The Anonymous Widower

UK Hydrogen Train Demonstrator To Be Tested In 2019

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

A memorandum of understanding for the development of a hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator train was signed by leasing company Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research & Education at InnoTrans on September 19.

Porterbrook is to provide an ex-Thameslink Class 319 25 kV 50 Hz/750 V DC third rail electric multiple-unit for the Hydro Flex project. The partners expect it to be equipped with a fuel cell system and ready for demonstration runs in mid-2019. It would retain the ability to use electrical power.

Action is certainly happening in the development of low-emission trains and it appears, that the train leasing companies are taking an active lead.

 

 

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Class 171 Trains And MTU Hybrid PowerPacks

The Class 170 trains and the Class 171 trains are identical, except that they use different coupling systems.

So as MTU Hybrid PowerPacks are being fitted to Class 170 trains, it would seem to be almost certain, that they could be fitted to the other closely-related class.

Southern runs the Class 171 trains on two routes, that are partially-electrified.

  • Ashford to Brighton via Hastings and Eastbourne – 25 miles without electrification
  • London Bridge to Uckfield via Oxted – 23 miles without electrification.

It seems to be environmentally-unfriendly to not run a hybrid train on these routes.

Could A Class 171 Train With An MTU Hybrid PowerPack Run On Third-Rail Lines?

It would appear that the Class 170 and 171 trains, use the same or similar bogies as the Class 377 trains.

These pictures show the bogies on a Class 377 train.

And these are pictures of the bogies on a Class 171 train.

Note.

  1. The pictures were taken at London Bridge station.
  2. The two bogies appear to be of a similar design, although they are for trains with different traction systems.
  3. The bogies in the Class 171 train seem to fit close to the third-rail.
  4. On the Class 377 train, the two end bogies have shoes.

As the Class 377 trains can be and nearly always are fitted with third-rail shoes, would it be possible to fit third-rail shoes to Class 171 trains, at the same time as the transmission is changed from hydraulic to electric, when the MTU Hybrid PowerPacks are installed?

If it is possible to install third-rail shoes, then this power could be used to charge the battery or power the train.

Searching the Internet, I have found this blurb for the MTU Hybrid PowerPack.

This is said

Naturally, rail vehicles with hybrid drive can also be powered exclusively by the diesel engine. This also means great flexibility for the operator: The trains can be deployed on both electrified
and non-electrified rail routes. 

In addition, upgrading to a trimodal power system – with an additional pantograph – is easy because the system is already equipped with an electric motor. This gives the operator considerable freedom with regard to deployment of the vehicles – it‘s a big plus when they can respond flexibly in the future to every route requirement or tender invitation.

A pantograph wouldn’t be much use in Southern territory, but the ability to connect to third-rail power certainly would be.

When clever electronics and a well-programmed control system are added, it should be possible to create an environmentally-friendly train, that could use third-rail, diesel or battery power as required.

Range On Battery Power

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 is not very challenging.

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

So how far would my proposed electric/diesel/battery hybrid train travel.

It would have a battery capacity of 61.2 kWh, if it had two one-battery MTU Hybrid PowerPack

Assume that the batteries are fully charged at Oxted, Asford and Ore, where they leave the existing electrification.

This would give the following ranges.

  • 3 kWh per vehicle mile – 10 miles
  • 4 kWh per vehicle mile – 7.5 miles
  • 5 kWh per vehicle mile – 6 miles

Note.

  1. ,If the MTU Hybrid PowerPacks had two batteries range would be doubled.
  2. Both the unelectrified routes have sections in open countryside, where diesel power could be used without too much disturbance.
  3. The diesel engines could be used to top up the batteries at Uckfield.

Looking at the two routes, there would be a big cut in the running of trains on diesel.

Diesel Savings Between London Bridge And Uckfield

The distance between London Bridge and Uckfield stations is 46.1 miles, of which 23 miles are not electrified.

Going South, I would suspect because of the regenerative braking and the full batteries at Oxted, that perhaps ten miles of diesel running would be needed.

Going North, because the batteries wouldn’t be full, I suspect about fifteen miles of diesel-running would be needed.

Currently in a round trip, the trains run for 92.2 miles on diesel, but with MTU Hybrid PowerPacks and a third-rail capability, this could be reduced to around twenty-five miles, with no running in stations.

This would be a seventy-three percent reduction in diesel running.

Diesel Savings Between Ashford And Eastbourne

The distance between Ashford and Eastbourne stations is 43 miles, of which 25 miles are not electrified.

On the section without electrification, I suspect that perhaps ten miles of diesel running would be needed.

Currently in a round trip, the trains run for 86 miles on diesel, but with MTU Hybrid PowerPacks and a third-rail capability, this could be reduced to around thirty miles, with no running in stations.

This would be a sixty-five percent reduction in diesel running.

Conclusion

The rail industry has only just started to look at the application of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

I’m pretty certain, that they’ll be used in some surprising applications.

 

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 4 Comments

Looking At The Mathematics Of A Class 170 Train With An MTU Hybrid PowerPack

From various sources like the Wikipedia entry for the Class 170 train and various datasheets and other Internet sources, I will try to get the feel of Class 170 train, that has been fitted with two MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

Assumptions And Source Data

For the purpose of this post, I shall make the following assumptions about the Class 170 train.

  • The train has two cars, each with their own engine.
  • The train has a capacity of 150 passengers.
  • The train weighs 90.41 tonnes.
  • The train has an operating speed of 100 mph.

After conversion each car will have MTU Hybrid PowerPack with a 6H 1800 engine.

The data sheet for the MTU Hybrid PowerPack with a 6H 1800 engine, indicates the following.

  • Up to four 30.6 kWh batteries can be added to each module.
  • Each battery weighs 350 Kg.
  • Various sizes of diesel engine can be specified.
  • The smallest is a 315kW unit, which is the same size as in a current Class 170 train.

If I assume that the two diesel engines weigh about the same, then any increase in train weight will be down to the batteries, the mounting, the traction motor and the control systems.

But the hydraulic system will be removed.

Calculation Of The Maximum Kinetic Energy

I will now calculate the maximum kinetic energy of a fully-loaded train, that is travelling at maximum speed.

  1. Assuming the average weight of each passenger is 90 Kg with baggage, bikes and buggies, the weight nof a full train becomes 103.91 tonnes
  2. The train is travelling at 100 mph.
  3. Using the Omni Kinetic Energy Calculator gives a kinetic energy of 28.84 kWh.

So even if only one battery is fitted to each engine, there will be 61.2 kWh of energy storage per train, which will probably be more than enough to handle the regenerative braking.

The hybrid PowerPack will probably add some extra weight to the train.

Even if I up the total train weight to 120 tonnes, the kinetic energy is still only 33.33 kWh.

So half this amount of energy can easily be stored in a 30.6 kWh battery in each car.

I would be very surprised, if this train needed a larger engine than the smallest 315 kW unit and more than one battery module in each car.

Does The MTU Hybrid PowerPack Work As A Series Hybrid?

In a series hybrid, the operation is as follows.

  • The diesel generator charges the battery.
  • The battery drives the train using the traction motor.
  • During braking, the electricity generated by the traction motor is returned to the battery.
  • If the battery is full, the regenerative braking energy is passed through resistors on the train roof to heat the sky.

There will also be a well-programmed computer to manage the train’s energy in the most efficient manner.

For a full explatation and how to increase the efficiency read the section on series hybrid, in Wikipedia.

I’m fairly certain that the MTU Hybrid PowerPack works as a series hybrid.

Will The Train Performance Be Increased?

I suspect the following improvements will be achieved.

  • Acceleration will be higher, as it seems to be in all battery road vehicles.
  • Braking will be smother and the rate of deceleration will probably be higher.
  • Station dwell times will be shorter.
  • Noise levels will be reduced.

This video explains the thinking.behind the MTU Hybrid PowerPack.

These trains will be liked by passengers, train operators and rail staff, especially if they enable faster services.

Will The MTU Hybrid PowerPacks Be Difficult To Install?

MTU built the original engines in the Class 170 trains and their must be well over two hundred installations in this class of train alone.

So in designing the PowerPack, it would be a very poor team of engineers, who didn’t design the PowerPack as almost a direct replacement for the existing engine,.

Fitting the new PowerPacks then becomes a question for the accountants, rather than the engineers.

As both a UK and a German project have been announced in the last few days, it looks likely that MTU have come up with a one PowerPack fits all their old engine installations solution.

Conclusion

This project could be a really successful one for MTU and their owner; Rolls-Royce.

 

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Alpha Trains Commits To Hybrid Retrofit For Diesel Fleet

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on Global Rail News.

This is the first paragraph.

Alpha Trains has signed a letter of intent with Rolls-Royce to retrofit its existing diesel train fleet with hybrid drive systems.

This involves using an MTU Hybrid PowerPack, from the same family as those, that will be used in the UK to upgrade the Class 170 trains. I talked about the latter project in Rolls-Royce And Porterbrook Launch First Hybrid Rail Project In The UK With MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

It certainly looks like Rolls-Royce have created the MTU Hybrid PowerPack for a worthwhile market.

This video explains Rolls-Royce’s thinking.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Rolls-Royce And Porterbrook Launch First Hybrid Rail Project In The UK With MTU Hybrid PowerPacks

The title of this post is the same as that on this Press Release from Porterbrook.

Porterbrook, Eversholt and the other train leasing companies have a problem, that can be turned into an opportunity to make money in a way, few will find unacceptable.

There are several fleets of trains in the UK, that are reasonably new and have plenty of life left in their basic structure, running gear and traction equipment.

But compared to modern rolling stock, they are like a twenty-year-old BMW, Jaguar or Mercedes. Good runners and comfortable, but not up to the standards, passengers, rail operators, rail staff and environmentalists expect.

So the train leasing companies are looking for ways to update their fleets, so that they can continue to earn money and satisfy everybody’s needs and aspirations.

Class 769 Train

Porterbrook started this innovation by taking redundant Class 319 trains and converting them into Class 769 trains, so they could be used on lines without electrification.

The picture shows one of Northern’s Class 319 trains.

Thirty-five of these trains have been ordered. So far, due to design and testing issues none have been delivered. Hopefully, as testing has now started, some will be in traffic before the end of the year.

This project could create upwards of fifty much-needed four-car bi-mode trains for running on partially-electrified routes.

Class 321 Hydrogen Train

Eversholt have also teamed up with Alstom to create a hydrogen-powered version of their Class 321 train.

This project could create around a hundred four-car 100 mph, zero-emission electric trains, for running on routes with no or only partial electrification.electrification.

The Four-Car High Speed Train

Everybody loves High Speed Trains and Scotrail and Great Western Railway  are taking a number of them and creating four-car quality trains to increase their rolling stock.

The picture shows a High Speed Train under test in Glasgow Queen Street station.

They are already running in Cornwall and they should be running in Scotland before the end of the year.

Updating The Class 170 Trains

The Press Release announces Porterbrook’s latest project and gives this picture.

There are 122 Class 170 trains on the UK rail network, which were built around twenty years ago. There are also nearly a hundred other Class 168, 171 and 172 trains with a similar design.

They are 100 mph trains, that are diesel-powered and some are used on long distances.

As a passenger, they are not a bad train, but being diesel, they are not that environmentally friendly.

The Class 172 trains, which are currently running on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, would surely be a much better train with a smoother electric transmission, that had regenerative braking. Although, as they have a mechanical transmission, rather than the hydraulic of the other Turbostars, this might not be possible.

On the other hand, West Midlands Trains will soon have a fleet of thirty-five Class 172 trains of various sub-types, so fuel savings could be significant.

This is from the Press Release.

Rolls-Royce and Porterbrook, the UK’s largest owner of passenger rolling stock, have agreed the delivery of MTU Hybrid PowerPacks that can convert Class 168 and Class 170 ‘Turbostar’ DMUs from diesel-only to hybrid-electric operation. Hybrid technology allows for the cleaner and quieter operation of trains in stations and through urban areas.

As I understand it, the current hydraulic traction system will be replaced by an electric one with a battery, that will enable.

  • Regenerative braking using a battery.
  • Battery electric power in urban areas, stations and depots.
  • Lower noise levels
  • Lower maintenance costs.

This should also reduce diesel fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Conclusion

The good Class 170 trains, are being improved and should give another twenty years of service.

How many other projects like these will surface in the next few years?

 

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brush Traction Signs Contract With Skeleton Technologies For Modules For Class 769 Trains

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

This is the first two paragraphs

Skeleton Technologies has announced that they have signed a contract with Brush Traction to supply SkelStart Engine Start Modules for all Porterbrook Bi Mode Class 769 trains.

The high-power density, safe and tiny size of the 24V SkelStart module were decided over other solutions during the feasibility stage to start the Auxiliary Power Supply (APS) units. Simply put, there was not enough room available for another solution.

The article then gives a few brief details on the SkelStart

Who are Skeleton Technologies?

They have a web site at www.skeletontech.com and there is a brief description on the home page.

Under a title of.

Powering Energy Savings With Ultracapacitors

There is this description.

Skeleton Technologies’ patented curved graphene is changing the world of energy storage. 

Our superior technology enables us to deliver ground-breaking energy storage solutions with market leading power and energy density. Our products are used across industries from automotive to aerospace and everything in between.

Curved graphene? I know about graphene, but I’d never heard of it being curved.

There is a Press Release on the Skeleton Technologies web site, which is entitled Skeleton Technologies Signs Contract with Brush Traction to Supply Ultracapacitors for All BMU Class 769 Prime Movers.

This gives a lot more details, including this brief description of size and weight.

The 24V SkelStart has the size of a regular car battery and with its 8kg weight, it solved the space restriction we had.

It looks to be a very simple application of a capacitor with the ability to hold a lot of charge.

One of their products is called a SkelMod 170V 53F Ultracapacitor Module.

The datasheet gives these details.

  • Voltage – 170 Volts
  • Capacitance – 53 Farads
  • Maximum Stored Energy – 0.2127 kWh
  • Weight – 77 Kg.

That is a lot of energy for a capacitor.

A 50 kWh capacitor suitable for a bus or train, with this energy density would weigh eighteen tonnes, so it’s a bit impractical for this type of application at present.

But who knows what will be possible in the near future?

Skeleton Technologies would already appear to have pushed capacitor design a long way.

Skeleton Technologies Are An Estonian Company

This surprised me at first! But why not?

An Aside

Somewhere in my past about the 1960s, I remember an electronic news item, where someone like AERE Harwell, had built a one Farad capacitor, that was house-sized. Noe we get 53 Farad in a suitcase.

Conclusion

I think we’ll eventually see supercapacitors big enough to replace lithium-ion batteries in a lot of applications.

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | 2 Comments

Swiss Pass And Swiss Pocket Timetables

I used a Swiss Pass on my three day trip to Switzerland.

Wikipedia describes it like this.

The Swiss Travel Pass allows unlimited travel on the Swiss public transport network (trains, buses, ships and tramways) for a certain number of days (3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive days), as well as free or discounted entry to most Swiss museums. Discounts apply to mountain transport (lifts, funiculars, cogwheel trains). Some mountain transport is free of charge.

The Swiss Travel Pass Flex works exactly like the Swiss Travel Pass, but can be used to travel on 3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive or non-consecutive days within one .

Research the pass you need before you go.

I bought mine from athe SBB ticket office in Zurich Airport.

It also came with a map, where it could be used.

 

In the picture, there are four of the mini-timetables that seem to be available at most major stations.

These timetables give the times of trains from the station to other major cities. They also give the return trains, so are ideal for planning a day out.

The train companies in the UK, should copy this.

One thing that I found out about a Swiss Pass after I bought it, is that you can buy extension tickets for a journey from the Swiss border to say somewhere like Innsbruck, which is a few kilometres further on. It’s a bit like the ticket, I’ll buy in a few minutes to extend my Freedom Pass to Rayleigh.

The Swiss Pass may be pricey, but it’s worth it and is probably a lot cheaper than hiring a car.

 

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Steelworm At Whitechapel Station

I took this picture at Whitechapel station.

It looks like steel’s equivalent of woodworm has been at work!

 

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

What Is Happening (Or Not!) At West Ealing Station?

I took these pictures at West Ealing station a few days ago.

There appears to be no work going on to finish the station for Crossrail.

There has also been no announcement about what is happening to the Greenford Branch.

Surely, if the bay platform were to be electrified, it would be the ideal place to charge a battery shuttle train to Greenford station.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Should We Exempt Low Alcohol Beer And Wine From The Age Regulations

I drink Marks & Spencer ).5% Southwold Pale Ale for four main reasons.

  • It is low alcohol and doesn’t interact with the Warfarin, that I am prescribed to control the INR of my blood, so I don’t have another stroke.
  • Because it is made with less barley, it appears to be gluten-free to my body.
  • It also has the proper taste of real beer.
  • It is brewed by Adnams in Suffolk and I started drinking their beers at fourteen under supervision of my father, whilst we played snooker in Felixstowe Conservative Club.

As my GP says, at 0.25 alcohol units a 500 ml bottle, you’d have difficult drinking enough to affect your health.

There is one annoying thing about it and that is buying it.

This morning, I bought three bottles in the M & S store at the Angel, where my family has been shopping since before the First World War.

As I usually do, I used one of the automatic tills and had to wait for a minute or so, whilst the assistant verified that I was over eighteen.

The store was busy and she was helping someone with another till.

I wonder what would happen at the checkouts, if there was no age check on low alcohol beer and wine.

  • It would obviously speed up the tills with some customers.
  • But would it have the affect of brewers and winemakers, making more quality low alcohol products?
  • And would these be purchased by those who knew they should cut their alcohol intake?

It’s probably one of those ideas, that would go down well in London boroughs like Barnet, Islington and Richmond, but how would it go down in places where alcohol was a necessary way of life for many?

How too, would such a drink fit with those of a Muslim faith?

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Food, Health | , , | 4 Comments