The Anonymous Widower

More Trains To Carmarthen

The last time, I looked at the number of GWR trains to Carmarthen its Wikipedia entry, it was just a couple.

Today, one train per hour (tph) is shown between London Paddington and Swansea, with this supplementary information.

  • 7 trains per day continue to Carmarthen, calling at Gowerton (limited), Llanelli, Pembrey & Burry Port, Kidwelly (limited) and Ferryside (limited)
  • On Summer Saturdays, 2 trains per day run to Pembroke Dock, calling at all stations between Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock

In Regulator Approves New Grand Union Train Service From Carmarthen To London Paddington, I talked about the plans of Grand Union Trains to run five trains per day (tpd) between London Paddington and Carmarthen.

This would appear to give a total of twelve tpd between London Paddington and Carmarthen.

This page on the Crown Estate web site is entitled Celtic Sea Floating Offshore Wind, where this is said.

The Government has set an ambition to deliver up to 5GW of floating wind by 2030, with rapid expansion anticipated thereafter.

At The Crown Estate, we are committed to helping the UK achieve its net zero ambitions. To support this, we are excited to deliver a new leasing opportunity in the Celtic Sea for the first generation of commercial-scale floating offshore windfarms – unlocking up to 4GW of new clean energy capacity by 2035, kick-starting industry in the region, and providing power to almost four million homes.

We will be inviting full commercial scale projects up to 1GW, which may be developed in a phased or ‘stepping stone’ approach. Recognising the need to develop the UK supply chain and supporting infrastructure for this nascent technology, this approach is deliberately intended to provide opportunities for growth and investment. This will also facilitate the co-ordination of the necessary infrastructure, such as ports and grid connections, all of which are key to the sustainable development of the UK floating wind sector over the long term.

This leasing opportunity will provide the foundation for greater capacity in the future and help establish an exciting new industrial sector for the UK, creating opportunities for significant new investment in jobs, skills and infrastructure for the communities onshore.

It appears to me, that Great Western Railway and Grand Union Trains both believe that there will be large increase in demand for rail travel between London Paddington and Carmarthen and also along the South Wales Coast.

Grand Union Trains are also proposing the building of a new parkway station at Parc Felindre North of Swansea.

But then this area of South Wales and the Celtic Sea, has the four things needed for the development of up to 5 GW of offshore wind; a lot of wind, a large area of empty sea, steel and deep water ports to assemble all the floating wind turbines.

A Zero-Carbon High Speed Railway Between London Paddington And Carmarthen

Consider.

  • The Great Western Railway between London Paddington and Carmarthen is 222.5 miles and trains take around three hours and fifty minutes, which is an average speed of 58 mph.
  • Between Bristol Parkway and Reading stations, the operating speed is 125 mph.
  • In South Wales, the operating speed is generally between 70 and 100 mph.
  • Only the 77.4 miles between Cardiff Central and Carmarthen via Swansea is not electrified.

There is probably scope to increase the operating speed using digital signalling and by improving the track.

I would suspect that a time between London Paddington and Carmarthen of under three-and-a-half hours is possible.

The Range Of Battery-Electric Trains

Hitachi have not been specific about the zero-carbon range of their Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

In Stadler FLIRT Akku Battery Train Demonstrates 185km Range, I talk about Stadler’s record-braking Battery-electric; Akku, which covered 185 km or 115 miles.

I suspect that Hitachi’s engineers  and those at their battery suppliers; Turntide Technology will be ultra-competitive, so I wouldn’t be surprised that the zero-carbon range of the Hitachi train is very competitive to the Stadler FLIRT Akku.

A hundred mile range would allow electric services to be run on these routes.

  • Cardiff and Carmarthen – 77.4 miles
  • Chippenham and Bristol Temple Meads and return – 48.8 miles
  • Chippenham and Bristol Western-super-Mare and return – 86.9 miles
  • Swindon and Cheltenham Spa and return – 86.5 miles
  • East Coast Main Line and Hull and return – 72.2 miles
  • Plymouth and Penzance – 79.5 miles
  • Taunton and Newbury – 89.6 miles
  • York and Scarborough and return – 84.1 miles

I am fairly sure that Hitachi will aim for at least a hundred mile battery range for their Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

  1. This would be competitive with other train manufacturers like Stadler and Siemens.
  2. They would handle a lot of important routes.
  3. With development they could probably handle Edinburgh and Inverness.

I can’t wait to have a ride.

June 8, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hitachi Rail Names Preferred Supplier For Battery System Development For UK Trial

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hitachi Rail UK is continuing its commitment to electrification and sustainability as it has teamed with a UK based Technology firm to design and supply its traction and battery systems for its intercity battery train trial which it hopes to run in the future.

Working with the North East England Partnership and Turntide Technologies, Hitachi UK Rail are working towards a UK trial for its battery technology which is engineered to reduce emissions and fuel costs. It is hoped, that if successful, it’ll advance the UK’s position as a global leader in battery train technology.

Note.

  1. Turntide Technologies took over Hyperdrive Innovation.
  2. Turntide Technologies have designed and built systems for JCB.

Up until now, we have been told very little about the batteries.

I have the following questions.

Is The Battery System In The Class 803 Trains For Lumo By Turntide Technologies/Hyperdrive Innovation?

The Wikipedia entry for Lumo, says this about the design of the Class 803 train.

Services are operated by a fleet of 125 mph (200 km/h) Class 803 electric multiple unit trains, ordered in March 2019 at a cost of £100 million, financed by the rail leasing company Beacon Rail.[15] While based on the same Hitachi AT300 design as the Class 801 Azuma trains operated on the East Coast Main Line by franchised operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER), they are not fitted with an auxiliary diesel engine, but instead feature batteries intended solely to power onboard facilities in case of overhead line equipment failure.

The maker of the batteries has not been disclosed.

If they have been made by Turntide, then they would certainly have had a good vibration testing.

Is The Battery System In The Class 803 Trains Similar To That Proposed For Class 800/802/805/810 Trains?

It would seem sensible, as this would mean that Hitachi would only be introducing one type of battery into the various fleets.

Supporting structures and wiring harnesses would then be identical in all trains, whether diesel engines or batteries were to be fitted.

Are The Batteries Plug Compatible With Similar Performance To The Diesel Engines?

I have never driven a train, but I have ridden in the cab of an InterCity 125, as I wrote about in Edinburgh to Inverness in the Cab of an HST.

The driver controls the two locomotives individually, just like I controlled the two engines in my Cessna 340 with two separate throttles.

So how does a driver control all the three engines in a five-car Class 800 train or the five engines in a nine-car?

Put simply, the driver just tells the computer, what speed or power is required and the train’s computer adjusts al the engines accordingly.

I believe it would be possible to design battery packs that are plug-compatible with similar performance to the diesel engines.

Hitachi could be playing an old Electrical/Electronic Engineer’s trick.

As a sixteen-year-old, I spent a Summer in a rolling mills, building replacement transistorised control units for the old electronic valve units. They had been designed, so they were plug-compatible and performed identically.

The great advantage of this approach, is that no changes were needed to the rolling mill.

So if Hitachi are using a similar approach, there should be very few or even no changes to the train.

What Range Will A Class 800 Train Have On Batteries?

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

I would be very surprised if Hitachi don’t break that record of 224 kilometres or 139 miles.

Conclusion

I belive we’re going to see a real revolution in rail transport.

May 25, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ways First Group, Hitachi, Hyperdrive Innovation and Turntide Technologies Can Enable Electric Trains To Run Between Basingstoke And Exeter

Who Are Turntide Technologies?

The Wikipedia entry for the company starts with this paragraph.

Turntide Technologies is a US-based business that makes intelligent, sustainable motor systems. Turntide applies its Technology for Sustainable Operations across buildings, agriculture, and transportation segments. It maintains operations in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India.

These three paragraphs from the Technology section of the Wikipedia entry outline their technology.

Turntide’s core product is its Technology for Sustainable Operations, a cloud-based open platform that monitors and automates building and vehicle systems. The platform is powered by its Smart Motor System, a connected hardware-software machine built around a high rotor pole switched reluctance motor.

Southern California Edison utility certified in 2018 that the V01 Smart Motor System reduced energy consumption by 23%-57% compared with a standard AC induction motor, and 11% compared with an induction motor controlled by a variable frequency drive.

In 2019, National Renewable Energy Laboratory certified that Turntide’s motor reduced energy consumption in refrigerator condenser fans by 29%-71%.

Note.

  1. Turntide’s efficiencies, which appear to have been verified by reputable organisations, if they can be reproduced in traction systems for battery-powered transport could improve range substantially.
  2. There are also other more efficient electric motors being developed.
  3. I wrote about Norfolk-based advanced traction motor company; Equipmake in Equipmake Hybrid To Battery Powered LT11.
  4. Motors like these, are the engineer’s cure for range anxiety.

I have to ask, if Hitachi (, and Stadler) are using more efficient motors to stretch the range of their battery-electric trains.

Initially, Hitachi asked Hyperdrive Innovation to design battery packs for Class 802 and other similar trains.

These three posts give some details about the battery project involving the two companies.

Consider.

  • In June 2021, Turntide acquired Hyperdrive Innovation.
  • So did this effectively invite Turntide to the project?
  • According to the Internet, Hitachi are one of the largest manufacturers of electric motors.
  • Turntide are very-well funded by the likes of Bill Gates, Robert Downey Junior and some big funds.

Has there been some intense design meetings, which have been beneficial to all parties?

In my experience, these groupings don’t often work out how they should!

But this relationship seems to be doing fine.

One of Hitachi’s managers from the battery-train project even appears in the video on Turntide’s home page.

Electrifying Basingstoke And Exeter

Consider these facts about the route.

  • Basingstoke and Salisbury is 35.8 miles.
  • Salisbury and Exeter is 88.5 miles.
  • Basingstoke and Exeter is 124.3 miles.
  • There is no electrification.
  • There are 14 stops between Salisbury and Exeter.
  • There are 4 stops between Basingstoke and Salisbury.
  • Trains are up to nine car Class 159 trains.
  • Average speeds are not much better than 50 mph.
  • Maximum speeds vary between 75 and 90 mph.

To get an estimate of how much energy, a Basingstoke and Exeter train will use, I’ll start with a figure from How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 Or 100 mph?.

At 125 mph, a Class 801 train has a usage figure of 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile.

As drag is proportional to the square of the speed, which gives

  • At 100 mph, a Class 801 train has a usage figure of 2.19 kWh per vehicle mile.
  • At 80 mph, a Class 801 train has a usage figure of 1.40 kWh per vehicle mile.

For this calculation I’ll take the 80 mph figure of 1.40 kWh per vehicle mile.

Assuming a five-car train travelling between Basingstoke and Exeter, which is 124.3 miles gives a figure of 870 kWh.

But this is only one use of energy on the train.

  • Every time, the train accelerates it will need power, but it will charge itself using regenerative braking.
  • An all-electric Class 803 train has a mass of 228.5 tonnes and carries 400 passengers.
  • If I assume that each passenger is 80 Kg including baggage, bikes and buggies, that gives a mass of 32 tonnes or a total mass of 260.5 tonnes.
  • Putting these figures into Omni’s Kinetic Energy calculator gives a figure of 46.3 kWh at 80 mph.

As there are eighteen stops along the route and at each stop it could lose up to twenty percent of its energy, this means that the eighteen stops will cost 166.7 KWh.

Adding this to the 870 KWh it takes to maintain speed, it looks like a trip between Basingstoke and Exeter will take 1036.7 kWh.

Could this be a 200 kWh battery in each coach?

Obviously, this is only a rough calculation and with the better figures Hitachi would have, I would suspect much better answers.

But I do believe that it would be possible to run between Basingstoke and Exeter on battery power, if the train was efficient.

Charging The Train

The train would be charged on the third-rail electrification between Waterloo and Basingstoke.

But what would happen at Exeter?

The trains could be bi-modes like Hitachi’s Class 395 trains for Southeastern,

One of Vivarail’s third-rail charging systems, that First Group, acquired from the Receiver of Vivarail could be used.

Getting The Order Right

Would between Basingstoke and Exeter, be a sensible route to convert to battery-electric trains early, as it would release a useful fleet of diesel trains, that might be able to fill in for a couple of years by replacing the Castles!

 

March 19, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments