New synthetic fungal-bacterial consortia for direct production of isobutanol from biomass
Port of Long Beach has cut diesel PM by 81% since 2005

UK’s Network Rail developing a prototype battery-powered train; trying Li-ion and sodium-nickel batteries

The UK’s Network Rail, the company that runs, maintains and develops Britain’s rail tracks, signaling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings, viaducts and 17 key stations, is part of an industry study into the feasibility of using battery electric trains on parts of the railway which have not been electrified.

Other partners in the project include The Department for Transport; Enabling Innovation Team (set up to accelerate the uptake of innovation in the rail industry); Greater Anglia and Bombardier.

Network Rail says that the project is an important part of its strategy of increasing the electrification of the railway, delivering improved sustainability whilst reducing the burden on the taxpayer. A battery-powered train could use non-electrified and diesel lines, and recharge their batteries at terminal stations—i.e., electric traction could be introduced to more parts of the railway without the need to necessarily extend the electrification infrastructure.

Working closely with Derby-based train manufacturer Bombardier and operator Greater Anglia, the project will use one of the operator’s Class 379s as a test-bed to determine future battery requirements and what kind of train might be needed.

This train will be adapted by Bombardier and fitted with two different forms of batteries: lithium (iron magnesium) phosphate and hot sodium nickel salt. The batteries will undergo many lab tests before being fitted to the train.

The modified train will then undergo a variety of tests off network. If these tests prove successful, the train will then run on an electrified branch line on the Anglia route, yet to be chosen, with its pantograph down. This is so that if there is a problem, it can raise its pantograph, and collect power again. This running will be both in and out of passenger service and by the end of 2014, the trial will be complete.



OK, so they are trading convenience for complexity.

They have a battery powered train and so they don't need to electrify all the track it runs on.
But they do have to be careful not to run out of juice.

I wonder could you do "partial electrification" where you electrify every second mile (or 10 miles) of track (to save money) and bridge the gaps with battery power.

Thus, you would need double the power, and the ability to manage the pantograph and not get it ripped off by hitting a down section with the pantograph up.
But you would only have to electrify 1/2 the track.

Henry Gibson

Beta research was started by rail people long ago and eventually produced the sodium nickel battery that was produced by MES-DEA and now FZSONICK which sells a ZEBRA battery pack for emergency lighting in passenger railcars and some for cell towers and some for automobiles and Rolls-Royce naval business. GE(US) bought Beta after testing ZEBRA batteries for hybrid locomotives and mining trucks and is selling all that it can make for remote cell phone towers to cut diesel fuel costs but still proposes hybrid locomotives.

The class 70 locomotives would be the easiest machines to set up a test of a battery bank of ZEBRA batteries, but they all were destroyed, so the only remaining class 71 should be used first and then a three vehicle set of the class 71, a battery car and a class 74 could tour the entire country. With the class 70 not a single transistor would be damaged in the tests or even treatened. ..HG..


Read the last sentence, after the "tests" they will be running it on a route with its pantograph down as a "trial." In other words they want to see if it works in the real world before they start using battery electric trains on parts of the railway which have not been electrified.


This idea seems to be for heavy rail. It would allow them to run electric trains on parts of the railway which have not been electrified.

The Brits already have something for light rail;


A few Swiss city e-subways already use partial autonomous battery system coupled with partial power cable to eliminate over head cables in critical areas.

Countries like USA/Canada, with very few electrified train lines, could benefit from such hybrid system?

Electrifying about 1/10 or 1 or 2 Km every 10/20 Km of selected rail lines could be enough.

The comments to this entry are closed.