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[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.]

Alstom to build 14 Coradia iLint fuel-cell trains for LNVG

November 10, 2017

Alstom will build 14 Coradia iLint fuel-cell trains (earlier post) for the Local Transport Authority of Lower Saxony (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen, LNVG). The trains, which will convey travellers between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude from December 2021, will replace the diesel multiple units of the transport authority Elbe-Weser-Verkehrsbetriebe (evb) and will reduce the pollutant emission in daily service to zero.

The hydrogen for the trains will be provided by the Linde Group. The companies also signed a 30-year maintenance agreement. The Coradia iLint can cover up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) with one tank fill, and can reach a maximum speed of up to 140 km/h (87 mph).

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NAS: concerns remain about rail transport for energy liquids, gases; pipeline, maritime have more comprehensive safety system in place

October 12, 2017

With the sharp and largely unexpected increase in the long-distance movement of domestically produced crude oil, ethanol, and natural gas since 2005, a number of concerns have arisen about the safe transport of these hazardous materials, particularly in relation to railroad track defects, rural communities’ emergency response preparedness, and the older tank car designs that will continue to be used in multi-car unit trains, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Pipelines and barges have accommodated major portions of the growth in domestic energy liquids and gases, and they have done so without major new safety problems and within the basic framework of their longstanding regulatory and safety assurance systems. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report stressed that to the credit of transportation service providers from all of the modes as well as their safety regulators, the vast majority of these energy supplies have been transported without incident, enabling the country to capitalize on its new energy resources and manage the safety risks associated with its transportation.

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Study finds air pollution and GHG costs of crude-by-rail nearly 2x pipeline costs; much larger than spill and accidents costs

October 11, 2017

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have found that the air pollution and greenhouse gas costs of shipping crude by rail are nearly twice as large as those for oil pipelines. Further, their estimates of air pollution and greenhouse gas costs are much larger than estimates of spill and accidents costs—more than twice as big for rail and more than eight times as big for pipelines.

The findings of their study, published by the National Bureau of Economic research, suggest that the policy debate surrounding crude oil transportation has put too much relative weight on accidents and spills, while overlooking a far more serious source of external cost: air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Siemens and Alstom to combine mobility businesses; combined revenue of €15.3B

September 27, 2017

Siemens and Alstom signed a Memorandum of Understanding to combine Siemens’ mobility business including its rail traction drives business, with Alstom. The two businesses are largely complementary in terms of activities and geographies. Siemens will receive newly issued shares in the combined company representing 50 percent of Alstom’s share capital on a fully diluted basis.

The businesses of the two companies are largely complementary. The combined entity will offer a significantly increased range of diversified product and solution offerings to meet multi-facetted, customer-specific needs, from cost-efficient mass-market platforms to high-end technologies.

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Ontario seeking design concepts for hydrogen-powered regional rail trains

September 18, 2017

The Canadian province of Ontario is electrifying its GO rail network to transform how people move around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), and is seeking design concepts for hydrogen-powered trains as an alternative to conventional overhead wires. A division of Metrolinx, GO Transit is the regional public transit service for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Through the GO Regional Express Rail (RER) program, Ontario will deliver faster and more frequent electrified rail service on core segments of the GO rail network and UP Express. As part of planning the electrification, Ontario is undertaking a feasibility study on the use of hydrogen fuel cells.

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California ARB fines BNSF and Union Pacific $1.25M over drayage truck violations

August 11, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) reached settlements with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRR) to resolve violations of the state’s drayage truck regulation, which requires cleanup of trucks servicing the state’s busy ports and intermodal rail yards.

An investigation by CARB’s Enforcement Division documented that both companies had failed to accurately report all the required information for noncompliant trucks entering 12 separate intermodal terminals. Intermodal terminals facilitate transfer of goods from train to truck or vice-versa.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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