How much does it cost to power a train?

JDi

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Per mile, how much would it cost to power both a diesel HST (Intercity-125) and an electric one? (Assuming that it is travelling at full speed during this mile)
 
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philthetube

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I imagine the expensive part is setting off and going up hills, probably maintaining speed is not that expensive.
 

Dai Corner

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As a starting point, NR publish this list from which it can be seen a 390 uses about 31 kWh per mile. At domestic rates of around 13p per kWh that would be about £4

It is stated here that an HST uses about 4.6 L of diesel fuel per km. That's 7.4 L per mile which would cost about £9 at your local filling station, though I expect that's not quite the same sort of diesel trains use.

These will obviously be averages and a train travelling at a constant speed on level track will use less but by my back of an envelope calculations the diesel train will cost about twice as much in fuel than an electric one.

Hopefully someone able to give a more authorative answer will come along shortly.
 

KevinTurvey

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The spreadsheet contains some interesting figures. Hard to believe a 333 consumes nearly twice as much as a 321 for doing pretty similar things, and yet a Pendolino only consumes a third more than the 333 for more than double the train size operating at higher speeds. I assume the regenerative braking would be included in these figures.

Does anybody know how much a railway KWh costs to purchase?
 

70014IronDuke

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Per mile, how much would it cost to power both a diesel HST (Intercity-125) and an electric one? (Assuming that it is travelling at full speed during this mile)
What a simple looking question.
Unfortunately it has a myriad of answers, dependent upon what you mean exactly by the words you use, or rather, don't use.
 

edwin_m

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The spreadsheet contains some interesting figures. Hard to believe a 333 consumes nearly twice as much as a 321 for doing pretty similar things, and yet a Pendolino only consumes a third more than the 333 for more than double the train size operating at higher speeds. I assume the regenerative braking would be included in these figures.
The modelled consumption rates take account of the duties each train is performing. The 333 is stopping and starting frequently but the Pendolino runs continuously for long distances. Even when regeneration is taken into account stopping and re-starting uses a large amount of energy.
 

yorkie

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Per mile, how much would it cost to power both a diesel HST (Intercity-125) and an electric one? (Assuming that it is travelling at full speed during this mile)
I have moved this thread to the correct forum.

The question is worded in a way that is difficult to answer; it is unclear what you are asking and it appears to be simplistic.

Are you asking for an average per mile? This is going to vary by route and stopping pattern. And comparing a specific diesel train (though you do not specify the number of coaches) with a generic "electric one" seems to suggest you think a Class 323 is going to use the same amount of electricity as an 11-car Pendolino or a Class 91 and rake of 9 Mk4 coaches plus DVT?
 

DelW

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It is stated here that an HST uses about 4.6 L of diesel fuel per km. That's 7.4 L per mile which would cost about £9 at your local filling station, though I expect that's not quite the same sort of diesel trains use.
I have always assumed that trains would be able to use red diesel, which I think costs around 70p per litre, though that figure may be somewhat out of date now (my job no longer needs me to know the current cost). There's no chemical difference between red diesel and road fuel (DERV), the only difference is the tax level.
 

Dai Corner

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I have always assumed that trains would be able to use red diesel, which I think costs around 70p per litre, though that figure may be somewhat out of date now (my job no longer needs me to know the current cost). There's no chemical difference between red diesel and road fuel (DERV), the only difference is the tax level.
If that's the case the diesel train fuel cost comes down to about £5 per mile, much closer to electric.

(But remember, guys, I'm just guesstimating here!)
 

lejog

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I have always assumed that trains would be able to use red diesel, which I think costs around 70p per litre, though that figure may be somewhat out of date now (my job no longer needs me to know the current cost). There's no chemical difference between red diesel and road fuel (DERV), the only difference is the tax level.
Red diesel cost 53p per litre in September, up from 51p in August. Fuel price tracker.

Tax is only 11p of the price, so you would think the rail industry would get discounts off that price.

If that's the case the diesel train fuel cost comes down to about £5 per mile, much closer to electric.

(But remember, guys, I'm just guesstimating here!)
Which brings the current price guestimate down to around £3.50 per mile for a 125 compared to £3.10 for a 390. The cost for diesels will go up somewhat if the price of oil returns to $100 a barrel though.
 

notverydeep

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When I plan service improvements on a number of metro like routes a nominal £2.20 per mile is used for evaluation and budgeting, although we actually plan in kilometres at about £1.35 per km. There is some variation between routes in the range of roughly £1.10 per km to £1.55 per km. The lower cost routes are those that have regenerative braking.

All these routes have lighter electric trains, more frequent stops, shorter distances between stops and lower top speeds than most National Rail corridors. Higher speed and greater train weight will increase consumption, more widely spaced stops and / or regenerative braking will reduce it.
 

PaxmanValenta

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Per mile, how much would it cost to power both a diesel HST (Intercity-125) and an electric one? (Assuming that it is travelling at full speed during this mile)
I’d say DMUs such as class 220/221/222 with an engine in each coach are more expensive to run than trains like the HST with a single engined loco at both ends. In my opinion the DMUs are probably no more efficient than buses on the roads. One engine in the loco at the front and perhaps a rear loco is far better. Also all these extra engines on DMUs need to be maintained parts replaced etc adding to running costs.
 

rebmcr

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I’d say DMUs such as class 220/221/222 with an engine in each coach are more expensive to run than trains like the HST with a single engined loco at both ends. In my opinion the DMUs are probably no more efficient than buses on the roads. One engine in the loco at the front and perhaps a rear loco is far better.
Larger engines with proportionally larger internal displacement volume require more fuel, though. I doubt it's as simple as bigger=better because otherwise we'd have a single moon-sized engine powering the whole planet.

Also all these extra engines on DMUs need to be maintained parts replaced etc adding to running costs.
DMU engines are generally leased from a manufacturer's pool, and can go between trucks and trains interchangably before and after rebuilds.
 

marshmallow

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Is there any way that I can get an estimate of running a British Rail Class 377 train per mile for different numbers of carriages? I am not looking for a cost per passenger per mile, however if there is any information on how the number of passengers on a train affects the cost of running it, this would be useful as well.
 

marshmallow

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At the very least, it would be very useful to know the relative costs of different sizes of train, e.g. how many times as much does it cost to run a 12 coach train as it does to run an 8 coach train?
 

ChiefPlanner

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ATOC used a very bright engineering student on a yearly secondment to work out the actual costs on a spreadsheet of stopping a passenger train at any station. Great piece of work. Purely EC4T and fuel costs etc.

A 465 on the Sheerness stopping at Swale cost about 55p , a HST at a fictional Wantage Road about £80 ....
 

43096

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An HST set uses roughly 7.2 litres of fuel per mile. At a red diesel price of 60p/l that’s £4.32.
 

route:oxford

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At the very least, it would be very useful to know the relative costs of different sizes of train, e.g. how many times as much does it cost to run a 12 coach train as it does to run an 8 coach train?
Without any further detail, the best estimate would be 50% more.
 

route:oxford

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ATOC used a very bright engineering student on a yearly secondment to work out the actual costs on a spreadsheet of stopping a passenger train at any station. Great piece of work. Purely EC4T and fuel costs etc.

A 465 on the Sheerness stopping at Swale cost about 55p , a HST at a fictional Wantage Road about £80 ....
So three passengers boarding in the morning peak, going to London and returning in the evening would cover the daily operating costs of one train each way in the peaks.
 

Dai Corner

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Without any further detail, the best estimate would be 50% more.
Leasing/purchase costs: 50% more
Track Access charges (including electricity for EMUs): 50% more
Diesel fuel for DMUs: 50% more
Traincrew costs: same
Maintainance: 50% more

That's for units. Loco-hauled would be more complicated.

Capital costs might include: Platform extensions, track and signalling changes, depot changes.....
 

coppercapped

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Is there any way that I can get an estimate of running a British Rail Class 377 train per mile for different numbers of carriages? I am not looking for a cost per passenger per mile, however if there is any information on how the number of passengers on a train affects the cost of running it, this would be useful as well.
At the very least, it would be very useful to know the relative costs of different sizes of train, e.g. how many times as much does it cost to run a 12 coach train as it does to run an 8 coach train?
You will have to be more precise if you want an answer that is useful. You ask for a 'per mile' cost. Do you mean fuel cost for traction, fuel cost for the 'hotel services' (ventilation, heating, cooling and lighting), maintenance cost, cleaning cost, fixed track access charge, variable track access charge, crew costs, leasing costs or all of these together?

The Class 377 is a multiple unit and is available in 3, 4 and 5 coach lengths. As a first approximation all the costs, except staff costs, will be proportional to the length of the train so a 12 coach train will cost half as much again as an 8 coach train. Staff costs are, of course, per train so unless the longer train has additional services, e.g., a buffet, these stay constant.

Because railways have very low rolling resistance to motion, by virtue of steel wheels on steel rails, fuel costs make up a small proportion of the direct running costs of a train - except in the case of heavy freight trains.
 

hwl

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So three passengers boarding in the morning peak, going to London and returning in the evening would cover the daily operating costs of one train each way in the peaks.
Isn't that just the cost of stopping vs not stopping at the station?
 

yorkie

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So three passengers boarding in the morning peak, going to London and returning in the evening would cover the daily operating costs of one train each way in the peaks.
The cost of fuel/power is only a small proportion of the overall cost.
 

corsaVXR

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https://assets.publishing.service.g...s/attachment_data/file/82840/tts-redacted.pdf

the IEP specifications specify limits for certain journeys:
  • "A 130m Electric IEP Unit on a journey from Kings Cross to Newcastle under the conditions defined in Annex B shall consume no more than 4600kWh;
  • A 234m Bi-mode IEP Unit on a journey from Kings Cross to Newcastle under the conditions defined in Annex B shall consume no more than 8180kWh; and
  • A 208m Electric IEP Unit on a journey from Paddington to Bristol under the conditions defined in Annex B shall consume no more than 3110kWh."
At 10p per kWh (as quoted above):
  • Journey 1 = £460
  • Journey 2 = £818
  • Journey 3 = £311
 

thenorthern

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Trains use a very small amount of horsepower for their weight, I can't remember the exact amount but its a couple of horsepower per metric ton which compared to cars its quite efficient.
 

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