Cost comparisons between using NR electricity and "onboard" diesel.

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Wyrleybart

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We often consider electric traction to be cheaper to run than burning diesel, as well as improved performance, timekeeping and environmental benefits. What we don't hear is the relative difference between the costs of buying Network Rail 25kV or 750V DC compared to operating diesel traction.

I appreciate the prices are probably, or were probably confidential deals between track access franchise bids, but does anyone have ball park comparison figures please ?

TIA
 
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coppercapped

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There are mountains of information available on Network Rails web site concerning the way that electricity charges are calculated, see here: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/?s=Electricity+for+traction+charges You'll have to check for yourself to see where there is a usable 'pence/kWh' value in there somewhere. :)

AIUI the bills used to be calculated on the basis of "total electricity purchased by NR/train tonne-miles run" (which is very simplified and doesn't cover all the factors used by ORR to verify the billing regime) but now trains carry their own electricity meters and billing is more 'individual'.

The ORR also used to publish detailed information on costs and income for each franchise, including expenditure on fuel split between diesel and electricity. These data appear to have been 'dumbed down' recently (or have changed their name and I can't find them) and the last itemised spreadsheet I downloaded shows that for franchised train operators in 2015-16 the TOCs spent £308 million on diesel and £281 million on traction electricity. You'll have to find the data for train miles for each type of traction for that year to work out a ball park figure.

Hope this helps.

Added in edit: The ORR does still publish some fuel data, but not to so many significant figures so for 2019-20 diesel fuel consumption was shown as '£0.2billion' which is so broad brush as to be virtually useless.
 
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edwin_m

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There are mountains of information available on Network Rails web site concerning the way that electricity charges are calculated, see here: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/?s=Electricity+for+traction+charges You'll have to check for yourself to see where there is a usable 'pence/kWh' value in there somewhere. :)

AIUI the bills used to be calculated on the basis of "total electricity purchased by NR/train tonne-miles run" (which is very simplified and doesn't cover all the factors used by ORR to verify the billing regime) but now trains carry their own electricity meters and billing is more 'individual'.

The ORR also used to publish detailed information on costs and income for each franchise, including expenditure on fuel split between diesel and electricity. These data appear to have been 'dumbed down' recently (or have changed their name and I can't find them) and the last itemised spreadsheet I downloaded shows that for franchised train operators in 2015-16 the TOCs spent £308 million on diesel and £281 million on traction electricity. You'll have to find the data for train miles for each type of traction for that year to work out a ball park figure.

Hope this helps.
For electric trains without on-board metering I believe computer modelling was (and probably still is) used to obtain a consumption per vehicle-mile for each type of train, and sometimes the same type of train working different duties for different TOCs. These were then added up and a "washup" correction applied to make the total match the actual consumption of the network.

I believe the charges made by NR to the TOCs for traction power include the maintenance of the infrastructure that supplies it, as well as purchase of the actual energy. So likely to be somewhat more than a typical large industrial user would pay for power.
 

Ken H

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Electric trains are cheaper to operate than diesel. no engine maintenance, and brake wear is much reduced if regen braking is used. Maybe getting better availability, which could mean leasing fewer trains. so its not all about fuel costs. better acceleration should reduce journey times making the service more attractive, and may even save a train.
 

Bald Rick

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TOCs are very secretive about fuel consumption figures at class / duty level.
 
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