The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive

Many of the long freight routes from Felixstowe and Southampton are hauled by diesel locomotives like the environmentally-unfriendly Class 66 locomotive.

Electric haulage can’t be used because of significant gaps in the 25 KVAC overhead electrification. Gaps and a typical transit time of a Class 66-hauled heavy freight train include.

  • Didcot and Birmingham – Around two-and-a-half hours
  • Didcot and Coventry – Just under two hours
  • Felixstowe and Ipswich – Around an hour
  • Haughley Junction and Peterborough – Around two hours
  • Southampton and Reading – Around one-and-a-half hours
  • Werrington Junction and Doncaster via Lincoln – Around two hours
  • Werrington Junction and Nuneaton – Just under two hours

Would it be possible to design a battery/electric hravy locomotive, that could bridge these gaps?

Consider the following.

  • A Class 66 locomotive has a power output of around 2500 kW.
  • To run for two hours on battery would require a battery of 5000 kWh.
  • A 5000 kWh battery would weigh around fifty tonnes.
  • A Class 70 locomotive is a heavy freight diesel Co-Co locomotive with a weight of 134 tonnes with a full tank of diesel.
  • A Class 88 locomotive is an electro-diesel locomotive, that without the diesel engine weighs about 80 tonnes.
  • A Class 88 locomotive has a power output of 4,000 kW on 25 KVAC  overhead electrification

Putting this information together and I think it would be possible to design a battery/electric locomotive with the following specification.

  • 4000 kW on 25 KVAC  overhead electrification
  • Ability to use 750 VDC third-rail electrification
  • A 5000 kWh battery.
  • Ability to use a rapid charging system.
  • Two hour range with 2500 kW on battery power.
  • Regenerative braking to the battery.
  • Co-Co configuration
  • Dimensions, weight and axle loading similar to a Class 70 locomotive.

These are a few other thoughts.

Last Mile Applications

Ports and Container Terminals are often without electrification.

The proposed locomotive would be able to work in these environments.

A couple of yeas ago, I had a long talk with a crane operator at the Port of Felixstowe, who I met on a ytain going to football. He was of the opinion, that Health and Safety is paramount and he would not like 25 KVAC overhead electrification all over the place.

So if freight locomotives used battery power inside the port, most would be pleased.

The only cost for ports and freight terminals would be installing some form of charging.

Maximum Power On Batteries

I suspect that the maximum power on battery would also be the same as the 4,000 kW using 25 KVAC overhead electrification, as the locomotive may have applications, where very heavy trains are moved on partially electrified lines.

Diesel-Free Operation

The proposed lovomotive will not use any diesel and will essentially be an electric locomotive, with the ability to use stored onboard power.

Environmentally-Friendly Operation

Freight routes often pass through areas, where heavy diesel locomotives are not appreciated.

  • The proposed locomotive will not be emitting any exhaust or noxious gases.
  • Noise would be similar to an electric locomotive.
  • They would be quieter using battery-power on lines without overhead electrification, as there would be no pantograph noise.

I think on balance, those living by freight routes will welcome the proposed locomotive.

Would Services Be Faster?

This would depend on the route, but consider a heavy freight train going from Felixstowe to Leeds.

  • On the electrified East Coast Main Line, the proposed battery-electric locomotive would have a power of 4,000 kW, as opposed to the 2,500 kW of the Class 66 locomotive.
  • On sections without electrification, the locomotive would have more power if required, although it would probably be used sparingly.
  • The locomotive would have a Driver Assistance System to optimise power use to the train weight and other conditions.

I feel on balance, that services could be faster, as more power could be applied without lots of pollution and noise.

Creeping With Very Heavy Loads

I suspect they would be able to creep with very heavy loads, as does the Class 59 locomotive.

Class 59 Locomotive Replacement

The proposed locomotive may well be able to replace Class 59 locomotives in some applications.

Any Extra Electrification Will Be Greatly Appreciated

Some gaps in electrification are quite long.

For example, Didcot and Birmingham takes about two and a half hours.

  • Didcot is on the electrified Great Western Main Line.
  • Birmingham has a lot of electrified lines.

So perhaps there could be some extra electrification at both ends of busy freight routes.

Electrification between Didcot and Wolvercote Junction would be a possibility.

  • It would be about twelve miles
  • It is very busy with heavy freight trains.
  • The natives complain about the railway.
  • It would allow Great Western Railway to run electric trains to and from London.
  • If Chiltern Railways were to run battery-electric trains to Oxford, it would provide electrification for charging at Oxford.
  • Electrification could be extended to Oxford Parkway station to make sure battery-electric trains would get a good send-off to Cambridge

This simple example shows, why bi-mode and battery/electric trains don’t mean the end of electrification.

All vehicles; rail or road and especially electric ones, need to take on fuel!

I also think, that there is scope to electrify some passing loops, so that locomotives can top-up en route.

Conclusion

It would be a heavyweight locomotive with a performance to match.

I believe that such a locomotive would be a very useful addition to the UK’s fleet of freight locomotives.

 

December 8, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. […] I wrote about the latter in Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive. […]

    Pingback by Nervous Operators Force Network Rail To Defer King’s Cross Plan « The Anonymous Widower | December 8, 2018 | Reply

  2. Where there are long gaps in electrification I would personally put an electrified section in the middle rather than at the ends. if you have 42 mile section not electrified ten miles at one end reduces it to 32 miles. 10 miles i the middle reduces the unelectifies sections to two 15mile sections. A huge improvement for a smaller outlay, and I suspect there are few economies by making the electrification contiguous. I think heavy freight locomotives fit the hydrogen fuel cell paradigm better myself.

    Comment by Hannah Lane | December 10, 2018 | Reply

    • One point to note, is that one of the big costs of electrification is connecting it to the grid So if you extend existing electrifucation, you don’t need a connection. Stations also usually have a good grid connection, so electrifying a section with a large station in the middle could be an economic oroposition.

      Comment by AnonW | December 10, 2018 | Reply


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