The Anonymous Widower

What Is It With The Welsh And Batteries?

If ordering two fleets of rail vehicles with batteries, that I wrote about in The Greening Of The Valleys, KeolisAmey Wales have now gone and ordered a third fleet for North Wales.

This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled Vivarail D-Trains For Wales & Borders.

This is the first paragraph.

Incoming Wales & Borders franchisee KeolisAmey is to take delivery of five three-car Class 230 D-Train diesel-battery multiple-units from Vivarail, which is to produce them using the bogies and aluminium bodyshells of withdrawn London Underground D78 metro trains.

Note that they are described as diesel-battery trains.

The article says the Class 230 trains will be used on these lines.

Five trains have been ordered, but I suspect it will eventually be more.

I believe that this picture shows a property of the Class 230 train, that would be ideal for Welsh routes or any other scenic lines.

They have large windows and get the interior design right and they could become an iconic way to fill a difficult niche market.

  • A reliable hourly or half-hourly service on a remote line.
  • A quality interior with everything customers expect like a fully-accessible toilet, wi-fi and power sockets.
  • Space for bikes, buggies, babies and wheel-chairs.
  • Step-free entry between train and platform was possible at some stations on the District Line and I suspect that many stations could be made, so that wheelchairs and buggies could just roll across.
  • The ability to be serviced remotely.

Note that the train is fitted with toilets from Cwmbran in South Wales.

Did Transport for Wales say, that if you fitted Welsh toilets, we’ll buy a few trains?

I suspect though, that they are much better toilets, than those I saw as a child in castles like Caernarfon, Conway and Harlech, where the inhabitants in the Middle Ages must have been quick on the job to avoid the getting shot with arrows, where it would hurt!

I suspect constipation was rare in those days!

Seriously though, here’s a video of the Class 230 trains for Wales.

This video comes from this article in this article on Wrexham.com.

How Do The Trains Work?

I obviously don’t know exactly, but I suspect the method of operation is very similar to that of some of the advanced hybrid buses, like a new Routemaster.

Each of the diesel engines have a generator, which produces electricity. This can either be fed directly to the traction motors to power the train or stored in the onboard battery.

The train’s control system manages the power and chooses, whether traction power comes from the diesel engine or the battery.

This means that the diesel engines don’t have to work all the time.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles

This document on the KeolisAmey web site details their plans for the new Wales and Borders Franchise.

The Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles in the KeolisAmey document. look very similar to Sheffield Supertram‘s Class 399 tram-trains, that are providing a tram service in Sheffield and will soon be running on the heavy rail network to Rotherham.

  • The Citylink vehicles seat 88 with 150 standees.
  • They can run using 750 VDC or 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • The tram-trains are built by Stadler in Spain.
  • According to a driver, that I spoke to in Sheffield, the tram-trains have a good hill climbing capability.

These pictures were taken of one of the Class 399 tram-trains operating in Sheffield.

The Keolis/Amey document gives more details on the tram-trains.

  • Main power source 25kV overhead line but also operates from battery.
  • Capacity of 257 with seats for 129.
  • Capable of on-street line-of-sight ‘tramway’ operation.
  • They can work in pairs.

I’ve known for some time, that Class 399 tram/trains had a battery.

The Battery Point On A Class 399 Tram-Train

but I thought it was probably for secondary purposes, like making sure the vehicle crossed the boundary, where the two voltages change.

So it looks like in Cardiff, battery power will be used for traction.

How Big Will The Batteries Need To Be?

Consider a Class 399 tram/train, working to and from Merthyr Tydfil.

  • Wikipedia gives the weight of the vehicle as 66 tonnes.
  • Rhymney has an altitude of 178 metres.
  • I will assume 200 passengers at 90 Kg. each, which gives a weight of 12 tonnes.

This means that the train has a potential energy of 41 kWh at Merthyr Tydfil station.

On the way down the hill from Merthyr Tydfil the regenerative braking will convert this potential energy into electricity, which will be stored in the battery.

I would reckon that a battery of about 50 kWh would be an ideal size, but would it be big enough to take the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles from Cardiff Queen Street station to The Flourish and back?

That journey is probably about 1.5 miles each way.

How Far Would A Full 50 kWh Battery Take A Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicle?

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which probably has a terrain not much different to the lines to the South and West of Cardiff.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

This would mean that a 50 kWh battery would take a three-car Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicle up to five miles, if the usage of the lighter-weight tram-train was at the lower end of the quoted range.

The battery would certainly take a Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicle from Cardiff Queen Street station to The Flourish and back.

Conclusion

As with the Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts, the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicle with a battery, looks a very interesting concept.

  • Most of the energy is provided by the 25 KVAC electrification, which would power the tram-train up the hill.
  • Coming down the hill, the battery would be recharged using the regenerative braking.
  • Battery power would used to take the tram-train on routes without electrification to The Flourish station.

Energy efficiency would be high.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 8 Comments

Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts

I would expect that these trains are very similar to the bi-mode Stadler Flirt DEMUs, but that the power-pack would also contain a battery.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I wouldn’t be surprised that the power-pack, which accepts up to four Deutz diesel engines, can replace one or two of these with battery modules. This could make conversion between the two types of Flirt, just a matter of swapping a diesel module for a battery one or vice-versa.

Note that the three-car Class 755 trains for Greater Anglia have two diesel engines and the four-car trains have four engines.

This document on the KeolisAmey web site details their plans for the new Wales and Borders Franchise.

It gives a few extra details about the Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts

The KeolisAmey document gives extra a few extra details.

I assume the following.

  • That 100% electric operation includes battery operation.
  • Batteries will certainly be used in the mile-long Caerphilly tunnel.
  • Batteries will be charged when running on electrified lines or by capturing regenerative breaking energy whilst descending to Cardiff.
  • The diesel engine will be used for primary power on the Vale of Glamorgan Line, which is without electrification and nearly twenty miles long?

There will be a lot of commonality between the two types of Flirts and I suspect driver and other staff training for the two variant will be the same.

How Big Will The Batteries Need To Be?

Consider a three-car Tri-Mode Stadler Flirt

  • I reckon, that the weight of the train will be around 130 tonnes.
  • Rhymney has an altitude of 287 metres.
  • I will assume 150 passengers at 80 Kg. each, which gives a weight of 12 tonnes.

This means that the train has a potential energy of 111 kWh at Rhymney station.

On the way down the hill from Rhymney the regenerative braking will convert this potential energy into electricity, which will be stored in the battery.

But also consider.

  • There will be losses in energy conversion in the regenerative braking process.
  • Energy will be used running the train’s systems.
  • Energy will be used stopping and starting the train at each station.
  • Energy will be used bringing the train through some sections without electrification.
  • Energy will be used keeping the crew and passengers comfortable.
  • Energy can be burned off using braking resistors on the roof of the train.

When you consider that the battery on a London New Routemaster bus, has a capacity of 75 kWh, I think it is highly likely, that Stadler can design a battery module to fit one of the two spare engine positions in the power-pack.

Now, consider a four-car Tri-Mode Stadler Flirt

  • I reckon, that the weight of the train will be around 150 tonnes.
  • Rhymney has an altitude of 287 metres.
  • I will assume 200 passengers at 80 Kg. each, which gives a weight of 16 tonnes.

This means that the train has a potential energy of 130 kWh at Rhymney station.

Looking at the weight of Bombardier’s 50 kWh batteries, I suspect that it would be possible to design a battery module with the following characeristics.

  • 100 kWh capacity
  • A weight less than that of the Deutz engine, which is around 1.3 tonnes.
  • Plug compatibility with the diesel engine.

Doing this calculation with real data, is the sort of mathematics that I relished doing in my twenties.

How Far Would A Full 100 kWh Battery Take A Three-Car Flirt?

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which probably has a terrain not much different to the lines to the South and West of Cardiff.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

This would mean that a 100 kWh battery would take a three-car train between six and ten miles. It might even take the train from Cardiff to Barry Island or Penarth and back..

Conclusion

It looks a very interesting concept.

  • Most of the energy is provided by the electrification, which would power the train up the hill.
  • Coming down the hill, the batteries would be recharged using the regenerative braking.
  • Battery power would used to take the train on routes without electrification to the West and South of Cardiff.
  • When the battery power was low, the diesel engines would cut in.

Energy efficiency would be high.

 

 

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 9 Comments

Stadler Flirt DEMUs

Over a thousand Stadler Flirts have been sold to operators around the world. Most have been or will be built in Switzerland.

Greater Anglia

The first fleet in the UK, comprise fourteen three-car and twenty-four four-car Class 755 trains for Greater Anglia.

This visualisation shows a Class 755 train in Greater Anglia livery, running through the typical flat lands of East Anglia.

These trains will enter service next year.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They can run on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • They have a diesel power-pack, which can have up to four Deutz diesel engines, for running on lines without electrification.
  • The three-car trains have two diesel engines and the four-car trains have four engines.
  • They can change power source at line speed.
  • Length is easily changed, by adding or removing cars.
  • Three-car Flirts have 166 seats and four-car Flirts have 224 seats.
  • They are designed to handle two-hour plus journeys, like Lowestoft to London for Greater Anglia.

I suspect they are fairly powerful trains and I wrote about this in Greater Anglia’s Class 755 Trains Seem To Have Bags Of Grunt.

Comparing the trains with a Class 170 train, I said this.

But the four-car Class 755/4 trains have fifty percent more power per car, than the Class 170 train, so these will be no sedate rural trundlers.

I’m certain, that their performance, will allow them to mix it on the Great Eastern Main Line with the London-Ipswich-Norwich expresses.

KeolisAmey Wales

From the pictures, the trains, that will be delivered to KeolisAmey Wales, look very much like the trains, that have been ordered by Greater Anglia.

The trains will operate services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and extending to Severn Tunnel Junction and beyond.

I would assume that the trains will use diesel, where there is no electrification. One current service goes between Maesteg and Cheltenham Spa stations. On the South Wales Main Line between Cardiff and Seven Tunnel Junction, the trains would use the 25 KVAC  overhead wires, but at both ends of the route, they would use diesel.

One great advantage of bi-mode trains like these Flirts, is that as more electrification is added, they can take advantage.

I’m certain, that their performance, will allow them to mix it on the South Wales Main Line with the London-Newport-Cardiff-Swansea expresses.

Aosta Valley

A European version of the train will start to operate soon in the Aosta Valley in Italy, so when the trains for Wales are delivered, there will be lots of operational experience. Especially with climbing steep hills!

Norway

This article on the Railway Gazette is entitled Bi-Modes In Norway’s Next Flirt Order.

The bi-modes will be used around Trondheim, on routes without elewctrification.

What does Norway have a lot of? Mountains!

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments