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US railroad electrification

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, February 24, 2024 12:25 PM

I've been advocating for using batteries to allow dead catenary in low clearance areas for years now. Also bear in mind that there were several electric locomotives with batteries built in the 1920-30 era where the batteries allowed running over short section of non-electrified trackage. The North Shore line's battery-electrics could travel up to two miles w/o overhead.

For a battery-electric, the optimal battery technology would lean more to a very high cycle life over specific energy (e.g. w-hr/lb). Right now, LFP seems to be the best match, though have reports of new technology with even higher cycle life. Think Uuninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) for a locomotive.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Saturday, February 24, 2024 12:23 PM

Yeah, I believe that's like Amtrak's plan with "Airo" trainsets using batteries and/or battery tenders.

For freight, I believe having multiple battery tenders will be in their future.

 

 

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, February 24, 2024 12:10 PM

aegrotatio

It takes a train "more than a mile to stop" so why not insulate a dead section of catenary under low bridges and tunnels and route the live current under or around the low bridge for continuity?

Seems like a no-brainer for me to have a couple hundred feet of dead catenary when the train can just coast through it.  Amtrak already does this on the NEC in "phase breaks" between power zones.  Amtrak also does this on at least one moveable bridge river crossing.

 

 

 

Just use a version of this that can charge off of sections of CAT or 3rd Rail.

https://www.wabteccorp.com/newsroom/press-releases/wabtec-and-roy-hill-unveil-the-first-flxdrive-battery-locomotive

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Posted by aegrotatio on Saturday, February 24, 2024 11:57 AM

It takes a train "more than a mile to stop" so why not insulate a dead section of catenary under low bridges and tunnels and route the live current under or around the low bridge for continuity?

Seems like a no-brainer for me to have a couple hundred feet of dead catenary when the train can just coast through it.  Amtrak already does this on the NEC in "phase breaks" between power zones.  Amtrak also does this on at least one moveable bridge river crossing.

 

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, February 11, 2024 10:45 AM

FRED CAPPELLER
Would the downhill ones dynamic braking charging the lines be enough to power (partially) the uphills climb?

Short answer is no.  Too much loss in all the conversions and transmission.  It also requires the trains to be balanced, an up train at the same time as a down train. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Sunday, February 11, 2024 10:04 AM

Erik_Mag

FWIW, 1500V is much too low of a voltage for a mainline electrification.

Quite true.  One of the reasons that South Shore dieselized its freight service was that the electrical system could not support operation of NIPSCO unit trains.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, February 10, 2024 6:43 PM

The Milwaukee electrification saved about 17% in electric usage with regenerative braking. While the energy savings were nice, the main benefit was from reduction in brake wear and fewer accidents.

FWIW, 1500V is much too low of a voltage for a mainline electrification.

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Posted by FRED CAPPELLER on Saturday, February 10, 2024 5:28 PM

Ride the South Shore in Chicago and Indiana. 1500 VDC. Have thought about eletrifying heavy freight on heavy grades out west and elsewhere. Have two freights, each with several battery and trolley locomotives, one descending, the other ascending at the same time, caternaries on both tracks. Would the downhill ones dynamic braking charging the lines be enough to power (partially) the uphills climb?

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, February 10, 2024 4:07 PM

Backshop
Erik_Mag

A number of electrifications used renewable solar energy in the form of fallling water, with dams being the method for storing the potential energy.

 

How is hydro considered solar energy?

 

Because it takes solar energy to evaporate the water that then becomes rain or snow that supplies water to hydro plants. Pretty much the same thing with wind, solar energy creates the pressure gradients in the atmosphere which then causes wind.

It's just been the last century where solar energy was more directly used to generate mechanical or electrical work, first being using concentrated solar light flux to power heat engines (Steam or Stirling)  and later photovoltaic.

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Posted by Gramp on Saturday, February 10, 2024 3:51 PM

Sounds like Wabtec is going all in on hydrogen powered engines. 

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Saturday, February 10, 2024 3:34 PM

I've heard of solar farms that pump water during the day into a water tower or reservoir that's then drained at night to spin a turbine to produce electricity.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, February 10, 2024 3:25 PM

Backshop

 

 
Erik_Mag

A number of electrifications used renewable solar energy in the form of fallling water, with dams being the method for storing the potential energy. 

 

 

How is hydro considered solar energy?

 

 

My father would use the term, "liquid sunshine" to describe rainy days.

Jeff 

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, February 10, 2024 1:24 PM

Erik_Mag

A number of electrifications used renewable solar energy in the form of fallling water, with dams being the method for storing the potential energy. 

How is hydro considered solar energy?

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, February 10, 2024 1:10 PM

A number of electrifications used renewable solar energy in the form of fallling water, with dams being the method for storing the potential energy.

Using combined cycl gas turbines for generating electricity, one could argue that would be "greener" (lower pm2.5, lower CO2, and probably lower NOx), than using diesel engines.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 10, 2024 10:40 AM

Part of any plan to electrify with predominantly 'green' energy will always involve relatively vast energy storage.  Back in the '90s much of that was supposed to be implemented with superconducting magnetic storage, and much of the 'enabling' technology will have been costed down considerably by modern improvements in tech and materials science.  One of the current things being discussed is widespread reworking of retired BEV battery cells into the equivalent of very large, somewhat defective Tesla PowerWalls with inverters synced off the 'grid' powerline frequency.  The various methods developed for wayside storage, including those discussed for the dual-mode lite proposal (Volume 4) remain useful in reducing the absolute amount of new generation capacity needed for electrification sections, although of course most of those technologies have shorter storage times than needed to accommodate periods of darkness, still air, or other causes of low renewable generation.

Incidentally, railroads ran signals for decades on battery power only until the advent of the dynamo, with it being a normal operating procedure for trackworkers to check, pull, and arrange to recharge the batteries as needed.

The early versions of electric locomotive used chemical batteries (see Dr. Pope's locomotive, and see if you can figure out why no one adopted it...)

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, February 10, 2024 10:03 AM

Batteries for surge power or emergencies are an old idea.  Many early steam railroad and street railway electrifications which relied on their own power plant for electricity had large storage batteries for emergencies and to balance the load.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by tree68 on Friday, February 9, 2024 1:14 PM

alphas

I can't imagine any RR electrification if it can only be powered by solar or wind in future years.

Such an installation would undoubtedly include some form of surge power - batteries are currently used at many solar installations.  Local fire departments spent a week dealing with a fire at just such a battery farm recently.

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, February 9, 2024 11:57 AM

alphas

I can't imagine any RR electrification if it can only be powered by solar or wind in future years.

 

May be our only chance of holding a daylight job. 

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by alphas on Thursday, February 8, 2024 11:00 PM

I can't imagine any RR electrification if it can only be powered by solar or wind in future years.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, February 8, 2024 9:42 PM

Electrification? Currently, it would need to be using Chinese batteries, or a very long extension cord.....While we wait for the Federal EPA to ban combustion, or burning of anything...

 

 


 

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Posted by Patowmack-OhioSummiter on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 11:59 AM

Yeah my opinion on the issue is as long as the railroads are privately owned its probably not going to happen. Short term costs of electrifying and building substations for that electrification are too much for the class 1s to even consider doing it. Either its going to be the government paying for the companies doing it or a nationalized not for profit company doing it like conrail but on a national level. Of course nationalization is a whole different issue and i reckon everybody here knows how unlikely that is considering the lack of political will and itd be an existential fight for all the companies. 

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, January 13, 2024 8:49 PM

charlie hebdo

Since the "Geese" were made from repurposed Buick and later Pierce carbodies, why was a Packard hood ornament (actually a swan or cormorant) used?

We have a Mack Bulldog on the hood of our International tanker...

Our late "engineer foreman" (head mechanic) worked for Mack...  I forget whether it's dressed up in a firefighter's outfit, or Superman...

LarryWhistling
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, January 13, 2024 8:09 PM

Since the "Geese" were made from repurposed Buick and later Pierce carbodies, why was a Packard hood ornament (actually a swan or cormorant) used?

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Posted by mudchicken on Friday, January 12, 2024 12:53 PM

(PackardBaker redux)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 12, 2024 11:22 AM

What I said.

"Galloping Ghost" was a known sobriquet when RGS started building.

And it would be logical to pun on 'Galloping Ghost' by calling something with a Packard Goose on its radiator a 'Galloping Goose' -- with the logical sarcasm about ungainly appearance and strange ride quality that would go with it.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, January 11, 2024 12:37 PM

MidlandMike
What is shown on the History Channel, were current events when I was young.

Aliens?

  

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, January 11, 2024 12:28 PM

Overmod

 

 
charlie hebdo
77, like Red Grange's number.

 

I still think the Rio Grande 'Galloping Goose' got its name from Red Grange and the Packard hood ornament.

 

Yeah, I know it was Pierce-Arrow.  Who could tell those repurposed parts of luxury cars apart in the Depression?

 

The nickname, "Galloping Ghost" was coined for Red Grange in the early 1920s by sportswriter Warren Brown, replacing the earlier "Wheaton Iceman" (also my hometown).

The term "Galloping Geese" for RGS motorcars started in the 1930s.

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 7:54 PM

jeffhergert
I'm old enough to remember when the History Channel actually had history on it.

What is shown on the History Channel, were current events when I was young.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 6:54 PM

charlie hebdo
77, like Red Grange's number.

I still think the Rio Grande 'Galloping Goose' got its name from Red Grange and the Packard hood ornament.

Yeah, I know it was Pierce-Arrow.  Who could tell those repurposed parts of luxury cars apart in the Depression?

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