[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
DLR team devises concept for next-gen rail cargo transport; automated, intelligent freight wagons
April 17, 2017
Transport researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an innovative, holistic concept for the next-generation transport of cargo by rail—NGT CARGO. The concept aims to make European rail freight more appealing and hence increase its market share. It is distinguished by a high level of automation, intelligent handling and high speeds. In this way, rail freight transportation can be made more flexible and the capacity of the system can be increased.
The automatically driven NGT CARGO trains will be made up of single wagons and powerful end cars, automatically coupled together as required. This will enable the transport of a range of goods flexibly, with low use of resources, minimal deployment of personnel and short transport times, said DLR researcher Joachim Winter, who is leading the Next Generation Train (NGT) project.
California ARB petitions US EPA for “Tier 5” stricter locomotive emissions standards
April 14, 2017
In an effort to accelerate the movement to zero- or near-zero emission locomotives, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has petitioned the US EPA take action to adopt more stringent emission standards for locomotives. These new standards are to include standards for newly manufactured locomotives (which ARB refers to as “Tier 5”), and a new standard for Tier 4 locomotives upon remanufacture.
ARB is also requesting new remanufacturing standards equal to or more stringent than current Tier 4 emission levels for Tier 2 and 3 locomotive engines. ARB Chair Mary Nichols said the moves are needed to clean up the air in “high-risk” communities in and around the nation’s railyards.
Successful first test run of Alstom Coradia iLint fuel cell train; signed letters of intent for 60 trains
March 15, 2017
Alstom successfully performed the first test run at 80 km/h (50 mph) of the fuel cell passenger train Coradia iLint (earlier post) on its own test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony (Germany). An extensive test campaign will be conducted in Germany and Czech Republic in the coming months before the Coradia iLint performs its first passenger test runs on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven (Germany) route beginning of 2018.
The four-week test runs currently underway in Salzgitter aim at confirming the stability of the energy supply system based on coordinated interaction between the drive, the fuel cell and the battery of the vehicle. The braking power is also being tested to check the interface between the pneumatic and the electric brake.
Study finds “markedly” high levels of diesel exhaust present in commuter trains powered by locomotives in pull-mode
February 09, 2017
Diesel-powered commuter trains may expose their passengers to elevated levels of certain black carbon and ultrafine particles, especially in the coach directly behind the locomotive, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto. A paper on the study is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.
Professor Greg Evans (ChemE), director of the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR) and Dr. Cheol-Heon Jeong, a senior research associate at SOCAAR, measured the ultrafine particle (UFP), black carbon (BC) and lung deposited surface area (LDSA) concentrations during 42 trips on diesel-powered commuter trains. When the passenger coaches were pulled by a locomotive, the geometric mean concentrations of UFP, LDSA, and BC were 18, 10, and 6 times higher than the exposure levels when the locomotive pushed the coaches, respectively. UFP, LDSA, and BC concentrations in pull-trains were 5, 3, and 4 times higher than concentrations measured while walking on city sidewalks, respectively.
S. Korean organizations collaborate on development of near-supersonic (~1,000 km/h) Korean Hyperloop train
January 23, 2017
The Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) signed a multi-year strategic partnership agreement with seven Korean research institutes—KICT (Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology); KOTI (Korea Transport Institute); KIMM (Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials); KERI (Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute); ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute); KRRI (Korea Railroad Research Institute); and Hanyang University—to accelerate the realization of government’s new plan to build a futuristic transportation system.
In the memorandum of understanding, the eight organizations promised to collaborate on the development of core technologies for the near-supersonic Korean Hyperloop train, also known as Hyper Tube Express (HTX). The Hyper Tube Express (HTX) is an ultra-fast transit system powered by magnetic attraction that would move at nearly 1,000 km/h (621 mph) inside a tube under partial vacuum—a concept similar to Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. (Earlier post.) At this speed, traveling from Seoul to Busan would only take about 20 minutes; the 412-km (256-mile) trip is currently a little less than three hours on the KTX (Korea Train eXpress).
Maxwell Technologies delivers first commercial application of Li-ion capacitor technology with CRRC-SRI in China
November 01, 2016
Maxwell Technologies, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, announced the first commercial application of lithium-ion capacitors, developed in conjunction with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC-SRI), China’s largest rail manufacturer. (Earlier post.)
The technology will be used for rapid energy regeneration in the trolley system in the capital city of Hunan province in China. Following last year’s announcement of Maxwell’s strategic partnership with CRRC-SRI to collaborate on developing next-generation capacitive energy storage solutions, this project is the first to leverage Maxwell’s new lithium-ion technology and validates its unique value proposition for rail applications.
Rolls-Royce MTU introduces new hybrid power pack for rail systems; up to 25% fuel savings
September 26, 2016
At Innotrans in Berlin, Rolls-Royce Power Systems’ MTU brand introduced the new MTU EnergyPack battery system for rail as a product that is now available for ordering. The Hybrid PowerPack is a market-ready advanced development based on a test version that has demonstrated its reliability in an intensive test program consisting, among other things, of test runs covering no less than 15,000 km.
The Hybrid PowerPack combines a diesel engine with an electric machine, which can be used either as an electric motor or generator, and the MTU EnergyPack battery system, which stores the energy recovered during braking. The battery system has been significantly improved by MTU engineers since the completion of the trials with the hybrid test vehicle.
Alstom unveils hydrogen fuel cell regional train Coradia iLint
September 20, 2016
Alstom presented its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell regional train at InnoTrans, the railway industry’s largest trade fair, taking place in Berlin from 20 to 23 September 2016.
Alstom is among the first railway manufacturers to develop a passenger train based on fuel cell technology. To make the deployment of the Coradia iLint as simple as possible for operators, Alstom offers a complete package, consisting of the train and maintenance, as well as also the whole hydrogen infrastructure thanks to help from partners.
Amtrak invests $2.4B for next-gen Alstom Avelia high-speed trainsets and infrastructure upgrades
August 29, 2016
Amtrak is contracting with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation Avelia Liberty high-speed trainsets that will replace the equipment used to provide Amtrak’s premium Acela Express service. The contract is part of $2.45 billion that will be invested on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor (NEC) as part of a multifaceted modernization program to renew and expand the Acela Express service.
The Northeast Corridor (NEC) line covers roughly 730 km (457 miles). In only ten years, the number of passengers has increased from 2.4 million passengers in FY 2002 to 3.5 million in FY 2014. The new trainsets will operate along the Washington – New York – Boston Northeast Corridor initially at speeds up to 160 mph (258 km/h) and will be capable of speeds up to 186 mph (300 km/h) and thus will be able to take advantage of future NEC infrastructure improvements.
Canada publishes proposed regulations for criteria pollutants from locomotives
June 18, 2016
The Government of Canada has published proposed Locomotive Emissions Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This marks Canada’s first regulation of air pollutant emissions from locomotives. The proposed regulations will criteria air contaminants (CACs), from locomotives operated by railway companies under federal jurisdiction through increasingly stringent emission standards and reduced idling. CACs include NOx; particulate matter (PM); hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO); and sulfur oxides (SOx).
The emission standards set out in these proposed regulations will also align with those of the United States. Canada and the US are also working together on approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from locomotives under the Canada-US Regulatory Cooperation Council.
California to award $9M for 27 BYD zero-emission trucks at two rail yards, one freight transfer yard in Southern California
June 10, 2016
The State of California is awarding $9 million to the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) for 27 zero-emission trucks to replace diesel-powered heavy-duty tractors used in rail yards and large-scale freight distribution centers. The funds come from the California Climate Investments (CCI) program and are designed to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), while also reducing petroleum usage and improving air quality in residential communities.
The two types of trucks funded by this grant are the most common at every major freight location in the US, providing a model for truck electrification that could be scaled to any facility. The project will demonstrate 23 battery-electric 80,000-pound (GVWR) Class 8 yard trucks, also known as “yard goats,” which are used to move heavy freight containers short distances within freight yards, warehouses, distribution centers and port terminals.
Bosch’s new electronic driver assistance system for trams adds collision warning with automatic braking; derived from automotive
May 03, 2016
Bosch has developed a new electronic driver system for trams that not only warns tram drivers of any impending collision but will engage the brakes independently to stop the tram and avoid an accident if the driver reacts to late or not at all.
Bosch Engineering successfully adapted the company’s large-scale automotive production technology for its new and enhanced collision warning system for city rail transportation. The new collision warning system combines a video sensor, a radar sensor, and a high-performance rail control unit.