The Anonymous Widower

In The Land Of The Giants

In Defining The GOBlin Extension To Barking Riverside, I traced how the extension will get to the new station. This is a map from the TfL report, which shows the route of the extension.

Barking Riverside Extension

Barking Riverside Extension

And this is an image of the viaduct that takes the extension over Choats Road.

Proposed Viaduct Over Choats Road

Proposed Viaduct Over Choats Road

Today, I went to Barking station and took an EL2 bus to Dagenham Dock station.

I took these pictures as the bus went along Choats Road.

The area is certainly one with some of the largest electricity pylons.

Even so, you can understand why the TfL report says this about the viaduct.

After passing under Renwick Road, the alignment would climb on a viaduct curving south towards Barking Riverside, crossing the Freight Terminal, westbound Tilbury lines and Choats Road.  The viaduct would then descend to pass under the existing high voltage power line south of Choats Road, before again rising and continuing  towards a station at Barking Riverside.

This Google map certainly shows there is a lot of space.

In The Land Of The Giants

In The Land Of The Giants

It will be interesting to see what the final layout will be.

  • The viaduct that crosses Choats Road must be high enough to allow double-deck buses and other high vehicles to pass underneath.
  • The TfL route map appears to show that the viaduct follows roughly the line of the pylons to the site of Barking Riverside station.
  • Vertical separation of overhead wires on the viaduct and the power lines could be a problem!
  • The rail line can’t go too close to the houses.

If the branch were to be built without electrification and services were to be run using the Aventras fitted with on-board energy storage, it would ease the design of the viaduct.

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Will London Overground Fit On-board Energy Storage To Class 378 Trains?

This may seem to be a ridiculous idea, as why would the Class 378 trains on the London Overground need the ability to use battery power?

But I have just read this article in Rail Technology Magazine entitled Bombardier enters key analysis phase of IPEMU and it is a detailed article on everything Bombardier are doing to convert the prototype IPEMU into a real train, that can be sold to demanding customers.

  • Four different types of battery are being evaluated in Mannheim.
  • A simulated five-year test is being performed.
  • Bombardier are taking a serious look at the branch-line market.
  • Bombardier are evaluating the retrofit market with particular reference to the Class 387 and Class 378 trains.

This is all very sound stuff and in some ways it makes a change to fully-develop the product before launch rather than expect train operators and passengers to find the problems.

One thing that is surprising, is that Class 378 trains are being looked at for the retrofit of on-board energy storage. Marc Phillips of Bombardier is quoted as saying this in the article.

All Electrostars to some degree can be retrofitted with batteries. We are talking the newer generation EMU as well as the older generation. So, the 387s and 378s are the ones where we have re-gen braking where we can top-up the batteries and use the braking energy to charge the batteries. That gives us the best cost-benefit over operational life.

So it would seem that the Class 378 trains of the London Overground are candidates for fitting with batteries. As the trains handle their routes with ease and there doesn’t appear to be any lines without electrification, where anybody has speculated they might run, the only reason to fit them with batteries would be to capture and reuse all that braking energy.

It is an interesting proposition where the decision to fit batteries will depend totally on the accountants.

Obviously, there will be a cost to fit batteries, but as they wouldn’t need to propel the train for large distances, where there is no electrification, the specification could be quite relaxed.

  • The capacity would have to be sufficient to hold the maximum braking energy of a full train.
  • The battery technology would have to be able to handle the demanding stop/start regime of London Overground services.
  • The system must be easy to fit to the existing trains.
  • The battery capacity should probably be sufficient to move a stalled train into the nearest station.

A worst case scenario for moving a stalled train, would be hauling a train out of the Thames Tunnel after a failure of the power to the third-rail.

I have a feeling that traditional battery storage is not the best way to handle this application, as it is one that could be met by a larger version of the KERS system used in Formula One. KERS has already been applied successfully to buses, and I wrote about that in Could IPEMU Trains Use KERS?

You can do a simple calculation, which gives the kinetic energy of a hundred and sixty tonnes Class 378 moving at twenty metres per second, which is about two thirds of maximum speed and probably a typical service speed. The kinetic energy of such a train is 3.2 Mega Joules or 0.89 kWh. As an aside, I pay 10.73p for each kWh.

If a train has regenerative braking as Class 378 trains do, this energy can be returned through the overhead wires or third rail and used by other trains on the rail network, if the lines are setup to receive the energy. But it relies on another train being able to pick up the electricity and there are inevitable loses in the complicated transfer of the electricity.

On the other hand, if the train has on-board energy storage, it can store the energy and use it when it starts again at the station. This is a more efficient process.

It should also be noted that over the last year, all fifty-seven four car Class 378 trains have been upgraded to five cars. Does the fifth car have the wiring to incorporate an energy storage device? I would be surprised if it didn’t and that the train software is now capable of being upgraded to incorporate on-board energy storage.

I have no idea how much electricity would be saved by regenerative braking on the London Overground, but various applications of regenerative braking technology talk of electricity savings of between ten and twenty percent.

I think it is only a matter of time before the technology is proven to be sufficiently reliable and the numbers add up correctly for the Class 378 trains to be fitted with on-board energy storage.

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 6 Comments

All Quiet On The IPEMU Front

Type IPEMU into Google News and you don’t get many recent stories about Bombardier’s Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit.

The newest story is this article from the Derby Telegraph, which is dated the 7th December 2015 and is entitled Battery-powered trains win award for Bombardier.

Most of the others relate to the trial of the technology using a Class 379 train in early 2015. I rode this train and I have a feeling that a lot of serious rail journalists and commentators didn’t!

Before I rode the train, I thought the technology could be a bit naff and gimmicky, pandering to the green lobby.

But after riding through the Essex countryside and reading about the physics of steel wheel and steel rail, I realise that Bombardier, Network Rail and their partners are serious about the development and have produced a train with the following characteristics.

  • To a passenger, it looks, feels and rides like a standard electrical multiple unit.
  • The IPEMU can run for over fifty miles using the on-board energy storage charged when running under power from overhead lines or third-rail.
  • The train has a limited diversion capability, if say the wires are down.
  • The performance is similar on energy storage to when running from external power.
  • Drivers can be easily converted to the IPEMU variant.

The document on the Bombardier web site, which is entitled Battery-Driven Bombardier Electrostar gives more insight into the developers’ thinking.

Rumours In Modern Railways

Two articles in Modern Railways have linked IPEMU capability to two train purchases.

  • In September 2015, it is stated that some Class 387 trains for the Great Western Railway could be battery-powered.
  • In October 2015, it is stated the Merseytravel is seriously considering IPEMU technology in a new train order, to reduce energy use and the overall cost of train ownership.

Nothing further has been published about these possible orders.

Aventras And Energy Storage

When Transport for London ordered new Class 710 trains for the London Overground, I took a look a detailed look at the trains and posted Will The London Overground Aventras Have Energy Storage?

According to this article in Global Rail News, which is entitled Bombardier’s AVENTRA – A new era in train performance, the Aventra has the capacity to fit onboard energy storage. This is said.

AVENTRA can run on both 25kV AC and 750V DC power – the high-efficiency transformers being another area where a heavier component was chosen because, in the long term, it’s cheaper to run. Pairs of cars will run off a common power bus with a converter on one car powering both. The other car can be fitted with power storage devices such as super-capacitors or Lithium-Iron batteries if required.

Bombardier have confirmed this to me.

Bombardier’s Plans

So what are Bombardier doing now?

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Bombardier enters key analysis phase of IPEMU and is a detailed article on everything Bombardier are doing to convert the prototype into a real train, that can be sold to demanding customers.

  • Four different types of battery are being evaluated in Mannheim.
  • A simulated five-year test is being performed.
  • Bombardier are taking a serious look at the branch-line market.
  • Bombardier are evaluating the retrofit market with particular reference to the Class 387 and Class 378 trains.

This is all very sound stuff and in some ways it makes a change to fully-develop the product before launch rather than expect train operators and passengers to find the problems.

One thing that is surprising, is that Class 378 trains are being looked at for the retrofit of onboard energy storage.  I cover this in detail in Will London Overground Fit On-Board Energy Storage To Class 378 Trains?

I came to the conclusion, that Class 378 retrofit is a decision for the accountants.

But it does seem to have gone exceedingly quiet.

 

 

 

 

 

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment