The Anonymous Widower

A Battery-Electric Class 99 Locomotive

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I introduced the Class 99 locomotive, for which the first order was announced by Stadler and GB Railfreight today.

This was the start of that post, which I wrote in early March 2022.

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

GB Railfreight is planning to order a fleet of main line electro-diesel locomotives with a modular design which would facilitate future replacement of the diesel engine with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell module.

The rest of the article gives clues to the deal and the specification of the locomotives.

  • Negotiations appear to have started with Stadler for locomotives to be built at their Valencia plant.
  • Twenty locomotives could be ordered initially, with options for thirty.
  • The locomotive will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • They would be capable of hauling freight trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe, within two minutes of the times of a Class 66 locomotive.
  • They will be of a modular design, so that in the future, the diesel engine might be replaced by a battery or fuel cells as required and possible.

They have provisionally been called Class 99 locomotives.

Note the introductory paragraph of the Railway Gazette article.

GB Railfreight is planning to order a fleet of main line electro-diesel locomotives with a modular design which would facilitate future replacement of the diesel engine with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell module.

What sort of range and performance will this give to a Class 99 locomotive?

In Class 99 Electro-Diesel Locomotive Order Confirmed, I came to this conclusion.

It does appear that a design based around the latest version of a Caterpillar C175-16 diesel engine will be possible.

The easiest way to create a battery-electric Class 99 locomotive would be to replace the Caterpillar C175-16 diesel engine with the largest and most efficient batteries possible, add regenerative braking to battery and the best control system for the locomotive and the batteries, that engineers can devise.

These are my thoughts.

Range Of A Euro Dual On Diesel

Consider.

  • A Euro Dual locomotive has a 3,500 litre fuel tank.
  • A Euro Dual locomotive has a fuel consumption of 1039.3 L/hr.

This should allow the locomotive to run for about three hours and twenty minutes or about 250 miles.

Obviously, any electrification on the route, will increase the range.

Weight Of The Diesel Engine

This data sheet for the Caterpillar C175-16 diesel engine gives a weight of over twenty tonnes, which is certainly a lot of weight.

You’ve also got the weight of the fuel tank, which could also contain in the Euro Dual hold nearly three tonnes of diesel.

I will assume that the weight of a Caterpillar C175-16 diesel engine and the associated gubbins could be as high as 25 tonnes.

How Much Energy Could A Twenty Tonne Battery Hold?

In Innolith Claims It’s On Path To 1,000 Wh/kg Battery Energy Density, which was written two years ago.

This was my conclusion of that post.

I am led to believe these statements are true.

  • Tesla already has an energy density of 250 Wh/Kg.
  • Tesla will increase this figure.
  • By 2025, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries will be much closer to 1 KWh/Kg.
  • Innolith might achieve this figure. But they are only one of several companies aiming to meet this magic figure.

These figures will revolutionise the use of lithium-ion batteries.

I feel it is reasonable to go along with Tesla’s figure of 250 Wh/Kg, which gives a 5 MWh battery could replace the C175-16 diesel engine, if it had a total weight of 20 tonnes.

If the battery could have a total weight of 25 tonnes, the battery would have a capacity of 6.25 MWh.

It does look like the Caterpillar C175-16 diesel engine and the associated gubbins could be replaced by a substantial battery.

As the years go by, the capacity of the batteries will only grow.

Will Battery-Electric Class 99 Locomotives Have Regenerative Braking?

According to Wikipedia, Stadler Euro Dual locomotives do have regenerative braking, so it would seem likely, that this could be used to recharge the batteries, in addition to 25 KVAC overhead electrification, where it is available.

I will assume that battery-electric Class 99 locomotives will have regenerative braking.

How Long Could A Battery-Electric Class 99 Locomotive Run On Batteries?

Consider.

  • To have the performance of a Class 99 locomotive on diesel, the locomotive would need to output 2,800 kW.

Without regenerative braking this would give these figures.

  • A 5 MWh battery would run for at least one hours and 47 minutes.
  • A 6.25 MWh battery would run for at least two hours and 13 minutes.

Add in regenerative braking and short strategic lengths of electrification and large parts of the UK network would be opened up to electrified trains.

Conclusion

Stadler have probably done extensive simulations of the UK network with battery-electric Class 99 locomotives, so they would know the true potential of these locomotives.

April 29, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 6 Comments

Class 99 Electro-Diesel Locomotive Order Confirmed

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

This first paragraph gives details of the order.

GB Railfreight, leasing company Beacon Rail and Stadler have signed an agreement for the supply of 30 Class 99 six-axle electro-diesel locomotives for entry into service from 2025. The operator said they would the first electro-diesel locomotives capable of hauling heavy freight at main line speeds on the UK network.

The article also gives these technical details of the Class 99 locomotives.

  • Ability to operate under 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Up to 6,000 kW under electrification.
  • Maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph)
  • ‘high-power low-emissions’ Stage V diesel engine.
  • Tractive effort of up to 500 kN
  • The locomotives will be compatible with British the UK loading gauge and specifications.

This document on the Stadler web site is the specification for the Stadler Euro Dual locomotives, that have been sold to German operator; HVLE.

These are some technical details.

  • Ability to operate under 25 KVAC overhead electrification or 15 KVAC  German overhead electrification.
  • Up to 6,000 kW under electrification.
  • Maximum speed of 120 km/h
  • Caterpillar C175-16 Stage IIIB diesel engine.
  • Engine output of 2,800 kW
  • Tractive effort of up to 500 kN
  • A Euro Dual locomotive has a length of 23 metres
  • A Euro Dual locomotive has a 3,500 litre fuel tank.

Wikipedia gives details of a Stadler Class 68 locomotive, which is shown in this picture.

These are some details.

  • There are 34 Class 68 locomotives in service in the UK.
  • Caterpillar C175-16 Stage IIIB diesel engine.
  • Engine output of 2,800 kW
  • A Class 68 locomotive has a 5,000 litre fuel tank.
  • A Class 68 locomotive has a length of 20.5 metres.
  • It should be noted, that a Class 66 locomotive has an engine output of 2,500 kW.

These are my thoughts on the design and specification of the Class 99 locomotive.

The Diesel Engine

The Class 68 and the Euro Dual appear to have a diesel engine, with these specifications.

  • Caterpillar C175-16 Stage IIIB diesel engine.
  • Engine output of 2,800 kW

Whereas the Class 99 locomotive is stated as having a ‘high-power low-emissions’ Stage V diesel engine.

So have Stadler fitted the latest Caterpillar C175-16 Stage V diesel engine into a Class 99 locomotive?

This would surely be likely, as any reputable diesel engine company would strive to reduce the emissions of their engines and make them compatible with the latest regulations.

Will 2,800 kW Be Enough Power On Diesel?

If the Class 99 locomotive has 2,800 kW from the latest Caterpillar diesel engine, this is the same as for a Class 68 and the Euro Dual, so it is likely to be enough power.

It is also more power, than is available from a Class 66 locomotive.

What Will Be The Length Of The Class 99 Locomotive?

It does appear that the Class 68 locomotive is 20.5 metres long and the Euro Dual is 23 metres long.

But this is not really unexpected as the Euro Dual has two larger three-axle bogies.

I suspect to use the equipment layout of the Euro Dual, that the Class 99 locomotive could be 23 metres long.

What About The UK Loading Gauge?

When it came to designing the Class 68, 88 and 93 locomotives, Stadler had no difficulty fitting all the gubbins in a 20.5 metre package.

If I am right in surmising that a Class 99 locomotive will be longer because of its larger bogies, I suspect that modern computer-aided design will enable Stadler to create a locomotive, that will fit the UK loading gauge.

Conclusion

It does appear that a design based around the latest version of a Caterpillar C175-16 will be possible.

April 29, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Chiltern Class 68 Locomotive At Marylebone Station

As I was passing through Marylebone station, I took these pictures of a very clean Class 68 locomotive.

If I’m going to Birmingham, I generally use Chiltern, as often you get to travel in one of these well-restored Mark 3 coaches hauled by a Class 68 locomotive.

With the Mark 3 coach, you get a full size table and a large window to enjoy the countryside.

  • The Class 68 locomotives were all built by Stadler in Spain, within the last ten years.
  • The UK has a fleet of 34 Class 68 locomotives.
  • They are powered by a Caterpillar diesel engine.
  • The only problem with the trains is that the Class 68 locomotives are diesel.

But is Caterpillar working on a simple solution?

Search the Internet for “Caterpillar Hydrogen” and you find press releases and other items, like this press release, which is entitled Caterpillar to Expand Hydrogen-Powered Solutions to Customers.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, that Stadler and Caterpillar were working on a program to provide a solution to convert Class 68 locomotives to hydrogen.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stadler Reports ‘Best Year’ Since IPO

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

This is the first paragraph.

Stadler has reported record orders and earnings before tax for the 2021 financial year.

And these are a few statistics.

  • Orders were up by 28%.
  • Revenue was up 18 %.
  • Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was up 43 %.
  • EBIT margin rose to 6·2%.

Overall group profits was slightly down on the previous year due to exchange rate losses.

There is a note of caution.

However, it cautions that it is unlikely to achieve its target EBIT margin of 8 to 9% in 2023 as previously forecast, predicting instead that this would be achieved by 2024-25.

Overall the company is doing well and certainly producing the best trains in Europe.

March 21, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | | 4 Comments

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

GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

GB Railfreight is planning to order a fleet of main line electro-diesel locomotives with a modular design which would facilitate future replacement of the diesel engine with a battery or hydrogen fuel cell module.

The rest of the article gives clues to the deal and the specification of the locomotives.

  • Negotiations appear to have started with Stadler for locomotives to be built at their Valencia plant.
  • Twenty locomotives could be ordered initially, with options for thirty.
  • The locomotive will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • They would be capable of hauling freight trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe, within two minutes of the times of a Class 66 locomotive.
  • They will be of a modular design, so that in the future, the diesel engine might be replaced by a battery or fuel cells as required and possible.

They have provisionally been called Class 99 locomotives.

These are my thoughts.

EuroDual or UKLight?

Stadler make two types of bi-mode locomotives.

But the two types are closely related and open up other possibilities.

This paragraph from the Eurolight wikipedia entry, explains the various versions.

The type has been intentionally developed to support use on secondary lines without limiting power or speed performances, making it suitable for mixed traffic operations. Specific versions of the Eurolight have been developed for the United Kingdom market, and a 6-axle Co’Co’ machine for narrow gauge Asian markets, named UKLight and AsiaLight respectively. Furthermore, an electro-diesel locomotive derivative of the UKLight that shares much of its design, referred to as the Stadler Euro Dual, has also been developed and introduced during the late 2010s.

It looks like the customer can get the locomotive they want.

GB Railfreight would probably need locomotives to this specification.

  • Slightly narrower than a EuroDual, to fit the UK loading gauge.
  • Three-axle bogies to handle the weight of the larger locomotive.
  • A body bigger than the UK Light to be large enough for the diesel engine.
  • It would probably help if the locomotive could go anywhere that a Class 92 locomotive could go, so it could handle their duties if required.

This leads me to the conclusion that GB Railfreight will get a slightly narrower EuroDual.

Weight Issues

The weights of various locomotives are as follows.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – 129.6 tonnes
  • Euro Dual – 126 tonnes
  • Class 90 Locomotive – 84.5 tonnes
  • Class 92 Locomotive – 126 tonnes

All locomotives have six axles, except for the Class 90 Locomotive which has four.

I don’t think there will be any weight issues.

Power On Electricity

These are the power of the locomotives on electricity.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – Not Applicable
  • Euro Dual – Up to 7 MW
  • Class 90 Locomotive – 3.7 MW
  • Class 92 Locomotive – 5 MW

GB Railfreight can probably have what power is best for their routes.

Operating Speed On Electricity

These are the power of the locomotives on electricity.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – Not Applicable
  • Euro Dual – 100 mph
  • Class 90 Locomotive – 110 mph
  • Class 92 Locomotive – 87 mph

GB Railfreight can probably have what power is best for their routes, but I suspect they’d want it to be as fast as a Class 90 locomotive.

Power On Diesel

These are the power of the locomotives on diesel.

  • Class 66 Locomotive – 2.5 MW
  • Euro Dual – Up to 2.8 MW
  • Class 90 Locomotive – Not Applicable
  • Class 92 Locomotive – Not Applicable

To be able to handle trains, that a Class 66 locomotive is able to, 2.5 MW would probably suffice.

Could The Locomotives Use The Channel Tunnel?

I suspect that diesel locomotives are not liked in the Channel Tunnel because of all that flammable diesel.

But in the future, when there is a battery-electric variant, I would suspect that would be allowed.

In UK To France Automotive Train Service Launched, I talked about Toyota’s new service between Toton in England and Valenciennes in France via the Channel Tunnel. A locomotive with sufficient battery range might be ideal for this service, if it could handle the Market Harborough and Toton section, which is likely to be without electrification for some years.

Will The Locomotives Have Third Rail Shoes?

If their power on electricity is such that they can stand in for Class 92 locomotives, then there may be a need to fit all or some of the locomotives with third rail shoes.

As an example, they might be useful in taking freight trains to and from Southampton or the Channel Tunnel.

Conclusion

I feel that, as the locomotive must fit current routes and schedules, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the following specification.

  • UK loading gauge.
  • Co-Co
  • Class 90 locomotive power and operating speed on electricity of 3.7 MW and 110 mph.
  • Class 66 locomotive power and operating speed on diesel of 2.5 MW and 75 mph.
  • Ability to change between electric and diesel power at speed.
  • Ability to haul a heavy freight train out of Felixstowe.
  • Ability to haul passenger trains.

Stadler will have one eye on the fact, that if they get this design right, this order for up to fifty locomotives could be just the start.

It certainly seems a locomotive designed for the UK’s railway system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Union Pacific Railroad Makes Largest Investment In Wabtec’s FLXdrive Battery-Electric Locomotive

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Union Pacific.

This is the first three paragraphs.

Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) today announced the purchase of 10 FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives from Wabtec Corporation (NYSE: WAB). The order, which marks the largest investment in battery technology by a North American railroad, will upgrade Union Pacific’s rail yard infrastructure and support its commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“As an industry leader, Union Pacific is pioneering a major application of battery power in its rail yards,” said Rafael Santana, President and CEO for Wabtec. “Battery power is an ideal solution to reduce the environmental impact and costs of yard operations. Using the FLXdrive in the rail yard can significantly improve local air quality, as well as reduce noise by up to 70% for neighboring communities.”

The approximately 2.5-MWh locomotives are each powered solely by 7,000 battery cells, providing Union Pacific a zero-emission solution for its yard operations. The 10 FLXdrives will enable the railroad to eliminate 4,000 tons of carbon annually from its rail yards, the equivalent of removing 800 cars from the highway. The new locomotives will be manufactured in the United States with the first units being delivered to Union Pacific in late 2023.

It would appear that the major use will be in their rail yards.

There is also this second press release from Union Pacific, which is entitled Union Pacific Railroad To Assemble World’s Largest Carrier-Owned Battery-Electric Locomotive Fleet.

This is the first paragraph.

Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP) today announced plans to purchase 20 battery-electric locomotives for testing in yard operations. The combined purchases and upgrades to yard infrastructure are expected to exceed $100 million, representing the largest investment in battery-electric technology by a U.S. Class I railroad. The locomotives will be acquired from Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, and Wabtec Corporation (NYSE:WAB), two companies at the forefront of locomotive innovation, and will be the world’s largest carrier-owned battery-electric locomotive fleet in freight service.

The press release also says that Union Pacific will be netzero by 2050.

Conclusion

All of this action in the United States and Australia with battery-electric locomotives, from two manufacturers; Progress Rail and Wabtec, leads me to the conclusion, that proposals to create battery-electric locomotives from Class 66 or Class 68 locomotives in the UK, will soon be being discussed by the owners of the locomotives and Wabtec and Stadler.

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Future Of The Class 68 Locomotives

This post has been brought on by the comments to two posts I have written today.

Both Direct Rail Services and TransPennine Express are major users of Class 68 locomotives, with each having a fleet of fourteen locomotives.

In addition, Chiltern Railways has a smaller fleet of six locomotives.

  • Direct Rail Services use their locomotives for various passenger and freight duties, including the important one of moving nuclear material around the country.
  • TransPennine Express use their locomotives on their passenger services across the North of England.
  • Chiltern Railways use their locomotives on their passenger services between London and Birmingham and sometimes Oxford.

The design was a bespoke one by Stadler for Direct Rail Services and the first one entered service in 2014.

The picture shows one of TransPennine’s Class 68 locomotives at Scarborough. As the picture shows, they are a smart and purposeful-looking locomotive, that wouldn’t look out of place in the right livery on the front of the Royal Train.

It has some good features.

  • It is a 100 mph locomotive.
  • It seems to be well-liked by operators.
  • It can haul both passenger and freight trains.
  • It can act as a Thunderbird or rescue locomotive.

But they have three problems; emissions, noise and diesel.

This is from Wikipedia.

The locomotive’s propulsion system is compliant with Stage III A of the European emission standards, but not the more stringent Stage III B requirements.

But noise is a another problem and this has caused council action in Scarborough.

More important than emissions or noise, is the fact, that the locomotive is diesel-powered, so the fleet will probably have to be retired from the railway, at a time, when there is still useful life left in the locomotives.

The Class 68 locomotive is a member of the Stadler Eurolight  family, of which there are three versions.

All follow similar design principles, differing mainly in dimensions, with Spain, Taiwan and the UK ordering upwards of twenty-thirty locomotives.

The UKLight branch of the family has two other members.

The Class 88 locomotive is an electro-diesel version of the Class 68 locomotive and the development of the design is described in this extract from the Class 88 locomotive’s Wikipedia entry.

Amid the fulfillment of DRS’ order for the Class 68, Stadler’s team proposed the development of a dual-mode locomotive that could be alternatively powered by an onboard diesel engine or via electricity supplied from overhead lines (OHLE). Having been impressed by the concept, DRS opted to place an order for ten Class 88s during September 2013. Having been developed alongside the Class 68, considerable similarities are shared between the two locomotives, amounting to roughly 70 percent of all components being shared.

According to Wikipedia, the type had a smooth entry into service.

The Class 93 locomotive will be the next development of the UKLight branch of the family, when it is delivered in 2023.

It will be a tri-mode locomotive, that will be capable of being powered by 25 KVAC overhead electrification, an onboard diesel engine and batteries.

It will be a 110 mph locomotive.

It can haul both passenger and freight trains.

Rail Operations Group have ordered 30 locomotives.

This is the first paragraph of the section in Wikipedia called Specification.

The Class 93 locomotive has been developed to satisfy a requirement for a fast freight locomotive that uses electric power while under the wires, but is also capable of self-powered operations. Accordingly, it is capable of running on diesel engines, from overhead wires, or from its onboard batteries. These batteries, which occupy the space used for the braking resistors in the Class 88, are charged via the onboard transformer or regenerative braking; when the batteries are fully charged, the locomotive only has its friction brakes available. The diesel engine is a six-cylinder Caterpillar C32 turbocharged power unit, rated at 900 kW, conforming with the EU97/68 stage V emission standard. The batteries units are made of Lithium Titanate Oxide and use a liquid cooling solution, enabling rapid charge and discharge.

It is a truly agnostic locomotive, that can take its power from anywhere.

The last paragraph of the specification compares the locomotive to the Class 66 locomotive.

In comparison with the Class 66, the Class 93 can outperform it in various metrics. In addition to a higher top speed, the locomotive possesses greater acceleration and far lower operating costs, consuming only a third of the fuel of a Class 66 along with lower track access charges due to its lower weight. ROG has postulated that it presents a superior business case, particularly for intermodal rail freight operations, while also being better suited for mixed-traffic operations as well. Each locomotive has a reported rough cost of £4 million.

It is no ordinary locomotive and it will change rail freight operations in the UK.

I have a feeling that the Class 93 locomotive could be a lower-carbon replacement for the Class 68 locomotive.

But I also believe that what Stadler have learned in the development of the Class 93 locomotive can be applied to the Class 68 locomotive to convert them into zero-carbon locomotives.

It may be just a matter of throwing out the diesel engine and the related gubbins and replacing them with a large battery. This process seems to have worked with Wabtec’s conversion of diesel locomotives to FLXdrive battery-electric locomotives.

