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VIA Rail

afransen

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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 think this is what it would look like. You don't want to worry about maintaining thousands of such cars, and you want to be able to swap the batteries for charging without having to reload the train.
 

roger1818

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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.

The confusion makes sense. While a train with multiple locomotives might sound like it has multiple units, in reality an EMU (or sister DMU) has multiple self propelled carriages instead of one or more locomotives.
 

kEiThZ

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

First, they are not going to "get going in a big way", simply because their political process doesn't allow for that. Republicans would have to agree to passing a carbon tax in Congress. And they'd have to agree to raising it by $10 per year through 2030 to even come near the ballpark to what Canada is doing. And then all of this would have to survive a whole bunch of lawsuits from the states in a Supreme Court dominated by Republicans, a third of whom are Trump appointees. In short, not happening. Rejoining Paris was somewhat symbolic. And all their emissions cuts are mostly going to come from carrots (incentives and infrastructure dollars) than sticks, which means there's a real limit to what can be done.

So yes we'll always be ahead of them. And that's a good thing. It's a way to develop our cleantech sector and sell to them. See GM's recent investment in Ingersoll as an example.

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.

Why would you think rail is easier? There's zero evidence of that. Battery and hydrogen tech will electrify most last mile logistics and substantial portions of trucking in 10-15 years. The tech is still substantially further out on doing that to freight rail. The passenger rail networks that can be electrified in 10-15 years are well on their way to being done.

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

If you're talking about a future in 2-3 decades? Sure. Right now though, it's hard to see any of this in the next 10-15 years. We don't even have an announcement on HFR yet. And when announced, it'll be unelectrified single track for just Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal and Montreal-Quebec. We're a long ways away from doing joint orders with Amtrak on electrified rolling stock. Maybe in the 2040s, when our Chargers and their Avelia Libertys are going on two decades, we will have something to talk about.
 

littlewill1166

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Finally, 2nd class will be tolerable....saves me some money too.

Yeah, I think I'm going to roll the dice on this one/flip a coin. I'm not sure I can stand wearing my home-made cloth mask for 5 hours. :/
I do prefer the train though.
I've been on VIA a bunch of times since the pandemic started for school-work reasons. They've gotten far better since the beginning of the pandemic in terms of service and safety. I am on 71 today in Business Class, there are 5 people in the car total. Meanwhile looking at the trains to Montreal and Ottawa over on the other track, business class was similarity empty. However, they packed all the economy passengers into one car and left two cars empty so that they can have all cars staffed. There was also an unrenovated HEP2 which are the worst since they're old and difficult to properly clean with the cloth seats (don't know why they put that in there when they had renovated ones sitting in the TMC). Nonetheless, there was still empty enough room for Solo travellers to have an empty seat.

Travelling in economy, they were a lot more strict with masks just because there were more people in the car (based on my previous trips). They're a lot looser in business just because you're essentially eating and drinking the entire trip, and there's less people. If you can get a Business "M" fare (lowest and second lowest fare), I'd definitely upgrade to business if you choose VIA.

IMG_20210122_091102.jpgIMG_20210122_082137.jpg
Also, I was the only one in the lounge.

PS, if you have a hoodie with strings on the hood, you could pull on the strings all the way, tie a bow knot, and make a mask out of that. Cheers. 🎉

Evening Update

Train 78

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Water only in the London lounge, no news papers or magazines. Toronto lounge was cold drinks only.
IMG_20210122_194816.jpg
^Dinner
 
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kEiThZ

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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.

Yes and no. Installing catenary would be difficult for VIA. That's true. Fielding BEMUs or maybe even installing battery packs on coaches to feed an electric loco? Not so much of a challenge.
 

roger1818

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Yes and no. Installing catenary would be difficult for VIA. That's true. Fielding BEMUs or maybe even installing battery packs on coaches to feed an electric loco? Not so much of a challenge.

What time frame are you talking about? AFAIK, there aren't currently any BEMUs approved for mainline use in North America. VIA is a small player and unless someone bigger orders some, I don't think any of the manufactures would be willing to make a custom design for such a small order. Also, AFIK, most BEMUs need at least part of the route to be electrified to recharge the batteries.

As for installing battery packs on coaches, unless the coaches were designed to have battery packs installed (which I don't think the Siemen's Venture coaches were designed for), I don't see that as being an easy solution.
 

SunriseChampion

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Travelling in economy, they were a lot more strict with masks just because there were more people in the car (based on my previous trips). They're a lot looser in business just because you're essentially eating and drinking the entire trip, and there's less people. If you can get a Business "M" fare (lowest and second lowest fare), I'd definitely upgrade to business if you choose VIA.
Thank you so much for your response! ^THIS is what I was hoping for. I normally take 1st when travelling with VIA so I may as well keep that going just so I don't have to have this stupid piece of cloth (which I am burning in a fire as soon as this plague is over) on my face for hours.

You've made my mind up for me. ;)

PS, if you have a hoodie with strings on the hood, you could pull on the strings all the way, tie a bow knot, and make a mask out of that. Cheers. 🎉
Sounds appropriately street. Shall do! :D
 

crs1026

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Yes and no. Installing catenary would be difficult for VIA. That's true. Fielding BEMUs or maybe even installing battery packs on coaches to feed an electric loco? Not so much of a challenge.
Hypothetically, yes.... but the freight railroads will not tolerate any new technology on their rails until it has been through a testing process under conditions they can accept.

The event that traditionally makes a train or locomotive credible in the context of North American railroading is 10,000 laps or so around the industry's test track in Colorado.

I would expect that test track and/or in-field testing (similar to the BNSF test underway at the moment) will lead to freight locomotive e-technology which will lead to passenger motive power e-technology.

It's possible that some passenger agency (Amtrak? NJT? ML?) will demonstrate a technology on their own rails, and that test will prove compelling. But until that happens, BEMU is a fantasy technology in the context of CN and CP and VIA.

- Paul
 

kEiThZ

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What time frame are you talking about?

Probably beyond 2035.

Also, AFIK, most BEMUs need at least part of the route to be electrified to recharge the batteries.

Absolutely. And that would have to be taken into consideration.

As for installing battery packs on coaches, unless the coaches were designed to have battery packs installed (which I don't think the Siemen's Venture coaches were designed for), I don't see that as being an easy solution.

As currently designed, I'd agree. In 10-15 years, I wouldn't write off mods being designed and battery packs being substantially smaller and lighter. As it stands right now, you could probably put a Tesla battery pack on each coach and have enough range to cover Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal.
 

roger1818

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Probably beyond 2035.

By then, who knows what the freight railways have done towards electrification.
As it stands right now, you could probably put a Tesla battery pack on each coach and have enough range to cover Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal.

That is a pretty bold statement with no proof. Lets see if the math works out.

Using VIA Rail's emissions data, the Toronto-Montreal train emits 14.76 kg CO2 /seat based on an emission factor of 3.01 Kg of CO2 equivalent per Liter of diesel, so works out to 4.91 liters of diesel / seat. Based on the assumption that a typical train on that route is a 5 car LRC, there are typically 272.00 seats per train, the train uses 1,335 liters of diesel. According to Wikipedia, diesel fuel has an energy density of 38.60 MJ / liter of diesel, so the fuel Energy used (MJ) is 51,533 MJ. Since there is 3.60 MJ / kWh, that works out to 14,315 kWh. Now I don't know how efficient VIA's locomotives are, but assuming that they are an extremely poor 30% (they are probably much better), that means the electrical energy used is 4,294 kWh. It is also true that by using batteries, additional efficiencies can be gained through regenerative braking and such. Assuming that works out to 15%, that means the total battery energy used would be 3,650 kWh for the train. Now you said each car would have a battery, so given that we are assuming a 5 car train, that means the each car would draw on average 730 kWh. Now in reality that is an average and you would also want some reserve in case of eventualities, so you would probably want each car to actually have double that, so you are looking at a 1.5 MWh battery per car. As far as I know, the largest batteries Tesla currently uses are 100 kWh, so no, putting "a Tesla battery pack on each coach" would not "have enough range to cover Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal."

On top of that, none of that takes into account that adding batteries to the coaches will increase their mass, and thus increase the amount of energy needed to haul them.. Even Tesla's new 4680 cell is expected to have a specific energy density of about 300 Wh/kg. That works out to over 3 tonnes per MWh.

I'm sure you could roof Mount it like CNG tanks on a bus. Possibly with solar panels for trickle charging.

Batteries are very heavy and putting them on the roof will raise the center of gravity significantly. This would change the car's design performance, especially around corners.

The reality is, with a traditional passenger train (with separate locomotive and coaches, not an EMU), it makes far more sense to put the batteries in the locomotive, so that their mass (and thus weight) can increase the traction between the driving wheels and the rail (the traction is proportional to the weight) rather than increase the mass of the load with no increase in traction. Obviously, with an EMU, the motors are in the coaches, so that is no longer an issue.
 

kEiThZ

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Using VIA Rail's emissions data, the Toronto-Montreal train emits 14.76 kg CO2 /seat based on an emission factor of 3.01 Kg of CO2 equivalent per Liter of diesel, so works out to 4.91 liters of diesel / seat. Based on the assumption that a typical train on that route is a 5 car LRC, there are typically 272.00 seats per train, the train uses 1,335 liters of diesel. According to Wikipedia, diesel fuel has an energy density of 38.60 MJ / liter of diesel, so the fuel Energy used (MJ) is 51,533 MJ. Since there is 3.60 MJ / kWh, that works out to 14,315 kWh. Now I don't know how efficient VIA's locomotives are, but assuming that they are an extremely poor 30% (they are probably much better), that means the electrical energy used is 4,294 kWh. It is also true that by using batteries, additional efficiencies can be gained through regenerative braking and such. Assuming that works out to 15%, that means the total battery energy used would be 3,650 kWh for the train. Now you said each car would have a battery, so given that we are assuming a 5 car train, that means the each car would draw on average 730 kWh. Now in reality that is an average and you would also want some reserve in case of eventualities, so you would probably want each car to actually have double that, so you are looking at a 1.5 MWh battery per car.

Your roundabout math is massively overinflating the demand per car. You're right that it's more than a Tesla. Probably a couple of Tesla packs. But nowhere near 1.5MWh per car. That's insane.

Bombardier launched their Talent 3 BEMU in 2016 with 300 kWh for a 3 car train claiming 100 km of range. Here's the actual quote from their presentation:

CFO range: 40 km for early deployment lines (100 km achieveable). 40 km based on actual lines with many stops max acceleration to 120 kph with a fully loaded train using only 40% of the battery capacity (20% is then buffer and 40% DoD to ensure optimal lifetime of the batteries)

Source: http://www.ig-nahverkehr.de/wp-cont...-batteries_presentation_for-the-webpage_0.pdf

But that was for surburban service with lots of stops and lots of acceleration and deceleration. It's easy to see how a few hundred kWh could easily cover Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal. Especially if there's stretches of Catenary where they aren't running on battery power. And especially if we're talking 10-15 years from now when batteries should have seen some notable improvements in specific energy.

Batteries are very heavy and putting them on the roof will raise the center of gravity significantly. This would change the car's design performance, especially around corners.

And yet that's what Bombardier is doing. Maybe the vertical change in C of G is just not enough to cause concerns? Especially at lower speeds and banking.
 
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micheal_can

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Your roundabout math is massively overinflating the demand per car. You're right that it's more than a Tesla. Probably a couple of Tesla packs. But nowhere near 1.5MWh per car. That's insane.

Bombardier launched their Talent 3 BEMU in 2016 with 300 kWh for a 3 car train claiming 100 km of range. Here's the actual quote from their presentation:
The issue is you want to range. So, how many km would the train need to travel on battery in a day?
 

roger1818

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Your roundabout math is massively overinflating the demand per car. You're right that it's more than a Tesla. Probably a couple of Tesla packs. But nowhere near 1.5MWh per car. That's insane.

Then show me where my math is wrong. It isn't as round about as you might think since VIA calculated their carbon emissions based on fuel consumption, so I was just reversing their calculations.

Bombardier launched their Talent 3 BEMU in 2016 with 300 kWh for a 3 car train claiming 100 km of range. Here's the actual quote from their presentation:

Source: http://www.ig-nahverkehr.de/wp-cont...-batteries_presentation_for-the-webpage_0.pdf

First of all, the 100 km range will be an average. You wouldn't want to plan on pushing the trains that far as you will want to leave some reserve.

Secondly, VIA's Toronto to Montreal route is 539 km, so that is a 5.39 times increase.in needed range from the 100 km you are quoting. If you multiply 300 kWh by 5.39 you get 1617 kWh. Also, although it has 3 cars, the total train length is 52.6 m, only double the length of a single Siemens Venture. So divide that by 2, you get 800 kWh per car. I calculated 730 kWh per car and doubled it for some reserve. On top of that, the Talent is an EMU and will be more efficient than a conventional train with a separate locomotive.
http://www.ig-nahverkehr.de/wp-cont...-batteries_presentation_for-the-webpage_0.pdf
But that was for surburban service with lots of stops and lots of acceleration and deceleration. It's easy to see how a few hundred kWh could easily cover Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal.

True, but they are also operating at lower speed. Fluid friction is proportional to the square of the velocity, so a faster train will need more energy. Also, the nice thing about electric vehicles (in this case trains) is they can use regenerative braking to recuperate some of the energy lost when stopping (assuming they have somewhere to put that energy, like batteries or back to the catenary).

Especially if there's stretches of Catenary where they aren't running on battery power. And especially if we're talking 10-15 years from now when batteries should have seen some notable improvements in specific energy.

Except you said:

As it stands right now, you could probably put a Tesla battery pack on each coach and have enough range to cover Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal.

We don't have any catenary on any of the route right now.

And yet that's what Bombardier is doing. Maybe the vertical change in C of G is just not enough to cause concerns? Especially at lower speeds and banking.

It is one thing for the manufacture to design it in. It is another thing to add batteries to the roof of existing coaches.
 

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