The Anonymous Widower

Discontinuous Electrification Through Derwent Valley Mills

One big problem area of electrification on the Midland Main Line could be North of Derby, where the railway runs through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills. There might be serious objections to electrification in this area.

But if electrification were to be installed between Leicester and Derby stations, the following would be possible.

  • The Midland Main Line would be electrified at East Midlands Hub station.
  • Power could be taken from High Speed Two’s supply at East Midland Hub station, even if High Speed Two is not built in full.
  • Battery-electric trains could do a return trip to Nottingham from an electrified East Midlands Parkway station, as it’s only sixteen miles in total.

I am sure, that Hitachi’s Class 810 trains could be upgraded to have a of perhaps twenty-five miles on battery power, as this fits with Hitachi’s statements.

North of Derby, there would be electrification on the following sections.

  • Derby station and South of the heritage-sensitive section at Belper station.
  • Sheffield station and North of the heritage-sensitive section at Duffield station.

Milford Tunnel, which has Grade II Listed portals and is part of the World Heritage Site would not be electrified.

Belper and Duffield stations are 2.6 miles or 4.8 kilometres apart.

I believe it could be arranged that there would be no electrification in the sensitive section, where the Heritage Taliban might object.

The Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train

Hitachi will start testing their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train next year.

The train is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that is has a gap-jumping range of 5 km, which would handle the gap between Belper and Duffield stations.

CrossCountry Services Between Derby And Sheffield

CrossCountry operate the following services between Derby and Sheffield through Milford Tunnel and the World Heritage Site.

  • Plymouth and Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central
  • Southampton/Reading and Newcastle

CrossCountry would need new trains and one of the current Hitachi Class 802 trains could handle this route and use electrification where it exists.

A five kilometre gap will be no big obstacle to designing a battery-electric train for these CrossCountry services.

Freight Trains

In Will Zero-Carbon Freight Trains Be Powered By Battery, Electric Or Hydrogen Locomotives?, I came to this conclusion.

In the title of this post, I asked if freight locomotives of the future would be battery, electric or hydrogen.

I am sure of one thing, which is that all freight locomotives must be able to use electrification and if possible, that means both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail. Electrification will only increase in the future, making it necessary for most if not all locomotives in the future to be able to use it.

I feel there will be both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric locomotives, with the battery-electric locomotives towards the less powerful end.

Hydrogen-electric will certainly dominate at the heavy end.

These locomotives would be able to handle the section of the Midland Main Line through Derwent Valley Mills.

 

December 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

More On Batteries On Class 802 Trains

In the December 2021 Edition there’s an article called Battery Trial For TPE ‘802’.

Class 802 trains are now involved in two battery trials.

This article puts some flesh of the bones of the two trials.

It is hoped that replacing one diesel engine (generator unit) with a battery pack will enable the following.

  • Reduction of carbon emissions by at least 20 %.
  • Reduction of fuel consumption.
  • The ability to rely on battery power when entering and leaving stations to reduce noise pollution and emissions.

This paragraph explains a possible way the trains will be operated.

Another option is to use the battery to provide ‘classic’ hybridisation efficiency, allowing most diesel running to be done fuel-efficiently under two engines rather than three. In this case, the battery module would provide top-up power for peak demand and give regenerative braking capability when operating in diesel mode, which the trains currently do not have.

This is one of the aims of the GWR trial and I suspect anybody, who has owned and/or driven a hybrid car will understand Hitachi’s thinking.

The next paragraph is very revealing.

To fully test the 6m-long, 2.2m-wide battery module, the intention is for it to be flexibly programmable in order for different approaches to charging, including from the overhead line power supply, diesel engines and during braking , to be evaluated.

It looks to me that Hyperdrive Innovation will earn their fees for the battery design and manufacture.

This picture shows the underneath of a Class 802 train.

Note.

  • The car is 26 metres long
  • The car is 2.75 metres wide.
  • The MTU 12V 1600 diesel engines, fitted to a Class 802 train, each weigh around two tonnes.
  • The engines have a power output of 700 kW

I would think that the 6 x 2.2 m battery would fit under the car easily.

As an engineer, who has evaluated all sorts of weight and balance problems, I would make the battery similar in weight to the diesel engine. This would mean that the existing mountings for the diesel engine  should be able to support the battery pack. It would also probably mean that the handling of a car with a diesel engine and one with a battery pack should be nearer to being identical.

Tesla claim an energy density of 250 Wh/Kg for their batteries, which would mean a battery with the weight of one of the diesel engines could have a capacity of around 500 kWh.

As a Control Engineer, I believe that Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation have a tricky problem to get the algorithm right, so that the trains perform equally well under all conditions. But with a good simulation and lots of physical testing, getting the algorithm right is very much a solvable problem.

The article says this about the reliability of the diesel engines or generator units (GU) as Hitachi call them.

Whilst reliability of the generator units (GU) has improved, operators of the bi-mode sets still report frequent issues  which see sets ending their daily diagram with one out of use.

I wonder, if battery packs will improve reliability.

From statements in the article, it looks like Hitachi, MTU and the train operating companies are being cautious.

The article also says this about the design of the battery packs.

The battery pack has been designed so it is a like-for-like replacement for a GU, which can maintain or improve performance, without compromising on seats or capacity.

I have always said it would be plug-and-play and this would appear to confirm it.

How Will The Batteries Be Charged?

I showed this paragraph earlier.

To fully test the 6m-long, 2.2m-wide battery module, the intention is for it to be flexibly programmable in order for different approaches to charging, including from the overhead line power supply, diesel engines and during braking , to be evaluated.

GWR and TPE run their Class 802 trains to several stations without electrification. and they will probably need some method of charging the battery before leaving the station.

This is Hitachi’s infographic for the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Note.

  1. This infographic was published with the Hitachi press release announcing the development of the tri-mode train for GWR.
  2. One diesel engine has been replaced by a battery pack.
  3. Charging the battery can be under wires or 10-15 minutes whilst static.
  4. At some stations like Exeter St. Davids, Penzance, Plymouth or Swansea, heavily-laden services might need the assistance of batteries to get up to operating speed.

The infographic released with the Hitachi press release announcing the trials for TPE.

It is similar, but it says nothing about charging.

So how will these trains be charged in stations like Hull, Middlesbrough. Penzance, Scarborough and Swansea, so they leave on their return journey with a full battery?

Consider.

  • The formation of a five-car Class 802 train is DPTS-MS-MS-MC-DPTF.
  • Pantographs appear to be on both driver cars.
  • The middle three cars have diesel engines.
  • Only the middle three cars have traction motors.
  • There is probably a high-capacity electrical bus running the length of the train, to enable electricity to power all the cars from either or both paragraphs, when running on an electrified line.

The simplest way to charge the batteries would probably be to install a short lengthy of 25 KVAC overhead electrification in the station and then to charge the batteries the driver would just raise the pantograph and energise the electrical bus, which would then feed electricity to the batteries.

I wrote about Furrer + Frey’s Voltap charging system in Battery Train Fast Charging Station Tested. This charging system would surely work with Hitachi’s designs as batteries can be charged from overhead electrification.

Conclusion

I suspect that Hitachi will achieve their objectives of saving fuel and cutting emissions.

But there is more than this project to just replacing one diesel engine with a battery pack  and seeing what the savings are.

It appears that the battery packs could have an effect on train reliability.

If the battery packs are truly like-for-like with the diesel engines, then what will be effect of replacing two and three diesel engines in a five-car Class 802 train with battery packs.

Will it be possible to develop an ability to setup the train according to the route? It’s only similar to the way Mercedes probably set up Lewis Hamilton’s car for each circuit.

But then the speed Formula One cars lap Silverstone is not that different to the maximum speed of a Hitachi Class 802 train.

 

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Could The Standedge Tunnels Be Part Of A High Speed Line?

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Warrington Borough Council React To Integrated Rail Plan, where this is said about improvements between Liverpool and Manchester via Warrington.

One such promise is the delivery of a new high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and Marsden as part of NPR.

The IRP will also introduce a fully electrified upgraded line between Liverpool and Warrington as part of NPR.

Note NPR is Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Where Is Marsden?

This Google Map shows the rail line between the Standedge Tunnels and Marsden station.

Note.

  1. Standedge Tunnels and the Visitor Centre in the West.
  2. Marsden station in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The railway between them is the Huddersfield Line.
  4. The distance between Marsden station and the Eastern Portals of the Standedge Tunnels is about a mile.

Huddersfield station is seven miles to the East of Marsden station.

The Eastern End Of The Standedge Tunnels

This Google Map shows the Eastern end of the Standedge tunnels.

Note.

  1. This is a 3D image tilted to give a possibly better view.
  2. Only a double-track railway and a canal tunnel are in daily use.
  3. There are two other disused but intact single-track rail tunnels.
  4. I suspect that the Tunnel End Reservoir keeps the canal water at the right level.

It looks to me that the Standedge Tunnels will be part of the proposed high speed route.

Greenfield Station

Greenfield station is to the West of the Western portal of the Standedge tunnels.

The distance between Greenfield and Marsden stations is six miles.

The Standedge Tunnels

Wikipedia has a very comprehensive description of the canal tunnel and the three rail tunnels that form the Standedge tunnels complex.

These are points from the entry.

  • The canal tunnel is the oldest and was opened in 1811.
  • The two single-track rail tunnels were opened in 1848 and 1871
  • The double-track rail tunnel opened in 1894.
  • The rail tunnels were all built using the canal tunnel for access.
  • All the tunnels are parallel to each other.
  • The tunnels are level.
  • All tunnels appear to be connected together with cross passages.
  • For safety reasons some diesel-powered boats are towed through the canal tunnel using electric tugs.
  • The railway tunnels were the only level section of the route and were fitted with water troughs for steam engines.
  • Drainage of the rail tunnels appears to be good, with water draining into the canal.
  • Only the 1894 tunnel is in use by trains, but all three rail tunnels are maintained.
  • The 1848 tunnel can be used for emergency access and is accessible to fire engines and ambulances.

The complex appears to be a masterpiece of nineteenth century engineering.

There are several factors that could enable the conversion of the rail tunnels into a high-capacity modern railway with speeds up to at least 100 mph.

  • The tunnels are level.
  • The tunnels are well-drained.
  • The access to the tunnels is good.
  • Slab track, which allows higher speeds could be installed in the tunnels, as it was in the Bowshank Tunnel on the Borders Railway.

But the biggest factor could be the possibility of using battery-electric trains to avoid electrification of the main lines, which as now would probably be in the double-track tunnel.

This Hitachi infographic describes their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, which is based on a Class 802 train and they are developing in partnership with TransPennine Express.

Note.

  1. Greenfield and Marsden stations are only six miles apart.
  2. The tunnels are only a few metres longer than 5000 metres.
  3. The train may only be able to cover 5 km now, but I believe this could be increased.

I also wonder, if the electrification on either side could get as close to the tunnel as possible.

This would enable trains to drop pantograph at speed and switch to battery power a few metres from the tunnel and get to the other side using a mix of battery-power and kinetic energy. Once under the wires at the other side of the tunnel and they had slowed to a safe speed at which they could raise the pantograph, it would be raised and trains would continue using the electrification.

The operating speed would probably be determined by any curves at the ends of the straight and level tunnel.

This method of operation may be OK for expresses, but what about other passenger and freight trains?

I wonder, if it would be possible to put a third track in one of the other rail tunnels.

  • Slab-track would probably be installed.
  • This third track could be electrified.
  • It would be signalled to allow bi-directional running.

This by-pass tunnel could keep the main lines free for the expresses.

Conclusion

I am fairly sure that the Standedge Tunnels could be incorporated in a high speed line.

 

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Electrifying Derwent Valley Mills

Under the latest plans the Midland Main Line will be electrified.

One problem is electrifying the line through the World Heritage Site of Derwent Valley Mills.

This Google Map shows the Midland Main Line between Belper and Duffield stations.

Note.

  1. Belper with its station is at the North of the map.
  2. Duffield station is at the South of the map.

In the middle of the map the railway line disappears into Milford Tunnel.

Wikipedia says this about the portals of the tunnel.

Both portals are grade II listed, being part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

I doubt that the Heritage Taliban would allow the tunnel to be electrified, as they wouldn’t want wires near the tunnels.

But between Belper and Duffield stations is only 4.2 kilometres.

This Hitachi infographic shows their Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, which I described in Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express.

Note that the train can cover gaps of 5 km.

The Class 810 trains, that will be used by East Midlands Railways will have four diesel engines and I’m certain these trains will be able to be retrofitted to be Intercity Battery Hybrid Trains.

The electrification of the line will be discontinuous with no wires between Belper and Duffield stations.

Express trains going between Derby and Sheffield will go through the following procedure.

  • Arrive at Duffield station with a full battery, after using the electrification from Derby and the South.
  • Drop the pantograph in the area of Duffield station and switch to battery power.
  • Proceed through Milford tunnel at an appropriate speed.
  • Once under the electrification again at Belper station, they would raise the pantograph and switch to using the electrification.

The problem of electrification of Milford tunnel in the area of the World Heritage Site has been neatly side-stepped.

 

 

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Grand Central Going To Order Some Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Trains?

I ask this question because I’ve just looked at the Hitachi infographic for the Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, that I wrote about in Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express

Note that in the background of the image Hitachi Grand Central can be seen.

Looking at Grand Central‘s routes I can say the following.

  • The Sunderland service uses the fully-electrified East Coast Main Line to the South of Northallerton.
  • The Bradford service uses the East Coast Main Line to the South of Shaftholme Junction.
  • The Sunderland service runs for 47.4 miles on lines without electrification.
  • The Bradford service runs for 47.8 miles on lines without electrification.
  • The trains run at 125 mph on East Coast Main Line.
  • Each service has around half-a-dozen stops, most of which are on lines without electrification.

Grand Central run the services using Class 180 diesel trains.

I think there are two possibilities for new trains.

Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train

This train would be similar to the Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train shown in the infographic.

  • It would be designed to run efficiently on diesel.
  • The train could run at 140 mph on electricity and with a signalling update.
  • The claimed extra performance could speed up the services.
  • Batteries would be used in stations.

There would be a worthwhile saving in fuel and less carbon emissions.

Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train With A Larger Battery

This would be similar to the standard train, but with a larger battery.

  • Battery range would be sufficient to cover the lines without electrification.
  • Charging would need to be installed at Bradford Interchange and Sunderland stations.
  • The other two diesel engines might be replaced with batteries.
  • No diesel would be used.
  • The train could run at 140 mph on electricity and with a signalling update.
  • The claimed extra performance could speed up the services.
  • Batteries would be used in stations.

There would be no fuel costs and zero emissions.

In Grand Central Opts For Split And Join, I wrote about Grand Central’s application to run more services that had been reported in the April 2018 Edition of Modern Railways in an article that is entitled Grand Central Applies For Extra Services.

If Grand Central are still interested in expanding and splitting and joining, then the Hitachi trains, which have a proven ability in this area would fit the requirement.

In

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Hitachi Rail.

The press release starts with these three points.

  • Hitachi Rail, Angel Trains and TransPeninne Express (TPE) agree to trial retrofitting battery on intercity train
  • Trial, starting next year, can cut fuel usage by at least 20% and reduce emissions on Transpennine network from 2022 onwards
  • Tri-mode service can cut noise pollution in urban areas and improve air quality.

Hitachi also point to this infographic.

This very much looks to be a step forward from the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train that was announced in December 2020 in this press release from Hitachi which is entitled Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%.

The Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train is described in this Hitachi infographic.

The specifications are very similar, except for the following.

  • The battery range is given as five kilometres.
  • Fuel savings are up to 30% instead of at least 20%.
  • A performance increase of 30 % is claimed.
  • The upgrade appears to be able to be fitted to Hitachi intercity trains, as opposed to a straight replacement of one engine by batteries.

It looks to me, that Hitachi have been working hard to improve their design.

I think this paragraph of the press release is key.

The trial will see a diesel engine replaced by batteries to help power a five-carriage train, along with the two remaining engines. The power provided by the batteries will help to reduce the amount of fuel required to operate the train.

Hitachi don’t say, but I suspect the trains and their batteries have a lot of energy saving features.

