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Report: JR West to introduce hybrid train as early as 2015

The Nikkei reports that West Japan Railway Co. (JR West), plans to have a practical version of its hybrid train ready for operation as early as 2015 on its routes in the Sanin and Hokuriku regions.

The company is developing a hybrid train that combines a diesel engine with lithium ion storage batteries. These batteries are used to power the lights and climate control systems and other equipment on the trains, helping to improve fuel consumption by around 13%. The batteries are recharged by generators that tap the energy released when the train decelerates.

JR West has been testing prototypes of this hybrid train since 2009 to verify the usefulness of the technologies. The next step is to settle on design features such as where to locate the batteries on the train cars.



it's hard to imagine that train lights, hvac etc uses 13% of diesel power - i would guess closer to 3%. collecting the regenerative energy does, however, sound like a low hanging fruit.


The losses may come from the need to run an engine for auxiliary power when it could otherwise be shut down.

It would be informative to compare the cost of the hybrid systems with the cost of an electrified track. Regenerative braking can send power back to the overhead wire, eliminating the issue of storage on the train itself.


I would have thought that a hybrid diesel-electric where you could run the train on diesel for inter-city stretches and on electricity in the urban areas would be a good idea (lower pollution [noise?] in urban areas).
It would reduce the cost of electrifying the whole line, all at once. If segments dropped out, you could keep going etc.


I think the story about Grand Central in NY said that the trains coming into the city long ago had to be electric to cut down pollution. Everyone like boarding the train down town but no one liked the soot and noise.


Dual mode trains/locomotives (Diesel - Electric) are used to operate on partly electrified tracks. Hybrids could replace those...with partial overhead power cables and on-board storage units, they could operate on electricity most of the time.


I agree, batteries in trains does seem foolish.

Seems much better to electrify urban sections of track or those near power lines and upgrades and downgrades.

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