Sitras SES. Click to enlarge. Siemens is currently installing the first Sitras SES (stationary energy storage) Energy Storage Unit with supercapacitor technology in the US on the new TriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Line. The southeast Portland Tacoma substation location will house the first US storage unit that allows for... Read more →


Clockwise from upper left: ESS enclosure, power control unit and ultracapacitor modules. Source: TIGGER, Tri-Met. Click to enlarge. Maxwell Technologies, Inc. is supplying ultracapacitors for an energy-saving braking energy recuperation system that American Maglev Technology (AMT), is installing on light rail vehicles operated by the Portland, Oregon area’s Tri-County Metropolitan... Read more →


GE Transportation Class 70 PowerHaul locomotive. Click to enlarge. Recent testing commissioned by GE Transportation and overseen by Ricardo found that GE’s Class 70 PowerHaul diesel-electric freight locomotive would save 18% of fuel in comparison with the Class 66 currently representing the majority of the UK’s locomotive fleet. The Class... Read more →


Williams flywheel unit. Click to enlarge. Williams Hybrid Power, a division of the Williams group of companies that includes the Williams F1 Team, and Alstom Transport have signed an exclusive agreement that will see Williams Hybrid Power’s composite flywheel energy storage technology (earlier post) applied to Alstom’s Citadis trams by... Read more →


Union Pacific Railroad investing $20M to test emissions-reducing locomotive technology in California; moving toward Tier 4 compliance with combination of EGR, DOC and DPF

Union Pacific Railroad is investing $20 million to test new technology designed to reduce diesel emissions from freight locomotives in California. A series of 25 experimental locomotives will be based in two Union Pacific rail yards in California as part of a test of emissions-reducing technologies. One locomotive in this... Read more →


The battery-electric NS-999, “under the long hood”. Source: NS. Click to enlarge. In April, Axion Power International Inc received an order from Norfolk Southern Corp (NS) for PbC lead-carbon batteries for use in an all-battery-powered switcher locomotive. (Earlier post.) Axion Power said this first $400,000 purchase order is part of... Read more →


Artemis Intelligent Power, Ricardo and Bombardier Transportation are collaborating on a research and development project on rail brake energy recovery scheduled to commence in the second half of this year. The system under investigation combines the Artemis Digital Displacement hydraulic pump-motor system (earlier post) and Ricardo’s Kinergy flywheel high energy... Read more →


Ricardo/TRL report on improving GB diesel rail fuel efficiency recommends two tech packages for implementation, including gas exchange system and idle stop/start

A new report highlights the results of research work carried out by Ricardo and TRL on behalf of the UK Department for Transport, exploring the means by which improvements in diesel fuel efficiency could be realized within the rail network of Great Britain. The study showed that smaller and more... Read more →


Bombardier EnerGstor wayside energy storage unit. Click to enlarge. Bombardier Transportation, a leading producer of rail vehicles and rail transportation equipment, systems and services, has selected Maxwell ultracapacitors as the energy storage element of the Bombardier EnerGstor braking energy recuperation system. Each stationary wayside EnerGstor unit consists of one or... Read more →


Westport high-pressure direct injection (HPDI) injector for heavy-duty engines. Click to enlarge. Westport Innovations Inc. has entered into an agreement with Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of diesel-electric locomotives, to integrate Westport’s high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology and natural gas fuel system technologies into an EMD... Read more →


Worldwatch Institute study expects number of countries running high-speed rail nearly to double by 2014

The number of countries running high-speed rail (HSR) is expected to nearly double over the next few years, according to new research by the Worldwatch Institute for Vital Signs Online. By 2014, high-speed trains will be operating in nearly 24 countries, including China, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United... Read more →


Shell progressing LNG for North American transportation sector; partnerships with Wärtsilä, Westport, GE

Shell announced plans to have Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) available for heavy-duty fleet customers beginning in 2012 at select Shell Flying J truck stops in Alberta, Canada as one of a series of steps to increase the utilization of LNG in the transportation sector in North America. Shell is pursuing... Read more →


Williams F1 and Kinetic Traction Systems partner to advance composite flywheel energy storage technology for rail and grid applications

Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited (Williams F1) and Kinetic Traction Systems, Inc. (KTSi) have signed a long-term cooperation Agreement to advance and promote innovative, clean flywheel-based energy storage and recycling systems for mass transit rail and grid applications. Originally intended for use in the Kinetic Energy Recover Systems of its... Read more →


Hybrid electric locomotive sales by region, baseline scenario, World Markets: 2010-2020. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge. According to a recent report from Pike Research, hybrid locomotive sales will reach nearly 500 units during the period from 2011 to 2020, representing an increasing portion of the total market. During that... Read more →


Principal North American trade corridors. Click to enlarge. Cross-border cooperation to improve environmental performance of the North American freight system is urgently needed not just to enhance environmental sustainability, but to safeguard regional economic competitiveness, according to a new report from the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).... Read more →


GE in framework agreement with China’s CSR to form US JV targeting high-speed rail and other rail technology in US

GE has entered a cooperative framework agreement with Chinese transportation equipment major CSR Corporation Limited (CSR) to establish a US-based joint venture to advance high-speed and other rail technology in the US. The partnership represents an investment of approximately $50 million in the joint venture with the potential to sustain... Read more →


The Pentadyne high-speed flywheel. Click to enlarge. Startup Kinetic Traction Systems, Inc. (KTSi) is launching with proprietary flywheel technology to absorb energy and generate power in rail traction and energy recycling applications. KTSi trackside flywheel systems provide voltage support to overtaxed sections of electric rail systems, eliminating slowdowns, as well... Read more →


Pike Research forecasts accelerating hybrid locomotive sales from 2015-2020

Hybrid electric locomotive sales will have an increasing presence in global rail markets between 2015 and 2020, according to a new report from Pike Research. During that period, hybrid locomotive sales will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4% under a baseline forecast scenario, with annual unit... Read more →


DOT to Award Funding for Research Into Biofuels and Bio-based Lubricants for Locomotives

The US Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FR-RRD-10-010) for two separate grants totalling $700,000 for research into biofuels and bio-based lubricants for locomotive application. Eligible projects will include dynamic testing of locomotives, rolling stock and other rail equipment, with various biofuel blends... Read more →


The Rinspeed concept integrates a two-seat EV with rail. Click to enlarge. Swiss-based concept powerhouse Rinspeed, which converts and manufactures prototypes and limited series vehicles, will unveil an intelligent mobility concept that integrates electric commuter cars, rail and the Internet at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. The concept... Read more →


The Bombardier ZEFIRO. Click to enlarge. Bombardier Transportation’s Chinese joint venture, Bombardier Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd., has been selected by the Chinese Ministry of Railways (MOR) to supply 80 ZEFIRO 380 very high speed trains (1,120 cars) for the country’s rapidly growing high speed rail network. The contract, including 20... Read more →


Additional diesel PM reductions in 18 major CA railyards with five new locomotive measures. Source: Staff presentation. With Five Locomotive Measures Click to enlarge. The California Air Resources Board directed its staff to take steps to provide further locomotive and rail yard emission reductions beyond those achieved by existing US... Read more →


Rear view of the fuelcell hybrid switch locomotive. The dual Ballard fuel cell stacks are to the left (i.e., rear) of the switcher. Source: Vehicle Projects. Click to enlarge. BNSF Railway and Vehicle Projects Inc. of Denver/Golden, Colo., a developer of large fuelcell vehicles such as mine loaders and mine... Read more →


Vehicle chassis of one of the UML research projects (General Atomics). Click to enlarge. A 10-year US program to develop low-speed urban magnetic levitation (UML) technology has demonstrated that such systems are feasible to consider as alternatives in the US, but that the initial infrastructure costs and availability of safety... Read more →


GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt shows a sodium-metal halide battery cell at the press conference announcing the battery plant. Click to enlarge. GE will open a new battery manufacturing plant in Upstate New York that will serve as the main manufacturing facility for GE’s newly launched battery business. The... Read more →


The envisioned high-speed rail corridors. Source: DOT. Click to enlarge. President Barack Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, released a strategic vision and plan for a high-speed passenger rail (HSR) system in the US. The plan identifies $8 billion provided in the American Recovery... Read more →


Kawasaki to Produce Gigacell Bipolar NiMH Batteries for Transportation Applications

The KHI Gigacell bipolar NiMH stack. Source: KHI. Click to enlarge. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) will begin manufacturing versions of the Gigacell bipolar NiMH industrial battery—originally targeted for grid applications such as output smoothing for wind and solar—for transportation applications, beginning with systems for rail applications, according to a... Read more →


MTU Introduces Prototype Underfloor Hybrid Drive Unit for Railcars

The underfloor hybrid drive unit. Click to enlarge. At this year’s Innotrans rail exhibition in Berlin (23-28 September), the Tognum Group introduced under the MTU brand a prototype of a new underfloor hybrid drive system for railcars. MTU estimates that fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions can be reduced by up... Read more →


European Parliament Calls for 40% of EU Transport Appropriations for Railways and Freight

The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to allocate at least 40% of EU transport infrastructure appropriations to the railways and prioritize freight to reduce the need for road transport. Members of Parliament (MEPs) urged the Commission to concentrate EU co-financing on improving the efficiency, interoperability... Read more →


FTA Solicits Proposals for Regenerative Braking and Energy Storage Systems for Rail Transit

The US Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) is soliciting proposals for the demonstration of regenerative braking and energy storage technologies (on-board or/and wayside) for trail transit propulsion systems. Total funding available for the project is $300,000. There are a total of 11,110 heavy rail vehicles and 1,645 light rail vehicles in... Read more →


EPA Finalizes Tier 3 and Tier 4 Standards for Locomotive and Marine Diesel Engines

Progression in NOx and PM standards for switch locomotives (one of the regulated categories). Click to enlarge. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its Tier 3 and Tier 4 emissions standards for locomotives and marine diesel engines. Tier 3 emission standards will take effect in 2012, followed by... Read more →


Alstom Unveils Prototype 224 MPH AGV Train and Its First Customer

Alstom has unveiled the prototype of the AGV (Automotrice Grande Vitesse), its fourth-generation very high speed electric train. This single-deck train features the Alstom’s articulated architecture used on the TGV combined with a new distributed drive system based on permanent magnet motors (the train’s motors being located on the bogies,... Read more →


BNSF Railway and Vehicle Projects Develop Experimental Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Switch Locomotive; Locomotive-to-Grid Application Explored

Drawing of the fuel-cell hybrid locomotive. Click to enlarge. BNSF Railway Company and Vehicle Projects LLC, a developer of large fuel-cell vehicles such as mine loaders and mine locomotives, are leading a project consortium to develop an experimental hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid switch locomotive. The vehicle platform is based on the... Read more →


NREC N-ViroMotive Locomotives Achieve 40% Fuel Savings at DGNO

A two-genset, 1,400hp N-ViroMotive 2GS-14B switcher. The Dallas, Garland & Northeastern Railroad (DGNO), one of Rail America’s 42 short line railroads, has experienced 40% fuel savings with its new N-ViroMotive GenSet locomotives, acquired earlier this year from National Railway Equipment Co. (NREC). The Dallas-based short line operates two 1,400hp two-GenSet... Read more →


Renault to Supply Natural Gas Trucks for Rail Merchandise Delivery Test in Paris

At the end of 2007, Monoprix and Fret SNCF will run a joint experiment for the delivery of merchandise by rail to Parisian shops which are part of the Monoprix group. The products will be leaving warehouses located in the suburbs with the last kilometers covered by a fleet of... Read more →


UP to Replace Switch Locomotives at Rail Yard with New Low-Emission Models

UP Genset locomotive. Union Pacific (UP) will replace the majority of switch locomotives used at its Commerce, California rail yard with new ultra-low emission diesel locomotives from Railpower by the end of July. Each locomotive is powered by three 700-horsepower engines. The 2,100-horsepower, EPA non-road Tier 3-certified Genset locomotives are... Read more →


Flywheel Energy Store Hybrid Light Railcars Selected for UK Branch Line

The chassis of a PPM-50 light rail car with flywheel and 2.0-liter engine visible. Click to enlarge. The new rail franchisee for the UK West Midlands will introduce two hybrid light railcars equipped with a flywheel energy store to capture braking energy for use in acceleration. The UK Department for... Read more →


GE Introduces Hybrid Locomotive Prototype to Public

Drawing of the hybrid locomotive. Click to enlarge. GE publicly unveiled a prototype hybrid road locomotive at its Ecomagination event in Los Angeles last week. (Earlier post.) The 4,000 hp locomotive uses a set sodium nickel chloride (Na-NiCl2) batteries to capture and store energy dissipated during dynamic braking as well... Read more →


BNSF Railway Commits to 100% MY 2007 or Newer Trucks for New Intermodal Gateway

Location of the proposed SCIG. Click to enlarge. BNSF Railway Company announced a number of enhancements to its proposed Southern California International Gateway (SCIG), including a commitment that 100% of the truck fleet servicing SCIG will be model year 2007 or newer. The use of the lower-emitting MY 2007 trucks... Read more →


BNSF Debuts LNG Hostler Trucks to Reduce Emissions at Intermodal Facility

BNSF/Parsec LNG hostler trucks. BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) has begun using low-emissions liquefied natural gas (LNG) hostler trucks to move containers at its Los Angeles Hobart Intermodal Facility, the busiest rail intermodal terminal in the US. This use of LNG hostler trucks is part of a pilot program to test... Read more →


Environmental Concerns Driving Swedes to More Train Travel

By Jack Rosebro A recent increase in Swedish passenger train traffic has been driven by climate and other environmental concerns, according to a new study released by SJ (Statens Järnvägar), Sweden’s state train company. When asked to give the most important reasons for choosing the train for their journey, users... Read more →


French TGV Sets New World Rail Speed Record of 357 MPH

The V150 trainset. A modified French high-speed train (TGV) has set a new world speed record for a train on conventional rails of 574.8 kph (357 mph). The V150 trainset consisted of two power cars, three double-decker coaches and two latest-generation very high-speed train motorized bogies developed by Alstom: the... Read more →


Union Pacific and GE Running Green Locomotive Technology Tour

Union Pacific and General Electric are staging a Green Locomotive Technology Tour to showcase current and experimental technologies to reduce locomotive emissions. GE is currently in discussions with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the level of NOx reductions for locomotive emissions that will be mandated as part of... Read more →


Union Pacific Testing Railroad Industry’s First Exhaust Catalyst in Los Angeles

Catalyst panels are housed in the V-shaped cradle running the length of the manifold. Also see diagram below. Click to enlarge. Union Pacific is beginning a year-long field test in the Los Angeles area of the rail industry’s first long-haul diesel electric locomotive modified with aftermarket experimental technology aimed at... Read more →


Railpower Receives EPA Certification for Three-Engine Road Switcher

Railpower Technologies Corp., a developer of specialized energy technology systems for the transportation industry and manufacturers of the Green Goat hybrid switcher, has obtained US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification for its three-engine road switcher locomotive (model RP20-BD). Railpower is the first locomotive manufacturer to obtain EPA certification for a... Read more →


Demonstration Begins of New Diesel Emissions Treatment System for Locomotives

Rendering of ALECS (the “hood”). Click to enlarge. The demonstration of a new system to capture and treat emissions from diesel train locomotives is beginning today at the Union Pacific railyards in Roseville, California. The Advanced Locomotive Emission Control System (ALECS) applies technology used to capture emissions from industrial plants... Read more →


New Mexico Commuter Train to Run on B20 Biodiesel Blend

The Rail Runner commuter train runs every weekday. New Mexico’s new Rail Runner commuter train will use a B20 blend of biodiesel supplied by Amigo Petroleum, beginning immediately. The Rail Runner is one of the first commuter rail systems in the country to use biodiesel. The Rail Runner’s five locomotives... Read more →


Railpower Scales Back its Production Target for 2006

Railpower RP switcher. Railpower Technologies, makers of systems for hybrid locomotives and switch engines and derivative markets, recently announced that it does not expect to meet its unit production target of 90 to 100 locomotives for 2006 and its gross margin target of 30% by the end of the fourth... Read more →


Union Pacific Pilots Projects for Diesel Emissions Reduction Retrofits

Union Pacific is testing technologies to reduce diesel engine emissions in older railroad locomotives. Through collaboration with staff at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Union Pacific is providing a 3,800-horsepower SD60M locomotive built in January 1992 to serve as the first... Read more →


Railpower Hopes to Triple Production of its Hybrid Locomotives in 2006, Stem Losses

Railpower’s Green Goat hybrid switcher. Railpower Technologies hopes to deliver 90 to 100 of its diesel-electric hybrid locomotives—Green Goat yard switchers and the new road switchers—in 2006 after struggling with production, system and financial issues in 2005. The company—which reported a C$59.9 million loss for 2005, up from C$15 million... Read more →