The Anonymous Widower

The Technology That Enables The Aventra IPEMU

It is worth stating why it looks like the Aventra IPEMU looks so promising.

Steel Wheel On Steel Rail

The dynamics of this are well known and mean the following.

  • There is a very low rolling resistance.
  • As more weight is applied, the rolling resistance goes down.
  • A fully loaded train might use less energy than an empty one.

You can’t ignore the laws of physics.


The air resistance of something like a train rises with the square of the speed.

But by careful aerodynamic design, you can reduce this energy loss substantially.

An Artist's Impression Of A Proposed Aventra

An Artist’s Impression Of A Proposed Aventra

The picture shows the clean lines of an Aventa

FLEXX-Eco Bogies

Boring but the design saves energy.

Low Energy Interiors

Air-conditioning and door and lighting systems have made great strides in recent years on reducing energy consumption.

Improved Energy Storage

The Class 379 Demonstrator used batteries, as nothing else was available. Better technology for this application like large capacitors and flywheels may be better suited to a train.

Because of the steel wheel on steel rail advantage weight is not a problem.

I think in a few years time, trains will use KERS. Like Formula 1, only bigger! It will be more affordable than batteries, as it’s purely electro-mechanical!

Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking can save large amounts of energy, with Class 390 Pendolinos reportedly saving seventeen percent. But these trains give their generated energy to the overhead lines, whereas an Aventra IPEMU will keep the energy for itself in the storage device, if there is capacity.

From an electrical engineering point of view, I do wonder if energy storage is the best way to handle the electricity generated by regenerative braking, as otherwise it might have to be converted to transmit it back into the overhead wire or third rail.

I can see a time coming, when all electric trains have regenerative braking and energy storage!

Lightweight Construction

This only helps in the acceleration of the train, so it may not be as important as it would seem, because of the steel wheel on steel rail advantage.

Could it be that one of the reasons a High Speed Train rides so well, is that it is built out of steel and is strong and heavy?

Automated Systems

Things like pantograph deployment will be automatic, thus meaning when the train needs to add power and there is an overhead wire, this will be connected to power the train or top up the battery.

Automatic Train Control

But the biggest automation will be in the driving of the train. As on the Victoria Line the driver will tell the train to start and then it will go automatically to the next station. The train will collect information from the timetable, signals, GPS and sensors determining things like weather and passenger load and be driven accordingly.

Planes have been flown like this for many years.


The range of sixty miles quoted for the Demonstrator could be exceeded by a wide margin.

September 28, 2015 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The Technology That Enables The Aventra IPEMU, I wrote about the physics and also what Bombardier seemed to be planing for the new Aventra train, […]

    Pingback by The IPEMU Advantage « The Anonymous Widower | February 19, 2016 | Reply

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