The Anonymous Widower

Would High-Speed Trains With Onboard Energy Storage Enable Environmentally-Friendly High-Speed Lines?

If you stand on the platform at Stratford International station, when a Eurostar Class 373 train comes through, it is a very noisy experience.

For this and other reasons high-speed trains usually have their own fenced-off tracks, well away from centres of population.

High-speed trains like Eurostar tend to have a journey profile, where they accelerate to line speed and then run at this speed, until they stop at the next station.

High speed lines are also designed, so that trains don’t lose energy on gradients and curves for energy efficiency.

I’d love to see an energy use profile for a modern high-speed train like a Class 374 train, as it goes from London to Paris.

Onboard energy storage is rather primitive today, but who’s to know how far the next generation of battery technology will take a train in say ten years time.

Say a high speed train has to go through an area that is highly-sensitive with respect to visual and/or audio intrusion!

If the section was not electrified, which would cut the visual intrusion to just the trains passing through and reduce the pantograph noise to zero, how far would a mix of battery power and the kinetic energy of the train power it until it could get electric power on the other side of the electrification gap?

We could be closer than anybody thinks to the use of batteries on high-speed trains.

The Midland Main Line is being electrified and Ian Walmsley in Modern Railways has speculated that 125 mph Aventras could be used between London and Sheffield. I wrote about this in A High-Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability.

Could we see sections of the fast lines deliberately built without wires, so that noise is reduced?

Leicester station is a serious bottleneck, so could track be arranged there with two quiet fast lines without wires,  through the centre of the city and the station?

It’s an interesting possibility to both reduce the effects on the environment and cut the cost of electrification.

I also think there are other reasons why trains will increasingly have on-board energy storage or in the case of electric locomotives, a small diesel engine.

  • A get-to-the-next-station capability for when electric power to the line fails.
  • Depots could be without electrification.
  • Complicated stations could be electrically-dead.

It is a technology, that will have a large number of positive effects in the coming years.

July 10, 2016 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

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