 

January 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Six Operators Award Joint Contract For Up To 504 Tram-Trains

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

A consortium of six German and Austrian transport bodies has awarded Stadler a framework contract for the supply and maintenance of up 504 tram-trains worth €4bn, the largest contract in the Swiss company’s history.

The VDV TramTrain framework contract was awarded on January 14 by Karlsruhe’s VBK and AVG, Saarbrücken’s Saarbahn Netz, Schiene Oberösterreich, the Land of Salzburg and Zweckverband Regional-Stadtbahn Neckar-Alb.

It includes a €1·7bn firm order for the supply of 246 Citylink tram-trains over 10 years from 2024, and the provision of 16 years of maintenance. There are options to order up to 258 more vehicles and to extend the maintenance to 32 years.

That will keep the factories running for a few years.

Note that all these Stadler Citylink tram-trains are similar to the Class 399 tram-trains, that run between Sheffield and Rotherham.

More Stadler Citylink tram-trains will start running in the next couple of years in Cardiff.

I can also envisage these tram-trains being used on the following projects in the UK, if they were to go ahead.

Note.

  1. Six are extensions to the Sheffield Supertram network.
  2. Three projects are extensions to the Manchester Metrolink.
  3. These are possible orders, that if the projects go ahead would likely have Stadler Citylink as the first choice of tram!
  4. All the tram-trains would be of a similar design.

How many other projects are under discussion in Europe?

Conclusion

Stadler have designed a tram-train that everybody likes and that generates orders.

I think Stadler will soon need to increase production of these Citylink tram-trains.

January 19, 2022 Posted by | Business, Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Flirt Akku And Class 755 Train Compared

This article on Focus Transport is entitled 224-kilometre Battery Range For FLIRT Akku – Stadler Sets World Record For Guinness Book Of Records.

These facts about the record run are given.

  • The route was from from Berlin to Warnemünde.
  • It appears to have been independently verified.
  • The distance was 224 kilometres or 139 miles.
  • This distance is more than London to Great Yarmouth via Norwich.
  • It is reported that the temperature was around zero, which is not very battery-friendly.

No mention was made in the article of the number of passengers on board or the average speed.

Various articles have stated that the Flirt Akku is a three-car train, but I was not sure, if it included a PowerPack car like the Class 755 train.

So I flew my virtual drone over the route and got this picture.

Compare the front end with this picture of a Class 755 train at Lowestoft.

And the side view with this diagram of the trains, that I clipped from Wikipedia.

I can come to these conclusions.

  • The two front ends are very different, although the basic layout of doors and windows appears the same.
  • The Akku seems to have a flatter side.
  • The Akku lacks the PowerPack of the British train.

It also looks like the Greater Anglia train has better step-free access between between train and platform. But then you never seem to find good step-free access on German trains.

Some extra information and thoughts .

Testing The Flirt Akku

This article on Railvolution is entitled FLIRT AKKU Research Project Completed.

The article comprehensively described the testing process  and gave more details of the train.

  • The train was running at 140 kph or 87 mph.
  • This speed is available from the catenary or battery.
  • Battery charging takes twenty minutes.
  • The train seats 154 passengers in a 2 + 2 configuration.

The train appears to be roughly the same size and performance as a three-car Class 755 train.

Range On A Battery-Electric Class 755 Train

The battery range needed on various Greater Anglia routes are as follows.

Ipswich and Cambridge – 41.3 miles

  • Ipswich and Felixstowe – 15.6 miles
  • Ipswich and Lowestoft – 48.9 miles
  • Ipswich and Peterborough – 71.2 miles
  • Norwich and Great Yarmouth – 18.3 miles
  • Norwich and Lowestoft – 23.5 miles
  • Norwich and Sheringham – 30 miles
  • Norwich and Stansted Airport – 53.7 miles
  • Marks Tey and Sudbury – 11.8 miles

Note.

  1. Cambridge, Ely, Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough are stations with full electrification.
  2. I suspect some services will need charging at the remote station.

It looks like to handle all routes will need a train with a range of around 80 miles or around 129 kilometres.

Conclusion

I don’t think that it would be impossible for Stadler to create a battery-electric Class 755 train with enough range.

December 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments