The Anonymous Widower

The Stadler Data Sheet For A Class 777 IPEMU

This data sheet is now available on the Stadler web site.

These are my observations.

Battery Charging

The datasheet says this about battery charging.

While an IPEMU is running on the electrified network, the batteries can be charged from the third rail, as well as through regenerative braking.

I’m glad to see the trains have regenerative braking, which in a train with frequent stops saves electricity.

Battery Charging Time

The datasheet says this about battery charging time.

IPEMUs can be recharged in less than 15 minutes.

That time compares favourably with Hitachi’s time.

Expected Battery Life

The datasheet says this about expected battery life.

The IPEMU battery can undergo more than 10,000 charge/discharge cycles, which is about four times the lifetime of a battery used in EVs.

Stadler also give the battery a minimum expected life of eight years.

Transition Between Electrification And Battery

The datasheet says this about this important transition.

Transition between electrified and non-electrified networks without interruption, reducing travel times.

Stadler certainly do the changeover from electric to diesel smoothly on a Class 755 train.

A Comparison To Tesla

This is a paragraph in the introduction of the data sheet.

The battery/vehicle weight-ratio of a Tesla is about 25 per cent, while the ratio of the IPEMU is only about 6 per cent.

I suspect the rolling resistance, is also a lot less, than the rolling resistance of a Tesla, due to the superior properties of steel wheels on rail, as opposed to rubber tyres on road.

Battery Range

The data sheet gives the following.

  • Installed battery capacity – 320 KWh
  • Maximum speed (IPEMU mode) – 62 mph
  • Range in battery operation – 34 miles
  • Maximum demonstrated range – 84 miles

Note.

  1. I would assume the 55 km given for range on the datasheet is a guaranteed range.
  2. The maximum demonstrated range is from New Merseyrail Train Runs 135km On Battery.
  3. All other figures are from the datasheet.

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.

I don’t think the terrain of Merseyrail’s services are much different from the Uckfield branch, so what are the figures for the Class 777 trains on battery power?

  • 55 km range – 2.353 kWh per vehicle mile
  • 135 km range – 0.952 kWh per vehicle mile

The train appears to be very miserly with electricity.

But if the attention to detail in the electrical system of the train is of the standard of a Swiss watch, I don’t think they are unreasonable.

Operation With 25 kV Overhead Electrification

The datasheet says nothing about this, but the Wikipedia entry for the Class 777 train says this under Design.

Because current regulatory policy makes it unlikely that future extensions of Merseyrail’s unshielded third rail traction power supply will be approved, Class 777 units will be delivered with provision for the future installation of 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead line traction equipment.

This is probably needed for charging at locations without third-rail electrification.

January 17, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

MOB To Launch Gauge-Changing Montreux – Interlaken GoldenPass Express

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

This is the explanatory paragraph.

December 11 will mark the start of a long-awaited through service by luxury train between Interlaken and Montreux. Operated by Montreux-Oberland Bahn and BLS Lötschbergbahn, the gauge-changing GoldenPass Express service is expected to become a major attraction between the two lakeside resorts that will help revive tourist travel in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These are some details of the service.

  • Journey time for the 115∙3 km trip through three cantons, including 11 intermediate stops and the change between 1 000 mm and 1 435 mm gauge at Zweisimmen, will be 3 h 15 min.
  • The trains have been built by Stadler.
  • There are three classes of accommodation; Prestige, First and Second.
  • Catering will be appropriate to the class.
  • Initially, there will be one train per day in each direction, but after June 2023, there will be four trains per day.
  • Fares range between £64 and £129 one-way depending on the class.
  • Tickets can be bought here.

It sounds like a trip worth doing.

I suspect that if this service is a success, then other countries will imitate it.

In the UK, we haven’t anything as grand as Montreux – Interlaken, but we do have the Settle and Carlisle Line.

  • Trains run between Leeds and Carlisle.
  • There are charter services, some hauled by steam locomotives.
  • The distance is a kilometre longer than Montreux – Interlaken.

In Through Settle And Carlisle Service Under Consideration, I look at a Department for Transport study for a Glasgow and Leeds service via the Settle and Carlisle Line.

If the Borders Railway is ever extended to Carlisle, an Edinburgh and Leeds service would be a possibility.

December 8, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do Cummins And Stadler Have a Cunning Plan?

Roger Ford in the December 2022 Edition of Modern Railways has written an article called Traction à la mode.

The article is a series of small sections, with the last section but one, labelled Monster.

Roger says this.

Finally, we come to the mighty Class 99, which is not at all flakey. In the past I have often commented on the UK railways’ prejudice against Co-Co bogies.

But with the ’99’ six axles will give 6MW (8,000 hp) at the rail, with contact patches to use all its 113 tonnes. Plus the extra axles mean it can accommodate the weight of a 2,400 hp Cummins diesel.

At the recent Rail Freight Group conference, Ross Shepherd, Chief Technical Officer of Beacon Rail, which has 30 locomotives on order for GB Railfreight, revealed a computer simulation which showed a Class 99 would save 36 minutes on a run timed for 1 hr 40 minutes for diesel traction. To quote Mr Shepherd:’It’s a monster and it’s coming.’

I have been doing some digging around the Internet and have found this bulletin from Cummins, which is entitled QSK60 For Rail.

The bulletin describes a Stadler locomotive with a Cummins QSK60 engine, which Stadler are delivering to Bolivia.

This paragraph introduces the locomotives.

Stadler and the Bolivian Ferroviaria Andina (Andean
Railway) FCA have signed a contract for the supply of the first three state-of-the art South American Light
Loco (SALi) locomotives, which will feature the
Cummins QSK60 engine.

The bulletin gives these details.

  • Locomotive type – diesel-electric
  • Track gauge – one metre
  • Axle load – 18 ton/axle
  • Power – 1865 kW – 2500 hp
  • Diesel engine – QSK60
  • Maximum Speed – 100 km/h
  • Starting Tractive Effort – 415 kN
  • Coupling – AAR
  • Fuel Tank – Up to 6000 litres

The bulletin is marked as Printed in UK, so does that mean that the engines will come from Darlington.

The weight of this locomotive is 98 tonnes and Roger says that the Class 99 locomotive is 113 tonnes. But the Class 99 locomotive is an electro-diesel locomotive with 6 MW available when running on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

It looks to me that Stadler have arranged the substantial electrical gubbins around the Cummins QSK60 diesel engine to create Beacon Rail’s monster.

Cummins And Hydrogen

Cummins is a company, that is big in hydrogen.

  • They own hydrogen fuel cell and electrolysis company; Hydrogenics.
  • They supply the fuel cells for Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint.

In Werner Enterprises Signs Letter Of Intent Planning To Secure 500 X15H Engines From Cummins, I said this.

More details of the X15H engine are given in this earlier press release, which is entitled Cummins Inc. Debuts 15-Litre Hydrogen Engine At ACT Expo, which has this first paragraph.

Today, Cummins Inc. debuted its 15-liter hydrogen engine at ACT Expo in Long Beach, California. This engine is built on Cummins’ new fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket each fuel type’s engine has largely similar components, and above the head gasket, each has different components for different fuel types. This version, with expected full production in 2027, pairs with clean, zero-carbon hydrogen fuel, a key enabler of Cummins’ strategy to go further faster to help customers reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

I certainly like the concept of a fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket, everything is similar, and above the head gasket, there are appropriate components.

It looks to me that if Stadler use the Cummins QSK60 diesel engine in their locomotives, then if Cummins develop a hydrogen version of the QSK60, Stadler can convert the locomotives to hydrogen, if Cummins follow their philosophy of a fuel-agnostic platform, with everything identical below the cylinder head gasket.

Over twenty years ago, I did a small data analysis task for Cummins in Darlington. One of their engineers explained to me how they would rearrange the components of diesel engines, so they fitted with the customer’s application. It looks to me that they have taken this philosophy a step further, so that the customer can have diesel or hydrogen engines in the same application, depending on what the end user wants.

In the case of the order from Beacon Rail for thirty Class 99 locomotives, they will be delivered as electro-diesel locomotives, but at some point in the future, when Cummins has developed the hydrogen engine, they will be able to be converted to electro-hydrogen locomotives.

These locomotives could be in front-line service for over forty years!

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Countdown To Swiss Record Attempt: Assembling A 1.91-kilometre Train

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

The article explains all the things that they do to achieve this ultra-long train, but they do leave out the why!

I can only assume, that they want to test the train software in the most extreme of circumstances and they feel that this is the best they can do!

October 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Battery Use In Class 777 Trains

In the November 2022 Edition of Today’s Railways, there is an article about Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains.

This extract describes the use of batteries on the trains.

All units have small batteries for moving independently around depots. Seven units are now being fitted with larger 160 kWh Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) batteries and associated traction converter in the leading coaches in space that could also be taken up by a transformer and AC equipment if some units were converted to dual /Battery operation (there would not be the space for tri-mode AC/DC/Battery operation). The cooling system for the battery lies has been roof-mounted. The battery boxes have been supplied by ABB and the batteries themselves by Toshiba. 777002 has been converted as a trial to prove the concept in 2021 but has now been converted back to an EMU.

Stadler explained that the battery life would normally be 8-10years but if the units are only used in battery mode for the 2 km between Kirkby and Headbolt Lane then that is expected to be more like 15 years. However the batteries have the potential to do around 40 miles, so Bidston-Wrexham is possible, with a 15 minute recharge time required at Wrexham before returning. Maximum speed in battery mode is 60 mph compared to 75mph as a DC EMU.

This is a map of how the network might look.

These are the lengths of routes, where the Class 777 trains might run on batteries.

  • Bidston and Wrexham Central – 27.5 miles – Possible with a charge at Wrexham Central.
  • Canada Dock Branch – 4.7 miles – Dual-voltage trains.
  • Chester and Crewe – 21.2 miles – Possible with a charge at Crewe
  • Chester and Runcorn East  – 13.1 miles – Possible without recharging
  • Ellesmere Port and Runcorn East  – 10.8 miles – Possible without recharging
  • Hunts Cross and Manchester Oxford Road – 27.1 miles – Possible with a charge at Manchester Oxford Road
  • Kirkby and Wigan Wallgate – 12.1 miles – Possible without recharging
  • Ormskirk and Preston – 15.4 miles – Possible without recharging

Note.

  1. There are a lot of possibilities to use Class 777 trains with batteries.
  2. Charging might be needed at only three stations; Crewe, Manchester Oxford Road and Wrexham Central.
  3. Four route extensions are possible without charging.

Merseyrail are going to have plenty of uses for the sixty trains, that they have on option.

Train Efficiency 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.

Consider.

  • The Class 777 train is a four-car train, but is only five metres longer than a three-car train.
  • So applying Ian’s formula, it seems that to do forty miles, the battery will be between 480 and 800 kWh.
  • If it is mathematically like a three car train, it seems that to do forty miles, the battery will be between 360 and 450 kWh.

A 160 kWh battery is obviously too small.

But the extract says that the batteries are fitted in the leading coaches, so can we assume that each battery train has two leading coaches and two batteries.

Does the battery train have a battery capacity of 320 kWh?

  • Assuming it does, it would appear that after using Ian’s formula for a four-car train gives a figure of 2 kWh per vehicle mile.
  • A three-car train gives a figure of 2.67 kWh per vehicle mile.

I suspect that these low figures are down to good engineering and a very efficient electrical system on the train.

But then I did write Stadler FLIRT Akku Battery Train Demonstrates 185km Range.

Conclusion

These trains are going to set new standards for a city metro.

October 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

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