The Anonymous Widower

Deutsche Bahn Is Building Overhead Line ‘Islands’ For Battery Trains

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway News.

This paragraph describes the concept.

This means, instead of electrifying a line in full, as is conventional for electric trains to draw traction power, these lines will feature intermittent electrification. The first of these lines to become operational will be in Schleswig-Holstein in December 2023. Deutsche Bahn says it will only electrify short stretches (a few hundred metres up to a few kilometres) or stations – enough to allow battery-powered trains to recharge on these lines. The state rail operator estimates that this move will mean that more than ten million train kilometres can be completed using electric rather than diesel traction in Schleswig-Holstein. The diesel trains currently in use will be decommissioned. DB estimates an annual diesel fuel saving of around ten million litres.

It looks like a simple concept will save a lot of diesel fuel.

I first talked about electrification islands to charge battery-electric trains in The Concept Of Electrification Islands, which I wrote in April 2020.

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

DB Cargo UK Successfully Trials The Use Of ‘Combi-Consists’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on DB Cargo UK.

This is the first paragraph.

DB Cargo UK is trialling the use of ‘combi-consists’ to increase capacity, improve customer service and improve its efficiency.

The next four paragraphs describe the trial.

This month the UK’s largest rail freight operator ran a unique jumbo train from Belmont Yard in Doncaster to Barking, East London, carrying a mix of wagons for two altogether different types of customers.

The train consisted of two sets of empty wagons – 21 x MBA wagons for Ward Recycling and 18 x JNA wagons for FCC Environment – with an isolated DIT (dead-in-train) locomotive – in the middle.

The MBA wagons had previously been discharged at Immingham in North Lincolnshire and the JNA wagons discharged at FCC Environment’s new waste transfer facility at Tinsley in South Yorkshire.

Both sets of wagons were then taken to DB Cargo UK’s Belmont Yard depot in Doncaster where the jumbo train was assembled. The train travelled from Belmont Yard to Barking via Lincoln Central, Spalding, The East Coast Mainline, Hertford North and Canonbury Tunnel.

There is also a video embedded in the press release, which shows the formation of the train in detail.

This train is certainly efficient, as it uses less train paths, crew and fuel.

DB Cargo UK now intend to trial the concept on a greater portion of the East Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

I have a few thoughts.

Could The Concept Work With Loaded Trains?

This trial was with empty trains, but would it be possible to use the concept with two shorter loaded trains?

Would there be advantages in terms of efficiency, if the following were done?

  • Two container trains leave Felixstowe as a pair, with one going to Plymouth and the other going to Cardiff.
  • They split at say Swindon and then proceed independently.

Obviously, all the weights would have to be in order and the locomotive would need to be able to pull the combined train.

Other possibilities might be.

  • Stone trains running from the Mendips and the Peak District to London.
  • Biomass trains running from import terminals to power stations in the Midlands.
  • Trains delivering new cars.
  • Trains delivering goods for supermarkets. Tesco are certainly increasing their use of trains.

I would suspect that DB Cargo UK have several ideas.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go In The Middle?

A Class 90 locomotive weighs 84.5 tonnes, as against the 129.6 tonnes of the Class 66 locomotive used in the trial.

So if the electric locomotive can be run dead-in-train, the weight would be slightly less.

But this might give a big advantage, if they ever wanted to run a pair of trains from Felixstowe to Plymouth and Cardiff, as per my earlier example.

  • The trains would split anywhere on the electrified section of the Great Western Main Line.
  • The lead train would go to Plymouth.
  • The second train would go to Cardiff, which is now fully electrified.

There would appear to be possibilities to save carbon emissions.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go On The Front?

Some routes out of Felixstowe are fully-electrified from the Great Eastern Main Line.

It could be possible for the following.

  • Two diesel-hauled trains to leave Felixstowe with ubiquitous Class 66 locomotives and form up as a combi-consist train in Ipswich yard.
  • The Class 66 locomotive on the front is replaced by an electric locomotive.
  • Both Class 90 and Class 92 electric locomotives have twice the power of a Class 66 locomotive, so both should be able to haul the combi-consist train.

The trains would split en-route with the electric locomotive hauling a train to an electrified destination.

This picture shows, what could be an experiment by Freightliner at Shenfield.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to ask the driver, if the Class 66 locomotive was running dead-in-train or helping the Class 90 locomotive with a very heavy load.

The picture shows, that the electric and diesel locomotives can work together, at the front of a train.

Since I took this picture, I’ve never seen a similar consist again.

Could A Bi-Mode Locomotive Go On The Front?

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I talked about how GB Railfreight had started negotiations to purchase a fleet of powerful bi-mode locomotives from Stadler.

  • Provisionally, they have been called Class 99 locomotives.
  • The locomotives will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • I suspect that on diesel the power will be at least 2.5 MW to match a Class 66 locomotive.

These locomotives could be ideal for hauling combi-consist trains.

Would Combi-Consist Trains Save Energy?

This could be a big driver of the use of combi-consist trains and may push DB Cargo UK to acquire some powerful bi-mode locomotives.

Conclusion

Combi-consist trains seem to be an excellent idea.

 

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Neighbourhood Leading A Green Energy Revolution

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first two paragraphs.

An ambitious target of using hydrogen to partly power homes in the UK within three years has been set by the National Grid, the BBC has learned. On the east coast of Scotland, a small neighbourhood is playing a key role in this energy revolution.

From next year, about 300 homes in Buckhaven, and Methil, in the area of Levenmouth, will be powered by green hydrogen gas in a project called H100. Customers will be offered free hydrogen-ready boilers and cookers in the scheme, which will initially last five and a half years.

I described the H100 Project in ‘World First’: SGN Launches Bid For 300 Green Hydrogen Homes Project In Fife.

This is the home page of the  H100 Fife project web site.

This Google Map shows part of Buckhaven.

Note the wind turbine, that will produce the hydrogen is in the South-East corner of the map.

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Now That’s What I Call A Mission Statement!

This is a paragraph from the Comment in the Business section of today’s times, with the heading of Mission Statement.

Rousing stuff from Astarta, a Ukrainian agri-group listed in Warsaw spanning sugar, milk and soya beans. Having secured extra financing for the “spring planting” season, its latest update underlines a commitment to “maintaining food security and rebuilding the national economy”. The sign-off? Well, not your typical corporate speak: “We believe in the army of Ukraine! We believe in Ukraine! We believe in our Victory!”

Companies love mission statements. Surely, this is one of the best.

Slava Ukraini!

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment