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VIA Rail

kEiThZ

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The biggest challenge for VIA over the next 30 years will not be the introduction of HFR as that's really not much of an accomplishment but rather the financial and logistical challenges of de-carbonising the entire network.

Not even close.

1) There's no mandate to decarbonize rail in Canada. This is entirely dependent on technology and economics.

2) VIA doesn't control most of its track. So it can't make policies on decarbonization until the track owners do.

3) With the vast majority of passenger miles being generated in the Corridor, realistically, this is the only portion that will matter for a while. Maybe if Calgary-Edmonton gets built....

4) Time is on VIA's side. Technology is only getting better and cheaper. And the carbon tax is only going to make driving and flying more expensive. VIA can wait for a more appropriate tipping point. Be that in 10, 20 or 30 years.
 

afransen

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It seems to me that batteries and hydrogen will always perform poorly compared to catenary because of the weight penalty - they need to carry their fuel with them while trains powered by wires don't. So even with batteries getting lighter and cheaper over time, my guess is that for low traffic routes we could see hydrogen or batteries but for high demand lines catenary will always be preferred.

Cars are another story. They need to carry their "fuel" with them so batteries make a lot more sense.
Hydrogen is high opex, batteries are high capex. So with sufficient traffic on a corridor, catenary makes sense to achieve opex savings or capex savings.
 

crs1026

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From Gof C data

Putting freight and (especially) passengers on diesel rail is far more carbon-reducing than looking for carbon reductions from the trains themselves.... but only for now.

The economics that may drive trains away from diesel may be regeneration rather than carbon tax, even. I won't digress further. The impact on VIA is, it's just another aspect of being a tenant on the freight railways. And more broadly, one would expect that passenger motive power technology would be an offshoot of whatever freight technology is pursued.... because the economics will be driven by the much larger market for freight locomotives.

- Paul

Screen Shot 2021-01-21 at 11.40.10 AM.png
 
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roger1818

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Hydrogen is high opex, batteries are high capex. So with sufficient traffic on a corridor, catenary makes sense to achieve opex savings or capex savings.

Catenary is also high capex per km where as battery is high capex per locomotive, so the cutoff between the two depends on the distance travelled and frequency of service.
 

Urban Sky

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EMU freight trains? I have never seen such a beast. Freight trains with an electric locomotive sure, but not freight trains without a locomotive but instead each car has an electric motor. Can you provide a picture?
I suspect he means multiple-locomotives, like this one on the Narvik-Lulea line in Sweden/Norway I mentioned recently:
IORE_beim_Torneträsk.jpg

Source: David Gubler via Wikimedia

The only freight multiple unit I’m aware of is the ill-fated “CargoSprinter” DMU:
CargoSprinter_500x496.jpg

Source: German federal ministry for Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)
 

Urban Sky

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Since freight EMU was mentioned:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Railways_HXD2

View attachment 295359

Apparantly able to haul up to 7,000 t and operate down to -40C. Based on Alstom Prima locomotives.
Exactly, electrical multiple-unit freight locomotives exist in countries like Sweden, Russia and China, electrical multiple-unit freight trains (i.e. what @roger1818 referred to with “EMU freight trains”) probably only in Micheal’s unconstrained imagination...
 
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roger1818

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I suspect he means multiple-locomotives, like this one on the Narvik-Lulea line in Sweden/Norway I mentioned recently:
IORE_beim_Torneträsk.jpg

Source: David Gubler via Wikimedia

As you said, that is an example of electrified freight, but it certainly isn't an EMU. The locomotives will have a significant amount of weight added to gain traction, which was my point.
https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IORE_beim_Torneträsk.jpg

Interesting, though I don't see any catenary, so I assume it is a DMU not an EMU. Regardless an interesting vehicle and would be useful for certain applications, especially with severe restrictions on train lengths Europe. I see it working well for running containers back and forth between a port with limited space to a nearby intermodal yard, especially if it could operate autonomously.

Back to talking about VIA Rail
 

Bordercollie

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For something like double stack well cars, there is space at either side of the car where you could put batteries, and then connect all of those batteries in tandem. You could charge the batteries in the cars while braking and then use the power in the batteries to power the locomotive.

The issue would be, maintenance cycling, and crash management. How about a non revenue car like an APU with just batteries or DPU but without the cab?
 

micheal_can

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Not even close.

1) There's no mandate to decarbonize rail in Canada. This is entirely dependent on technology and economics.

2) VIA doesn't control most of its track. So it can't make policies on decarbonization until the track owners do.

3) With the vast majority of passenger miles being generated in the Corridor, realistically, this is the only portion that will matter for a while. Maybe if Calgary-Edmonton gets built....

4) Time is on VIA's side. Technology is only getting better and cheaper. And the carbon tax is only going to make driving and flying more expensive. VIA can wait for a more appropriate tipping point. Be that in 10, 20 or 30 years.

Right now, all of this is correct. However, with the USA back in the Paris Accord, and no real chance a party in Canada will get in without a climate policy, there is the real possibility that we start decarbonizing the rail industry. If Via is smart, when Amtrak has an order, they order a few too.

EMU freight trains? I have never seen such a beast. Freight trains with an electric locomotive sure, but not freight trains without a locomotive but instead each car has an electric motor. Can you provide a picture?
I misunderstood you. I thought you meant replacing the existing diesel electric with full electric. Those exist. Having each car with it's own motor would be problematic, and costly.
 

kEiThZ

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Right now, all of this is correct. However, with the USA back in the Paris Accord, and no real chance a party in Canada will get in without a climate policy, there is the real possibility that we start decarbonizing the rail industry.

1) US policy on climate change is largely irrelevant to Canada. We've been ahead of them the entire time. And we're still ahead of them. You'll note they have neither a national plan to cut emissions or any plans to price carbon. This is not the situation Canada is in.

2) Rail emissions are negligible in both countries. And substantially lower per pax-mile or ton-mile than road or aviation alternatives. So governments will not be focusing on rail first. The primary focus is on cutting road and aviation emissions and miles traveled.

3) Canada has chosen a carbon tax to specifically avoid sectoral mandates. Set the price. Industry and consumers will decide what is the cheapest way to cut emissions. In some cases, shifting to diesel rail would cut emissions and costs.


If Via is smart, when Amtrak has an order, they order a few too.

Amtrak already orders for their electrified corridor. VIA just doesn't because it has no electrified order. Heck, it has no full substantial corridor of its own to even electrify.
 

lenaitch

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For something like double stack well cars, there is space at either side of the car where you could put batteries, and then connect all of those batteries in tandem. You could charge the batteries in the cars while braking and then use the power in the batteries to power the locomotive.

The issue would be, maintenance cycling, and crash management. How about a non revenue car like an APU with just batteries or DPU but without the cab?

I can't comment on whether or not there would be sufficient space on well cars, one problem with distributing power throughout the consist is that the bulk of rolling stock is not owned by the carriers. It would be quite an effort to achieve commonality across a fleet that gets bashed around all sorts of roads across NA and sometimes sits idle for extended periods in obscure locations (although no doubt that carriers would love it as it would shift a lot of the cost away from them).
 

micheal_can

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1) US policy on climate change is largely irrelevant to Canada. We've been ahead of them the entire time.

2) Rail emissions are negligible in both countries. And substantially lower per pax-mil or ton-mile than road or aviation alternatives. So governments will not be focusing on rail first.

3) Canada has chosen a carbon tax to specifically avoid sectoral mandates. Set the price. Industry and consumers will decide what is the cheapest way to cut emissions. In stone cases, shifting to diesel rail would cut emissions and costs.

1) For now. However, if they get going in a big way, this could force us to try to keep up.

2) Rail would be easier than trucks. Think of it another way - low hanging fruit. What could the government mandate to decarbon that would be easier for the industry, trucks or trains? The amount may be low but the optics would be high.

Amtrak already orders for their electrified corridor. VIA just doesn't because it has no electrified order. Heck, it has no full substantial corridor of its own to even electrify.

So, there will never be another order? I know they have ordered various things as they needed to in the past. I am talking about a future order that eventually will happen.
 

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