  • Regenerative braking is already used to power some services like lighting and air-conditioning on the trains.
  • But I suspect regenerative braking will also be used to recharge the batteries.
  • A sophisticated computer system will drive the train in the most optimal manner.
  • Hopefully, diesel will only be used as a last resort.

Features like these and others will enable the trains to jump gaps in the electrification. As more and more tricks are added and batteries hold more charge, the gaps the trains will be able to cross will get larger.

Five kilometres might not sound much, but I think it could be surprisingly useful.

I will use an example from the Midland Main Line to illustrate how the trains and discontinuous electrification might work.

In Discontinuous Electrification Through Leicester Station, I described the problems at Leicester station and how discontinuous electrification could solve the problem.

The following is a modified extract from that post.

This Google Map shows the bridge and the Southern end of the station.

It looks to me, that Leicester station and the road, would have to be closed to traffic for some time, if the bridge were to be rebuilt, to allow the erection of electrification through the area. Leicester and all train passengers would love that!

A solution could be discontinuous electrification.

  • The electrification from the South, would finish on the South side of bridge.
  • The electrification from the North, would finish at a convenient point in Leicester station or just to the North.
  • Electric trains would cover the gap of up to five kilometres on battery power.

Note.

Pantographs could be raised and lowered, where the wires exist.

Trains would probably use a stopping profile in Leicester station, that ensured they stopped with full batteries.

This would mean they had enough electricity to get back up to speed and reconnect to the electrification on the other side of the station.

To get an idea at how long five kilometres is in the Centre of Leicester, this Google Map shows the Leicester station.

Note that the platforms are around three hundred metres long.

In other words the electrification can be kept well away from the station and its troublesome bridge.

How much money would be saved and disruption avoided?

Application To The TransPennine Express Routes

These are the various routes, where Class 802 trains could be used.

Liverpool Lime Street And Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough Or York

Sections are as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 31.7 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Diesel
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles – Diesel
  • Leeds and York – 25.6 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • York and Newcastle – 80.2 miles – Electrified

Note.

  1. All services take a common route between Liverpool Lime Street and York.
  2. A surprising amount is electrified.
  3. A further 42 miles are being electrified.
  4. The 3 km Morley Tunnel between Dewsbury and Leeds might not be electrified.
  5. The 5 km  Standedge Tunnel between Huddersfield and Stalybridge might not be electrified.

It looks to me that the 5 km battery range will avoid electrification of two long Victorian tunnels.

Manchester Airport And Newcastle Or Redcar Central

Sections are as follows.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester Victoria – 13.2 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Diesel
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles – Diesel
  • Leeds and York – 25.6 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • York and Newcastle – 80.2 miles – Electrified
  • Northallerton and Redcar Central – 29 miles – Diesel

The route goes through the Morley and Standedge tunnels.

Manchester Piccadilly And Hull

Sections are as follows.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Stalybridge – 7.5 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Diesel
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles – Diesel
  • Leeds and Selby – 21 miles – Diesel
  • Selby and Hull – 31miles – Diesel

The route goes through the Morley and Standedge tunnels.

Manchester Piccadilly And Huddersfield

The route goes through the Standedge tunnel.

Huddersfield And Leeds

The route goes through the Morley tunnel.

Manchester Airport And Cleethorpes

The Hope Valley Line which is part of this route has three tunnels.

Perhaps they will use a bit of diesel to get through Totley.

The Future

This paragraph sums up what Hitachi and Angel Trains could see as a possible future direction.

Once complete, the trial provides a pathway for Hitachi Rail, the train builder and maintainer, and Angel Trains, the train’s owner to develop plans to retrofit batteries to the wider fleet.

These plans will probably go in the directions like decarbonisation, more efficient operation and better standards for passengers.

Conclusion

This looks like a solution that has been helped by real ale in an appropriate hostelry.

  • The battery range has been chosen so Network Rail don’t necessarily have to electrify the tunnels.
  • Full electrification can be used either side of the tunnels.
  • Will any stations not be electrified. After all if the trains are using battery power in stations do they need electrification?
  • It might be useful to have some more bi-mode freight locomotives, that could traverse the tunnels on diesel or batteries.

Hitachi and Network Rail certainly seem to be cooking up a solution.

 

 

 

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments