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Why don't Diesel Trains have AdBlue?

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by ECML125, 6 Jan 2019.

Should UK TOCs be required to have AdBlue Systems installed?

  1. Yes

    45 vote(s)
    62.5%
  2. No

    27 vote(s)
    37.5%
  1. Bringback309s

    Bringback309s Member

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    Funnily enough at Paddington only last week I noticed the "Urea filler" nozzle right next to the fuel filler nozzle on the 802 I'd travelled on. First time I've seen adblue on a train, and as stated it will be simply down to age and meeting current emission regs.
     
  2. TheEdge

    TheEdge Established Member

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    As has been said, the old 1980s/90s engines under so many of our DMUs never had Ad Blu systems as new and for various reasons cannot or will not be fitted. New stuff however is indeed getting it, for example I know the Anglia 755s have an Ad Blu system.
     
  3. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    AdBlue (urea) is only used in conjunction with a selective catalytic reduction catalyst, it reacts on the catalyst to reduce NOx to nitrogen. AdBlue isn't something you just put into an engine and expect better results, it's a requirement of the SCR catalyst. It's merely an exhaust additive that makes the SCR work.

    So your question is really, why don't trains have catalytic NOx control, and the answer is they haven't needed to, you can control this under Stage III and often Stage IV emissions legislation through exhaust gas recirculation and tuning of the fuel/air ratio (lambda), SCR is another option but is costly. Stage V is currently being phased in, most rail components of which will be implemented this year or next, and this tightens NOx standards far enough that SCR will be required in new engines. Other technologies do exist but SCR is prevalent. Bear in mind the emission control system isn't legislated, the level of emission is.

    As such, AdBlue absolutely is being implemented in rail - for new build powertrain.

    Of course any vehicle already in the field carries no legislated retrofit requirements, just like an older car with a Euro 4 catalyst, and although it's possible to retrofit SCR onto a powertrain (some buses have been upgraded) it is not legally mandated and is complex in a number of ways and I can't see a ROSCO doing it when they don't have to!

    This MTU white paper gives a reasonable background: https://www.mtu-online.com/fileadmi...s/3100691_MTU_General_WhitePaper_SCR_2014.pdf
     
  4. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    Really?! By that comment, are you effectively saying that the diesel locomotive of today is the ultimate version? No more improvements may be made from now on? I think not.

    I also think the poll is badly-worded - it is accepted that some designs are inappropriate for AdBlue, so should we not be asking if those which can have the adaptation should have, along with future designs?
     
  5. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    I imagine the engines under the BR era DMUs are far too old to use ad blue, which came in for relatively recent road engines.

    Re-engining them I imagine would be really difficult too, as the modern engines wouldn't fit
     
  6. Charlie Smythe

    Charlie Smythe Member

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    Well it's true, we are already tight for space so we don't want anymore to fit in. Why add more stuff to cram into an already restricted space on a restricted network.
     
  7. modernrail

    modernrail Member

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    Perhaps for the same reason it is being fitted on other producers of emissions. Should railways be a special case for some reason? In any case clearly there is space - it is being fitted to new trains already.

    Clearly the real solution is electrification or alternative forms of traction. In the meantime AdBlue is important. Stations in the north can be pretty disgusting when they are full of old diesels belching out their poison.
     
  8. Charlie Smythe

    Charlie Smythe Member

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    Well that's OK then as i am lucky enough to live where we will forever have diesel trains which i am happy about.
     
  9. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    Because it's now the law.
     
  10. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    As they're grandfathered they don't need to be
     
  11. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    Again, AdBlue is solely an additive used to chemically reduce nitrogen oxides within a catalyst system. That catalyst does nothing for soot, CO or hydrocarbons which require oxidation. The bigger picture in terms of carcinogens is particulate matter, which is dealt with by filters which do not need the additive. They're also easier to retrofit, but again not mandated.
     
  12. modernrail

    modernrail Member

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    Lovely, do enjoy.
     
  13. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    It's not necessarily about what is legal at the moment, but what will be allowed going forward. Unless these old DMUs can be made cleaner, I'm sure their use will be restricted by a future government
     
  14. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    I'm sure they won't, government has never made such a decision on an existing fleet, only on new procurements such as hybrid buses and now bi-mode intercity trains. We still have unmodified Class 47s and clapped out school buses and coaches plodding around, hundreds of Class 66s which are not compliant to current regs. Legislating to make an existing vehicle fleet compliant to current regulations would be unprecedented in this way, they did it with PRM but they are modest overfloor modifications with a huge public interest, not full powertrain replacement which has no visible impact for the consumer other than being without their train while it's being done!

    Again, it comes down to what is made illegal. Government legislates ends, not means. If that end is to achieve a certain level of pollution in a city, then there are levers to achieve that and withdrawal of DMUs may be one, use of battery packs in hybrid DMUs close to city centres is another. The London low emission zone was legislated to achieve the legislated levels of pollution (unsuccessfully, so far), but the complete withdrawal of all high emission vehicles was not. Plus emissions have always been legislated on a European level and have never mandated the withdrawal or modification of a full fleet.

    Sprinters aren't going to be made illegal and the cost of completely re-engineering existing Sprinters would be so high and with so little payback that it would never be done, they may as well just wait until they're replaced anyway. They could I suppose be restricted out of larger city centres in time but the cost would be astronomical and this process is happening anyway when they expire in a few years.

    When new DMUs are needed, they'll have to be ordered to the current EU legislation, as per the 195s (and I don't expect any deviation from that after Brexit) and this achieves the same end that you're suggesting but in a much more pragmatic way.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2019
  15. 357

    357 Member

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    Read my post again. I know we could be better.

    However, compare how green it is to travel London - Scotland by train compared to by air or by driving.
     
  16. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Mk1 stock was made illegal on the national network, with limited exceptions.
     
  17. Charlie Smythe

    Charlie Smythe Member

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    Nothing wrong with some lovely 47's and 66's.
     
  18. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    The depot at Aberdeen has been retrofitted with an Adblue point, as I understand it this is purely so that LNER 80x can top up there (I don't think any of ScotRail's stock uses it?). I've also heard that Blackburn opened with these facilities too, presumably for form the class 195s.
     
  19. Royston Vasey

    Royston Vasey Established Member

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    Only when they were almost life expired for regular service and for clear specific crash safety reasons though, it's different to the emissions of perfectly good units that have been in safe service for 30 years and remain in squadron service.

    I get your point though. But as I say demonstrated safety concerns and environmental credentials are very different reasons to legislate.

    Specifically, the Clapham report in 1988/9 was the first admission that Mk I based stock was not satisfactory, only in 1999 was the order given to phase them out by which time Mk I units had been in service well over 40 years and were on the verge of scrapping and they lasted until 2004.
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2019
  20. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    It's rather more likely that the trains in question will just be withdrawn than modified. The new Wales & Borders franchise includes a provision to withdraw all of their sprinters, which surprised a lot of people. Even with relevant life extension work, a lot of 150s and 156s will struggle to last much longer than another decade because of their build quality and this sort of pressure. The class 158 is slightly better. This sort of pressure will only continue to increase as we grow more concerned about dirty air and low emission / zero emission road vehicles propagate.
     
  21. anamyd

    anamyd Member

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    As others have pointed out, trains on the British network that are equipped with SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology, or "AdBlue systems", are Classes 195, 755, 769, 800 and 802, in terms of multiple units. Do the Class 68 etc Stadler locomotives use it also...?

    Classes 196 (WMR) and "197" or whatever the TfW Rail Civity DMUs will be, and "756" or whatever the TfW FLIRTs will be will also have SCR/AdBlue exhaust aftertreatment. I don't think the diesel engined 230s have it because the engines are van-derived rather than lorry-derived.

    The MTU hybrid PowerPack re-engineered 170s (if/when they happen) will also be fitted with SCR/AdBlue to the current standards, whereas the original Turbostar engines if retrofitted with it would only be brought up to roughly the equivalent of mid-late 2000s to early 2010s road vehicle emissions standards. So forget anything older like Sprinter family/Network Turbo engines...
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2019
  22. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    The assumption that grandfather rights will always remain is fundamentally flawed. There is no guarantee any that prior practice will carry forward. For road vehicles, there was a long period where the emissions were set at point at purchase, with only the most cursory tests to maintain some form of compliance. However, I now have two vehicles which will be uneconomic to use for daily transport in under three years, due to changes in regulations. Nothing much I can do about this, although I had no prior warning that this might occur when I purchased them.
    For the railways, there is no need even for a change in law. The aspiration to be diesel-free by 2040 has already been stated. All that is needed is for the requirements to be written into the intervening franchise agreements (although the DfT has utterly failed to manage this for PRM-TSi compliance.) It's how, for example, TfL are introducing an all-hybrid central London bus fleet, with no legislation required.
     
  23. Metal_gee_man

    Metal_gee_man Member

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    I'd enjoy TFL charging every diesel train not meeting euro 6 standards entering the ULEZ zone in London being charged £200 per engine like lorries and coaches will be in a few months time!
    So thats the Virgin Voyagers 220/221s, LNER class 43s, all Chilterns fleet, GWR turbostars and remaining 43s, all EMT fleet & SWR 158/9s!

    We'd soon have cleaner trains either by retrofitting scrubber exhausts or modified catalytic convertors with AdBlue usage
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2019
  24. Starmill

    Starmill Events Co-ordinator

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    Non-road engines do not have the same standards. Stage V will come into force for these later this year. There is no stage IV for rail vehicles and the current standard is IIIb.
     
  25. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    Take a look at the current CC\ULEZ zone on a map. Only the GWR and SWR trains on your list (plus some Southern units) enter the zone. That's ignoring that the differences in emissions standards, of course.
    If you want to get silly about it, there's the LGV LEZ which applies to the area roughly bounded by the M25...
     
  26. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    No it doesn’t.
     
  27. Bungle965

    Bungle965 Established Member

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    That shouldn't be a problem as they were withdrawn in 1977 and scrapped.
    Sam
     
  28. modernrail

    modernrail Member

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    The scrubber retrofit programme that would really make a dint would be shipping. Unbelievable emissions profile. I wish somebody would explain this properly to those who book cruises or buy rubbish on Amazon. I understand that if you are sat in the wrong spot on a cruise ship, you might as well set your sun bed up in Picadilly Circus.

    I can't see sprinters being caught. However, it is another feather in the cap of EMU conversion into bi-mode.
     
  29. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    This is different from withdrawals for safety reasons, as here it's the effects on wider society of pollution that is the driver. When big cities across the country start banning or taxing older diesel cars, buses and lorries out of their centres, it will look ridiculous if (by then) 35-40 year old Sprinters are still leaving the station amongst a cloud of smoke from their original 1980s engines. Whether it's from re-engining (unlikely) or replacement by new or newer stock (e.g. the 769s which will be much cleaner) or hydrogen 321s, I imagine the Sprinters as they are have a limited life ahead of them

    I assume locos are less of an issue as freight services are far less frequent, and less likely to penetrate city centres?
     
  30. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    You'll be waiting a very long time as TfL won't. Local emissions from Rail in London will fall 80% from the the start of 2016 to the end of 2020, no other sector has or will deliver that scale of reduction.

    If you want to see big reductions in Urban emissions:

    1. Particulates - enforce current legalisation banning wood burning in urban area this will reduce total particulates by 35-40% in large urban areas. A very big cheap and easy win.

    2. NOx - The best BCR for NOx reduction is gas boiler replacement either natural when they are life expired (or accelerated through some kind of highly targeted scrapage scheme) [Gas boiler designs have emission tiers for NOx]. Expect a 25% reduction in NOx over a decade with natural replacement.

    Given the impact of NOx and PMs why are black cab exempt (and remarkably bad) from the ULEZ? and have bigger impact than rail...
     

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