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Big batteries to power our trains

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Monday, November 15, 2021 3:00 PM

If you're talking about the 1525 class they where hybrids.  They could draw power from either their 300 HP diesel engine their on board battery or the 3rd rail or some where equipped with a pantagraph for where they had access to one.  All where scrapped after serving long lives.  On their battery they could do 9 MPH on 3rd rail 18 and diesel power 40.  

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, November 15, 2021 7:26 PM

wjstix

 

 
YoHo1975
I'm not a Railroader, but I know enough to know that one of the things that caused diesel to dominate over steam was that it could actually run further than a steam engine could. Creating a battery system that has the ability to haul a train about the same distance as a typical steam engine doesn't have relevance to the modern railroad.

 

However not all engines are used in long-distance freight service. Many are used in yard switching or local switching, moving cars from a yard a few miles to an industry. New York Central was using battery powered engines a century (or more) ago, so I'd think there could be uses for hi-tech versions of them now?

 

It's true that battery powered locomotives may have a place in yard operations.  The engines being talked about are road engines.

Here's the Railway Age article that I read on them.

FLXdrive ‘Electrifies’ Pittsburgh - Railway Age

I think that they are meant to normally be recharged when in service through the use of dynamic braking, rather than stationary charging.  The first generation design takes 8 hours, the second generation 4 hours for stationary charging.  

Jeff

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Posted by Ulrich on Monday, November 15, 2021 7:59 PM

Hydrogen fuel cell powered locomotives are the better option for road locomotives while battery locomotives would be best suited for yard work. Looking forward to seeing  how CP does with their fuel cell test locomotive.  

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Posted by kgbw49 on Monday, November 15, 2021 9:21 PM

Interestingly, the article notes a five year life for road use, then conversion to other purposes such as electricity storage, then disposal after that secondary use remains undetermined at this time.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Monday, November 15, 2021 10:49 PM

caldreamer

They have a large solar array plant on their Alberta, Canada location.  They said that they can use it to recharge the Flexdrive locomotive.  Free electicity!!!

A few points with respects to CN's claims:

#1 The locomotive would have to be parked by a charging station during the daytime hours and run at night. OTOH, CN could invest in stationary battery storage to get more flexibility in time of charging.

#2 There's a lot less sunlight during the winter in Alberta than in other parts of the year, solar plant capacity factors will be abysmal in wintertime. Even hydro power has problems with varyiations in rainfall and snowfall.

# 3 When cost of solar panels plus supporting structure for the panels plus power conversion plus grid connection costs plus maintennance costs are added up, solar ain't free. This gets even worse if you need energy storage.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, November 15, 2021 11:19 PM

Shadow the Cats owner
NY Post ...  Biden might close Michigan pipeline, White House admits (nypost.com) 

The Administration is studying Line 5.  The Army Corps of Engineers is doing the environmental review (not the EPA).  The Army Corps has already done earlier reviews in the Line 5 crossing at Mackinac Straits and gave no indication then that they were in favor of closing the line.  They are doing the study because Canada has asked them to get involved in this international pipeline.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 7:30 AM

They say the ACOE is doing the Enviromential review for line 5.  The EPA will be involved in this why they are the agency in the USA that controls the water quality in the nation.  That and they can modify any regulations needed to shutdown the pipeline and get away with it.  The railroads have seen this crap from them in the past.  Remember what they did to EMD with the Tier 4 regulations.  They literally changed the regulations that forced out the 710 prime mover.  

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 9:40 PM

My experience was that PHMSA handles pipelane regulation, USACE handles permitting on the bottomlands of the Great Lakes and navagable waters, and the Coast Guard handles spills there.  EPA may have input on things like ship ballast permissable discharges, but I think the USCG still enforces those regulations.  In any case it matters little which agency will have input into the Line 5 controversy, as any discretion they have is limited by the law which they cannot modify.  As an example, the Dakota Access Pipeline was permitted during the Obama-Biden era, and was built thru occupying protest.  (The neighboring Keystone XL pipeline is not an applicable example since permitting an international pipeline is a diplomatic and political decision.)

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 9:55 PM

Just remember this about just how out of control some of the people the current administration has put into high level management positions.  We have a Sec of Transportation that during this major supply chain crisis spent 2 months on vacation instead of trying to fix the problem. An energy secretary that has been quoted as saying she wants to kill all fossil fuel production in the USA.  The head of the FMCSA to say they have zero clue on what the industry is about is an understatement.  This person was the one that 5 year's ago wanted a maximum of 8 hours of work per day in the OTR industry.  Can you imagine just how screwed up the supply chain would have been if that was the rule right now.  

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 10:15 PM

All that political rant has nothing to do with a case that is now in federal court.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:25 AM

MidlandMike

All that political rant has nothing to do with a case that is now in federal court.

 

You are absolutely correct.  People here are not taking into account that we are in a Climate Emergency and have to make the transition away from fossil fuels.  If we don't have painfully high prices for energy, this needed transition will never happen.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:35 AM

The Tesla semi truck in real world testing has a bigger problem than people who love electric vehicles realize.  It can't even haul a standard gross weight load across a mountain pass in winter.  My boss has seen the data were a Tesla truck in testing trying to cross Wyoming coming out of Salt Lake City ran out of power in it's battery's before Green River.  That's less than 150 miles people.  It then took 5 hours to recharge the battery using a supercharger.  So you still think battery's are the best possible power source for long haul logistics.  150 mile range in the summer and 5 hours to recharge.  Nope not going to work for me or my boss.  

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:18 PM

Paul Milenkovic

 

 
MidlandMike

All that political rant has nothing to do with a case that is now in federal court.

 

 

 

You are absolutely correct.  People here are not taking into account that we are in a Climate Emergency and have to make the transition away from fossil fuels.  If we don't have painfully high prices for energy, this needed transition will never happen.

 

Maybe not everyone agrees we're in a man-made climate emergency.

Jeff

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:00 PM

jeffhergert

 

 
Paul Milenkovic

 

 
MidlandMike

All that political rant has nothing to do with a case that is now in federal court.

 

 

 

You are absolutely correct.  People here are not taking into account that we are in a Climate Emergency and have to make the transition away from fossil fuels.  If we don't have painfully high prices for energy, this needed transition will never happen.

 

 

 

Maybe not everyone agrees we're in a man-made climate emergency.

Jeff

 

Not so loud, you are going to blow my cover Huh?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Friday, November 19, 2021 6:20 AM

We have been hearing the same freaking rants for the last 50 years in the media.  Except they keep changing what they are saying and what will happen.  In the 70's it was prepare for the next Ice Age. In the 80's it was the end of the Ozone Layer and worldwide Famine the 90's the End of the Artic Ice and Anarticia ice caps by 2000.  Then it became man made climate change and the government figured they could tax people by regulations.  

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Friday, November 19, 2021 7:30 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

The Tesla semi truck in real world testing has a bigger problem than people who love electric vehicles realize.  It can't even haul a standard gross weight load across a mountain pass in winter.  My boss has seen the data were a Tesla truck in testing trying to cross Wyoming coming out of Salt Lake City ran out of power in it's battery's before Green River.  That's less than 150 miles people.  It then took 5 hours to recharge the battery using a supercharger.  So you still think battery's are the best possible power source for long haul logistics.  150 mile range in the summer and 5 hours to recharge.  Nope not going to work for me or my boss.  

 

I was kind of wondering about the Tesla Semi.  If they could sell that thing at a profit, could a battery electric locomotive be far behind?

If they are not selling them to paying customers, what is the holdup?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, November 19, 2021 9:38 PM

Shadow the Cats owner
In the 80's it was the end of the Ozone Layer...

The ozone layer (which protects from UV radiation) was depleting.   Since the curtailing of CFC's the depletion has slowed, and in time may recover.  It has shown cause and effect of human activity on the atmosphere.  It's not a "freaking rant"

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Friday, November 19, 2021 10:30 PM

Paul Milenkovic

I was kind of wondering about the Tesla Semi.  If they could sell that thing at a profit, could a battery electric locomotive be far behind?

If they are not selling them to paying customers, what is the holdup?

Methinks the ideal application for the Tesla Semi is hauling containers from LA/LB to the Inland Empire. That has a relatively flat profile, mild weather and short enough to make a round trip on one charge. STCO's comment about how the Tesla semi performed in the Rockies is what I would expect from an battery powered semi.

 

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Saturday, November 20, 2021 7:20 AM

Erik_Mag

 

 
Paul Milenkovic

I was kind of wondering about the Tesla Semi.  If they could sell that thing at a profit, could a battery electric locomotive be far behind?

If they are not selling them to paying customers, what is the holdup?

 

 

Methinks the ideal application for the Tesla Semi is hauling containers from LA/LB to the Inland Empire. That has a relatively flat profile, mild weather and short enough to make a round trip on one charge. STCO's comment about how the Tesla semi performed in the Rockies is what I would expect from an battery powered semi.

 

 

The ideal application for the Tesla Semi is if they actually built a bunch of them and sold them to commercial customers who in turn found a use for them.

So far the Semi has been vaporware.  Promises of, yeah, next year, for sure!

If the Tesla Semi were produced and used, that would go a long, long way to showing that battery power is a real solution to reducing the use of fossil fuels that doesn't need to be imposed by mandate or edict.

I was kind of surprised that electric cars and especially Tesla's electric car is such a big seller, especially in the "luxury segment" of the automobile market.  But it is a big question as to why "luxury" cars sell as many as they do.  I haven't driven what would be considered a luxury car, or at least in the last 40 years, but I have ridden in them, and I was never impressed, "Wow, this car is so smooth, quite and comfy, I am spending twice as much as what I would spend for a new car and getting me one to drive!"  I remember riding in a Volkswagen and being impressed that the seats offered a firm, upright seating position but were somehow lest squirm inducing than other cars, but I have heard horror stories of the amount of maintenance to keep a VW on the road and similar remarks about the German luxury cars -- Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes.

One could argue that the luxury car is a case of "market segmentation", which was Alfred Sloan's original idea with the difference between a Chevrolet, a Pontiac, an Oldmobile, a Buick and finally a Cadillac.  You get people to part with the amount of money they can afford to spend based on creating an image of who is OK driving a Chevy and who needs to have a Caddy.  But it is questionable as to whether a car selling for double the base price offers twice the economic utility as the cheaper one, leaving out the tinny cars at the very bottom of the car market.

That said, what Tesla is selling is image and feeling good about oneself for being an early adopter of a durable good that will "save the environment."  I asked someone on this thread who objects to what they perceive to be anti-environmental "political rants" about the Tesla they are driving, and they have wandered away from this thread, so maybe they don't drive one.  Maybe they cannot afford one, maybe they can but did the hard pencil-and-paper or Excel spreadsheet calcs that they are too expensive or maybe they use transit and for the few times they use their automobile, they figure using their fossil fuel car is not putting too big a strain on the natural environment?

The thing is, the people operating OTR trucks are all about sharpening their pencils or booting up a computer running Excel.  If the Tesla Semi doesn't save them money, there is no sale.  Yeah, there are truck operators who put chrome wheels and exhaust stacks on their truck, especially owner-operators, but there is only so much money to be spent on looks because everyone in that business is running a business.

If the Tesla Semi ever makes it into production and sells and has some measure of success in operation, even in niche markets, that tells me that battery power, whether for my car or for a railroad locomotive as is the on-topic subject of this Forum, that battery power is a thing.  If battery power remains uneconomic and is mandated or required by legislation or Executive Order, however, that will have a real cost that will either put some operators out of business or raise the prices charged by the operators remaining in business, a cost that will be paid by us all.

What about the Climate Emergency?  We need to mandate battery power and anyone voicing objections is engaging in a political rant and needs to have their posts removed by the Moderators!  Yeah, there is the Climate Emergency, and I am trying to gauge committment to it by how many people who are triggered by the anti-environment political rants have gone out and done what they can to reduce their carbon footprint?  

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:24 AM

Erik_Mag

 

 
Paul Milenkovic

Methinks the ideal application for the Tesla Semi is hauling containers from LA/LB to the Inland Empire. That has a relatively flat profile, mild weather and short enough to make a round trip on one charge. STCO's comment about how the Tesla semi performed in the Rockies is what I would expect from an battery powered semi.

Never happen.  Have you ever looked at the tractors hauling drayage?  Drayage is probably the lowest paying form of trucking there is.  Most of the tractors are one breakdown away from the scrapper.  Nobody would buy a new, unproven, super expensive tractor to do it.  LA-IE isn't as flat as you might think it is.  There are some grades getting over the hills.  

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:29 AM

Paul Milenkovic

One could argue that the luxury car is a case of "market segmentation", which was Alfred Sloan's original idea with the difference between a Chevrolet, a Pontiac, an Oldmobile, a Buick and finally a Cadillac.  You get people to part with the amount of money they can afford to spend based on creating an image of who is OK driving a Chevy and who needs to have a Caddy. 

What I always found weird about that is that they made the Corvette a Chevy.  I would've thought that it would've fit in better with the Pontiac brand, since that was their performance brand.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:34 AM

We have a saying to our fleet drivers that say why can't we have more chrome on the trucks.  We say chrome is nice but it does not pay the bills.  The trucks we spec out are done in a way to squeeze out every dime out of a nickel in revenue for you to get paid the wages we can pay.  So by not spending that money on all the chrome extras you want us to we can give you around an extra 10k a year in wages.  So what do you want lose 10 grand a year for your family for something you have to keep clean and shiny.  If that is the truck your wanting TMC is always hiring.  TMC has a nickname in the industry called Too Much Chrome as they have always blinged out their trucks to the hilt.  Then puts the smallest motor in the truck and pays their drivers crap wages for having them in fully blinged out equipment.  

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:36 AM

Backshop

 

I mean you only have to climb Cajon and Grapevine to get out of the LA basin towards the IE going north then if your on 58 have to deal with Tehacaphi for fun.  No major grades there at all.  

 

 
Erik_Mag

 

 
Paul Milenkovic

Methinks the ideal application for the Tesla Semi is hauling containers from LA/LB to the Inland Empire. That has a relatively flat profile, mild weather and short enough to make a round trip on one charge. STCO's comment about how the Tesla semi performed in the Rockies is what I would expect from an battery powered semi.

 

 

Never happen.  Have you ever looked at the tractors hauling drayage?  Drayage is probably the lowest paying form of trucking there is.  Most of the tractors are one breakdown away from the scrapper.  Nobody would buy a new, unproven, super expensive tractor to do it.  LA-IE isn't as flat as you might think it is.  There are some grades getting over the hills.  

 

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:59 AM
Put these units in captive service between LA and Barstow.  Give them the ability to run dual mode via cat or third rail and electrify the Cajon pass.
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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, November 20, 2021 10:33 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

I mean you only have to climb Cajon and Grapevine to get out of the LA basin towards the IE going north then if your on 58 have to deal with Tehacaphi for fun.  No major grades there at all.  

Backshop
LA-IE isn't as flat as you might think it is.  There are some grades getting over the hills.  

FWIW, I have lived various parts of the Southland (AKA SoCal) for almost my entire life and am very familiar with the topography. "Inland Empire" refers to Ontario, San Berdoo and Riverside - while there are some grades between LA/LB and the IE, they are nothing like Cajon, Grapevine or Tehachapi. The latter two grades are between the LA Basin and the San Joaquin Valley.

The advantage of an electric semi in this application is in appeasing the SoCal Air Quality Management District as opposed to keeping the bean counters happy (or even for CO2 reduction). FWIW, SoCal Edison proposed electrifying freight railroads ca 1990 for reducing air pollution. SCE thought it could be done for $80 million, but when the plans were adjusted for the RR's needs, the price ended up at $4 billion, with half of that cost just going to inceasing clearances.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, November 20, 2021 11:29 PM

I think the push to use batteries for everything vehicular comes from people who live in urban areas.  For them, most journeys are relatively short.  If they use a personal vehicle, the range would be such that it allows them to either plug in at work or shopping, etc. or at home once they've returned.  The same for moving freight from warehouse to store.  They don't comprehend, or probably don't care, that not all of the population lives under such conditions.  They don't understand that for some, it might involve 50 or more miles one way to reach some services.  Or that the things they buy come a lot farther away than their local store or "fulfillment" center. 

One pundit, when talking about the future of EVs, said in the future people won't own a personal vehicle.  Instead, people will use something like Uber/Lyft for their transportation needs.  The vehicles will be owned by the ride share/taxi companies.  I suppose that might work in an urban area with other public transport options, but that won't really work outside of urban areas.  Not to mention the convienence of the automobile is what sold the automobile in the first place.  Unless they own a lot, and I mean a lot, of vehicles it won't be too convienent for many people. 

Just part of the increasing divide between urban and rural areas.

Jeff 

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, November 21, 2021 8:50 AM

I've heard personal automobiles will be like horses are today.  Mostly for show/recreation and not actual transportation. 

When autmobiles came around it wasn't like everyone got one the next day.  It took decades.  Same with EVs.  I think you'll def'n see them pretty much common in urban areas (where a lot of the people live), with them slowly spreading to rural areas as battery and charger technology improves*.  There may be some places it will be a long time from now. 

*- this includes standardized chargers and not having to be in an app to use them, please. 

And since owning an automobile doesn't have the same feeling as freedom as in years past (costs, crowded roads, parking, boring designs),  just hailing a car to come by when you need it doesn't sound too awful bad in the long run.   And I'm a guy that likes cars and trucks more than most. 

Of course it doesn't help since WWII everything is auto-centric and you can't even walk from one store in a shopping center to another without jumping curbs, crossing grassy areas and walking around drainage ditches.

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

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, November 21, 2021 11:33 AM

There is a pizza place in Normal Illinois that my hubby and I love to go to from time to time.  The owner always for his delivery drivers has provided cars instead of making them use their own cars and pays for their maintaince and insurance on the fleet.  Well he tried to use EV's in his fleet bought a fleet of Mistubishi's electric cars as they at the time had a plant in the area.  He had charging stations installed in his lot the whole nine yards.  Less than a year later the entire fleet of cars where replaced with regular gas burning cars.  Why his costs where actually HIGHER than buying fuel for all the cars for all the electricity he needed.  He spent more on power for the cars than he did for gasoline for his fleet of 30 cars.  

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, November 21, 2021 2:30 PM

Shadow the Cats owner
Why his costs where actually HIGHER than buying fuel for all the cars for all the electricity he needed.  He spent more on power for the cars than he did for gasoline for his fleet of 30 cars.  

Wonder how he would have fared if he stuck with it more than 10 months?

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

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Sunday, November 21, 2021 4:41 PM

jeffhergert

I think the push to use batteries for everything vehicular comes from people who live in urban areas.

I suspect you are spot on and I would also add the push comes from people who live in areas with relatively mild winters. For my area, an EV could be a very useful commuter vehicle with a gas/diesel vehicle for long trips (>200 miles round trip).

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