This article in the International Railway Journal is entitled JR Kyushu battery EMU to enter service in October.
This is said.
JAPAN’s Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) announced on August 24 that its pre-series Dual Energy Charge Train (Dencha) battery-assisted EMU will enter revenue service on the 11km Orio – Wakamatsu section of the Chikuho Line on October 19.
The two-car 819 series set draws power from the 20 kV ac 60Hz electrification system to feed a bank of onboard batteries, which give the train a wire-free range of up to 90km.
At least it can do 11 km. This is said about the train’s manufacture.
The 819 series is based on the existing 817 series EMU and was built by Hitachi at its plant in Kudamatsu in Yamaguchi prefecture.
Note the word Hitachi!
On the Hitachi Rail Europe web site, three new trains are mentioned.
All are A-trains and on all pages, the word battery is mentioned under power supply.
So will Scotrail’s new Class 385 trains have a battery capability?
Probably not initially!
But Hitachi have obviously been doing a lot of research into battery trains and the JR Kyushu is the first practical application.
Scotland’s rail system outside Edinburgh and Glasgow is not electrified, but it is well-known that Scotland’s Government would like more electrified services and also links to places like Leven and St. Andrews.
Both of these places, and there are probably others as well, are a few miles from a main line, that is very likely to be electrified.
So could we see a battery train charged as the JR Kyushu train on a main line, serving these branch lines on battery power?
I feel that the chance of this happening is very high.
Put a charging station, like a Railbaar at the terminal station and it could be done as soon as the train is built.
This is the title of a small article in the Sunday Times, which talks about Hitachi’s plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa on Anglesey.
Hitachi would build a proven commercial reactor, that could be built by 2025.
Why are we bothering to still even think about the gold-plated Franco-Chinese dead elephant at Hinckley Point?
Hitachi is a private company and have to live from good designs, technology and engineering, whereas those behind Hinckley Point are governments or their agencies.
When you consider that the last big project of Hitachi in the UK, was to build a factory at Newton Aycliffe to construct trains and it would appear that that has gone to the plans, I suspect that going for Wylfa and putting Hinckley Point out of its misery, would be a pair of decisions, that have the much lesser risk.
This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled Bombardier-Hitachi joint venture to bid for New Tube for London.
I think it makes sense for several reasons.
- The New Tube for London order is massive in that it will re-equip the some of the deep-level tube lines with state-of-the-art, air-conditioned and automated trains.
- Bombardier have lots of experience with dealing with Transport for London, in recent years.
- Hitachi haven’t built a complete train for London.
- Both companies have large factories in the UK.
- Over the next few years, if speculation is confirmed, Bombardier will be building a lot of Aventras for East Anglia, the Midland Main Line and Merseyside.
- Hitachi will also be building a lot of Class 800/801 trains.
- Hitachi have said, that both factories would produce the trains.
- Financially, a joint bid is probably better.
- As we are now in a post-Brexit world, accepting a bid from a European company would not be a good idea.
But I also feel that this could be a strategic partnership, where there is a good mix of experience, that combined with the UK’s undoubted skills in providing reliable and modern underground railways, could open up a world-wide market in the future, as other cities and regions in the world look to improve transportation in cities crowded with traffic.
I will finish this post with a little bit of speculation about what the New Tube for London will be like.
- Walk-through like the S-Stock built by Bombardier.
- More headroom for tall standees.
- Air-conditioning and other passenger comforts.
- Level access to all platforms.
- Wi-fi and mobile phone signals.
- USB ports in arm-rests.
- Lots of passenger information.
- Novel features, designed with the future in mind.
- Automated, at least to the standard of the Victoria Line.
- I doubt they will be driver-less like the Docklands Light Railway.
- A limited battery capability to get trains to the next station on power failure and allow depots to have less electrification for safety.
As these trains will still be in service past 2050, I think that we’ll see the best designers wanting to be associated with this project and the New Tube for London will benefit.
Eventually identical trains will be running on all lines, although some lines might have extra cars inserted.