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Class 379 IPEMU trial and potential future battery trains

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D365

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It ticked a box six years ago and went away. A proof of concept actually proves the concept and moves us forward.
The objective of the experiment was to demonstrate the possibility of operating battery-electric hybrid rolling stock, 60% under electrification and 40% off the wires. IPEMU achieved this without fuss and did what it needed to do. I’m not sure what else you were expecting.

The Class 802 tri-mode trial (as with the Borderlands Class 230) is demonstrating another use case. Both schemes are being lead by railway franchises this time rather than Network Rail.
 

jayah

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The objective of the experiment was to demonstrate the possibility of operating battery-electric hybrid rolling stock, 60% under electrification and 40% off the wires. IPEMU achieved this without fuss and did what it needed to do. I’m not sure what else you were expecting.

The Class 802 tri-mode trial (as with the Borderlands Class 230) is demonstrating another use case. Both schemes are being lead by railway franchises this time rather than Network Rail.
Either it failed to demonstrate the concept, or it demonstrated a concept nobody was interested in, as nothing has actually progressed for 6 years.

Of all the diesel trains still operating 60/40 how many are using batteries?
 

D365

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Either it failed to demonstrate the concept, or it demonstrated a concept nobody was interested in, as nothing has actually progressed for 6 years.

Of all the diesel trains still operating 60/40 how many are using batteries?
What were you expecting in the space of six years?

Much as it would seem otherwise, battery electrification was never billed as a quick fix. The onus is on railway franchises and their stakeholders to take hybridisation forward. GWR is example of one that is now taking a lead. We’re also seeing the Valley Lines pioneering a ”discontinuous electrification” scheme, something which was developed as a result of the experience gained from the IPEMU project.

Transport for Wales and GWR are, in every sense, the tip of the iceberg. There will be a lot to come this decade if we want to have even a chance of keeping up with ever-changing climate targets.
 

jayah

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What were you expecting in the space of six years?

To see some existing outdated DMUs replaced by higher performance IPEMUs running 60/40 on existing OLE as per the concept. It will be years before Valley Lines electrification delivers anything.

What were you expecting in the space of six years?

Much as it would seem otherwise, battery electrification was never billed as a quick fix. The onus is on railway franchises and their stakeholders to take hybridisation forward. GWR is example of one that is now taking a lead. We’re also seeing the Valley Lines pioneering a ”discontinuous electrification” scheme, something which was developed as a result of the experience gained from the IPEMU project.

Transport for Wales and GWR are, in every sense, the tip of the iceberg. There will be a lot to come this decade if we want to have even a chance of keeping up with ever-changing climate targets.
As per the concept, outdated low performance DMUs replaced by IPEMUs using existing OLE.

But that hasn't happened and EMUs continue to go into store while the diesel / electric 769 project survives delivering a slower train than some of the DMUs it replaces.

Meanwhile new diesel or bi mode trains have been procured for London - North Wales / East Midlands / Hull and urban routes in the north that are well within the 60/40 rule.

1980s era DMUs soldier on, operating considerable mileage under OLE, while much newer EMUs go to store.
 

D365

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As per the concept, outdated low performance DMUs replaced by IPEMUs using existing OLE.

But that hasn't happened and EMUs continue to go into store while the diesel / electric 769 project survives delivering a slower train than some of the DMUs it replaces.

Meanwhile new diesel or bi mode trains have been procured for London - North Wales / East Midlands / Hull and urban routes in the north that are well within the 60/40 rule.

1980s era DMUs soldier on, operating considerable mileage under OLE, while much newer EMUs go to store.
I'm not sure the 769 is faring much better!

Again, the onus is on the railway franchises. From a railway R&D perspective, the IPEMU did everything it needed to. Like I said, GWR is taking a lead with the Class 802 trial, and there will be a lot more to come this decade now that Pacer replacement has finally been dealt with.
 

The Ham

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I'm not sure the 769 is faring much better!

Again, the onus is on the railway franchises. From a railway R&D perspective, the IPEMU did everything it needed to. Like I said, GWR is taking a lead with the Class 802 trial, and there will be a lot more to come this decade now that Pacer replacement has finally been dealt with.

Other than ICEC, EMR and ICWC how many franchises were actually announced between the end of the trail and now?

Of those three there's fairly few services which would benefit from battery trains and most of them would be able to benefit from the 80x battery setup. We're possibly still at the point that if the GWR trail works well that they could be built with the batteries installed either from new or at least so that not all the engines otherwise needed are delivered.

Of course it will - on some lines - where there is part electrification. I don’t think anyone is arguing for pure battery operation.

What none of us know here is how much it will cost for a rail application of a 1MWh battery (say), once in regular production. Given that you can buy 1MWh of road application battery for £700k, and that comes gift wrapped in 10 luxury cars, it’s reasonable to assume that you could get a 1MWh Rail battery for £1m. For that price you can electrify, at best, 500 metres of single track.

So, for an already part electrified route that needs, say, 20x4 car units units, with 1 battery each, at a total of £20m, or 60 single track km of electrification at well over £100m, someone is going to need to find a lot of benefit for that extra £90m.

Presumably some of the extra benefits would include freight use, longer lifespan of OHLE vs batteries, lower energy costs (due to inefficiencies of charging batteries over direct power supply), in some places needing to have some more wires up so that there's some charge time for the batteries, etc.

However there's still going to need to be very significant savings to make the sums work.

Especially given that batteries can be leased whilst OHLE installation is an upfront cost. This then adds costs to the government, whilst a lease would be a TOC (or whatever replaces them) cost.
 
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Bald Rick

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Presumably some of the extra benefits would include freight use, longer lifespan of OHLE vs batteries, lower energy costs (due to inefficiencies of charging batteries over direct power supply), in some places needing to have some more wires up so that there's some charge time for the batteries, etc.

However there's still going to need to be very significant savings to make the sums work.

Especially given that batteries can be leased whilst OHLE installation is an upfront cost. This then adds costs to the government, whilst a lease would be a TOC (or whatever replaces them) cost.

Freight is a potential beneficiary, yes, and will swing the balance on some routes. Conversely, some of the benefits of not having OLE can also be significant - operational and maintenance savings, better service reliability, the ability to run services during certain types of engineering work, and so on.

In terms of leasing - any asset can be leased, indeed leasing of OLE has been looked at. But remember who ultimately pays for additional costs on TOC leases for anything.
 

jayah

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Other than ICEC, EMR and ICWC how many franchises were actually announced between the end of the trail and now?

Of those three there's fairly few services which would benefit from battery trains and most of them would be able to benefit from the 80x battery setup. We're possibly still at the point that if the GWR trail works well that they could be built with the batteries installed either from new or at least so that not all the engines otherwise needed are delivered.



Presumably some of the extra benefits would include freight use, longer lifespan of OHLE vs batteries, lower energy costs (due to inefficiencies of charging batteries over direct power supply), in some places needing to have some more wires up so that there's some charge time for the batteries, etc.

However there's still going to need to be very significant savings to make the sums work.

Especially given that batteries can be leased whilst OHLE installation is an upfront cost. This then adds costs to the government, whilst a lease would be a TOC (or whatever replaces them) cost.
Between the end of the trial and today a great many new fleets as described, have been procured from LDHS to Urban that matched this so say 'proven concept' of 60/40 OLE vs non-electrified but all of which involved either straight diesel, or bi-modes.

Either the concept wasn't proved, or something else was, that nobody wanted. Or perhaps nobody noticed.
 

D365

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Or perhaps nobody noticed.
There is (and has always been) a lot of activity going on within the industry, far more than does reach the public eye. Just because you don’t see any, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
 

The Ham

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There is (and has always been) a lot of activity going on within the industry, far more than does reach the public eye. Just because you don’t see any, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

I'd also suggest that anything awarded within 18 months of the trail would have already have had a clear plan of what they wanted to do and changing that would have been fairly risky.

Of the government list of franchises for 2015-19:
East Anglia
South Western
East Midlands
West Coast

(Have I missed any others?)

Of those, West Coast and a part of East Midlands are long distance and may still benefit from this GWR trail.

I get the impression that the rest of the East Midlands services wouldn't be that suitable for batteries.

East Anglia was likely too close for the results to help, but again I suspect there would have been limited services and they were going for limited numbers of unit types.

SWR has the issue that it's 3rd rail for much of the network is limited and so has little scope for charging batteries and there's not really any routes which would be suitable (certainly not the WofE services).
 

The Ham

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You could include the TfW franchise, which does include quite a bit of battery use!

Thanks, I was looking at the government's list of franchises so that wasn't included.

Which, as you highlight, shows that batteries were used where they make sense.
 

reddragon

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SWR has the issue that it's 3rd rail for much of the network is limited and so has little scope for charging batteries and there's not really any routes which would be suitable (certainly not the WofE services).
I would say that the opposite is the case. Units with batteries would enable enhanced services on say the Weymouth line as the energy peaks would be taken by the batteries enabling a better service.
 

The Ham

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I would say that the opposite is the case. Units with batteries would enable enhanced services on say the Weymouth line as the energy peaks would be taken by the batteries enabling a better service.

Indeed, I did consider this and the Salisbury 6 (Salisbury-Romsey via Southampton) but excluded them as they would require a lot of batteries to be installed on a lot of trains for fairly few services.
 

D365

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I would say that the opposite is the case. Units with batteries would enable enhanced services on say the Weymouth line as the energy peaks would be taken by the batteries enabling a better service.
There has been some investigation whether onboard batteries could be used as a means of ”peak shaving”, but I understand that lineside batteries are seen as a more favourable option. In either scenario, batteries would be charged off peak and used during peak hours.
 

supervc-10

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For the busier parts of the SWR network, lineside batteries seem like a much better option than onboard ones. Replacing the 159s with something bi-mode though would probably be a good idea when they give up the ghost, and having a battery buffer onboard to assist the diesel might well be worthwhile. Going bi-mode makes the logistics of electrifying to Salisbury somewhat easier. Not sure how much of a business case could be made for electrifying beyond Salisbury, although if done at 25kv and alongside Reading-Basingstoke, it could prove a useful diversion route if the Great Western was electrified to Exeter, and could be useful if XC had bi-modes.

As ever, I feel like the real solution is proper electrification, especially on busy main lines where part of the route is already electrified! Swindon-Bristol Temple Meads, finishing the MML, Basingstoke-Salisbury, the Uckfield line, the real solution on all of these is to electrify properly.
 
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