skip running catenary under a number of bridges and around Union Station. Bombardier MITRAC components (including battery) would be suitable for ~1km gaps in catenary and is deployed in dozens of locations.
I'm not an expert, hence will defer the actual judgement to the experts, but from the sound of it the combination of catenary in most places with battery power in selected spots should be very appealing:
- Solves the mileage problem that battery-only trains might have. The battery might only be needed for 15-30 min at a time, and then it will be recharged while traveling the next catenary-powered section.
- Seamlessly supports less frequent branches off the trunk line, those branches might not have any catenary but will still benefit from the trunk line's catenary.
- If need be, the orignal no-catenary sections can be fitted with catenary at a later point.
 

ssiguy2

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A ReeBaar system at stations makes perfect sense and is used im many places already for electric buses...………...you "gas up" at every short stop instead of a long one at one particular stop. Even regular catenary wires just at the stations themselves would do the trick. These are essentially just good old fashioned EMUs that store more of their energy on board but that's about the only difference.

The issue now is that Metrolinx has not decided on a technology but rather is leaving that up 100% to the bidder...…….an incredibly stupid move. A private business is going to be looking at short-term expenses and not long term needs. ML should have dictated the technology and train types long ago and then put out the bid but that would have required ML to actually make a executive decision something it has proven itself unable to do.
 

jje1000

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I'm not an expert, hence will defer the actual judgement to the experts, but from the sound of it the combination of catenary in most places with battery power in selected spots should be very appealing:
- Solves the mileage problem that battery-only trains might have. The battery might only be needed for 15-30 min at a time, and then it will be recharged while traveling the next catenary-powered section.
- Seamlessly supports less frequent branches off the trunk line, those branches might not have any catenary but will still benefit from the trunk line's catenary.
- If need be, the orignal no-catenary sections can be fitted with catenary at a later point.
It definitely would be a more pragmatic approach than forcing centenary across the entire line, but I wonder- wouldn't battery requirements also make the trainsets heavier?
 

rbt

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wouldn't battery requirements also make the trainsets heavier?
Definitely. It's a trade of higher operating costs for both lower capital costs and potentially a shorter launch timeframe (the GO RER tender financially rewards an earlier service start, though we don't know how much).

Saving $1B in capital expense is roughly break-even with a $40M/year added operating expense. Bean counters armed with engineer estimates will ultimately make the decision.
 

ssiguy2

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Batteries certainly add to the weight but fewer and smaller catenary components on the train itself do help to offset a lot of this. Batteries are also developing at a dizzying pace and so the longevity, weight, and size of the batteries will only improve.

The problem here is that battery maybe the best option {or even hydrogen for that matter} but if none of the bidders decide to go with anything but catenary then it doesn't matter. I honestly don't see any advantages catenary has over battery as both are basically the same technology and the only difference now is that due to the vast improvements in battery technology, they have become far more practical. This however could mean very little to any bidders if the province is going to pay for the catenary infrastructure anyway...……………...private bidders are only interested in sheer operation costs.

There is another very distinct advantage that both Hydrail and battery have over catenary...…………..they can be phased-in. The actual infrastructure needed for both technologies is rather simply, easy to install, and vastly cheaper which are amongst their primary advantages and why their usage is becoming more widespread. Catenary, besides being expensive and time consuming to build is also a all-or-nothing kind of service. You have to wait until an entire line is ready to go before any service can begin and for ML that means late 2025 as opposed to both Hydrail and battery which could be plying the rails in less than 2 years. Again a private bidder doesn't care about that as the contract will only begin when all the lines are up and running.
 

Reecemartin

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People tend to always assume that Bombardier Europe products are immediately transferable to NA. Its a whole different set of regs and approvals. Besides, I am highly against betting the future of RER on prototype technology that has had zero revenue service in NA let alone the world. We are in a critical point where we can either make inroads to improving our system or risk delaying to another generation. Catenary is a proven technology that is here for years to come. Save hydro and battery for stub lines or at least when weve established the main core lines.
Bullseye.

Not sure why you're focusing on North America for battery stuff. Battery design and electric motor design does not change with the continent; in fact they're not even railway specific technologies.

That said, bits and pieces of the product line I mentioned is deployed to various scales in 100 cities, including Toronto. The minimal use is for creeping into a station during a power outage but it can be scaled up (or down) through the use of more modules for regular service.

Absolutely no passenger train car in North America is suitable for what Metrolinx has tendered. Whatever we receive will be a custom design.
False . . . Caltrain is getting something that would be perfect for us. So is New Jersey transit (and its even made by Bombardier.)

At this point battery is hardly better than Hydrogen, show me a case where battery trains are deployed running a frequent every 15 minute service with modern bilevel trains, much like hydrogen there are no such systems.

Yes like Hydrogen there are several one-off systems with limited services using the technology, that does not mean it is feasible for us in the next year (its not) which is when the decision has to be made.
 

ssiguy2

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Hydrail or battery could turn out to be the best options due to vastly lower initial infrastructure costs, could be up and running 4 years earlier, far easier expandability of the network, and no visual pollution but unfortunately the P3 company doesn't have to worry about such matters.

There is one very easy way to basically put this entire debate to bed...…………..finding out what the 4 short-listed companies are proposing in terms of technology and trains.
 

Reecemartin

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Hydrail or battery could turn out to be the best options due to vastly lower initial infrastructure costs, could be up and running 4 years earlier, far easier expandability of the network, and no visual pollution but unfortunately the P3 company doesn't have to worry about such matters.

There is one very easy way to basically put this entire debate to bed...…………..finding out what the 4 short-listed companies are proposing in terms of technology and trains.
The thing is, the trains do not exist. I'd be happy to be proven wrong . . .
 

BhadPetrov

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Hydrail or battery could turn out to be the best options due to vastly lower initial infrastructure costs, could be up and running 4 years earlier, far easier expandability of the network
You sound like Elon musk trying to convince people that hyperloop is a technology that exists this century.
 

ssiguy2

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You people really are bizarre so let me explain this very clearly so you will be able to follow along..........

Battery trains ARE, in everyway, shape, and form, catenary trains. I'll say that again so you can all keep up.........battery trains and catenary trains are the EXACT same thing. Battery trains use wires to run the trains just like ordinary catenary ones do. The ONLY difference is that battery trains have bigger and more advanced batteries which mean they can run the propulsion between the stations and then recharge at each station using those same catenary wires.

How any of you could view this as revolutionary is completely beyond me.
 

Reecemartin

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By this logic Hybrid Buses and Electric Buses are the exact same thing, why is it then that we have hundreds of Hybrid buses and like 3 electric buses?

1. The battery technology isn't trivial as you seem to be suggesting
2. The integration of the batteries into existing vehicles is not trivial
 

Streety McCarface

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You people really are bizarre so let me explain this very clearly so you will be able to follow along..........

Battery trains ARE, in everyway, shape, and form, catenary trains. I'll say that again so you can all keep up.........battery trains and catenary trains are the EXACT same thing. Battery trains use wires to run the trains just like ordinary catenary ones do. The ONLY difference is that battery trains have bigger and more advanced batteries which mean they can run the propulsion between the stations and then recharge at each station using those same catenary wires.

How any of you could view this as revolutionary is completely beyond me.
I'm pretty sure the hybrid buses are lemons (especially the older buses) and that we're just testing out battery buses now. We genuinely don't know how the battery-operated buses will fare in Toronto. This is how we do things, we don't procure a huge order for an unproven technology without testing it and ensuring its longevity first, because it may have awful consequences for us in the future.

There are far more challenges when using battery-operated trains than you seem to think, you're not just installing batteries into a train and calling it a battery train. Batteries themselves are extremely heavy and take up a lot of space, and you require 25 tonnes of batteries to run a train for 2 hrs with a factor of safety of 2. EMUs already distribute the weight of the locomotive among its cars (in the form of traction motors and additional electric infrastructure), so this is 25 tones of additional weight added to the train. If we extend the use of the locomotive to all-day without charging (which is extremely impractical), then we'd require 200 additional tonnes of dead weight — the equivalent mass of 4 EMUs. This has to be factored into rail wear (which is close to negligible but not quite there), additional capacity requirements, electricity usage (as if batteries weren't inefficient enough), and cost. There's also the additional cost of this type of rolling stock, finding a suitable vendor, and charging infrastructure. Battery charging itself is very challenging in cold weather climates, and it may not be practical for such a large train here in Toronto. When you have additional weight you require heavier traction motors (further increasing cost).

Lifecycle costs are a whole different issue. Electric infrastructure can last almost a century before needing a full replacement, while a battery-operated train may only last 20 years. Batteries for a train that would run all day would cost an additional 4 million dollars at current prices, assuming cost decreases don't occur faster than inflation, that could cost GO transit an additional 1.8 billion dollars on batteries alone. (I didn't include maintenance for either because it's too hard to estimate with the resources I currently have, though I'd expect battery maintenance to be far more expensive).

If you're talking about just throwing batteries on the existing trains and calling it a day, that's not really possible. Again, you'd be adding about 17 tonnes of batteries per biLevel coach. That is enough to warrant a complete structural strengthening for the entire coach. This doesn't even include the additional weight of electric traction motors, inverters, pantographs, and other electric train components. You'd have to start from scratch. If you're willing to find a train manufacturer that's willing to build at least 320 heavy rail, battery-operated vehicles that conform to Transport Canada standards, are not prohibitively expensive and have the capacity required to run our transit system, please, be my guest.

Battery-operated trains may have the potential to run on spur lines (maybe a future Bolton line, maybe it can be run through the Georgetown spur and rejoin electrified rail along the Guelph spur, maybe to Bowmanville, possibly to Niagara Falls), but there are far too many impracticalities and unknowns to justify investing in them right now, especially when the technology doesn't fit the needs of our system.
 

kEiThZ

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Any bidder would be nuts to discard the hundreds of existing carriages. The easiest path then might be to string OCS and then deploy electric locomotives. With EMUs only coming on a few lines.
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I'm sure every bidder is gaming this out. I would bet not one has proposed battery or hydrogen trains. Most bidders aren't in the habit of proposing high risk solutions that could get them booted quick.
 
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ssiguy2

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StreetyMcFarce...………………..You are absolutely right, there are downsides to battery trains including, as you mentioned, the weight of the batteries and their replacement costs. This is similar to the downside of catenary trains of massive infrastructure costs, having to repair/replace that infrastructure due to periodic weather damage, far longer implementation times, clearance issues and visual pollution and the resulting public pushback. There is no such thing as a perfect solution because if there was we {and hundreds of different cities around the world} wouldn't be having this conversation.

What irks me is when people say it is an unproven technology. There is absolutely nothing unproven about it as they have been plying the rails for a century now with no problems. The ONLY difference now is that the batteries have improved so much, so fast that they are now practical for mass transit. This is no different from battery cars being used 20 years ago, they worked but due to the massive weight, very long recharging times, very limited mileage, and no where to recharge them they simply weren't optional for the masses.

This is not about embracing an unproven technology but rather just making use of an improved one. There is nothing revolutionary about battery trains and even saying they are novel is pushing it but now, for the first time, they are however practical.
 
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