Trains.com

Fortescue in Australia Orders Progress Rail Battery Electric Locomotive

1670 views
14 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2007
  • From: Palos Park, IL
  • 183 posts
Fortescue in Australia Orders Progress Rail Battery Electric Locomotive
Posted by bogie_engineer on Saturday, January 8, 2022 8:19 AM

https://www.australianmining.com.au/news/fortescue-on-track-with-decarbonising-fleet/

This will be a standard gauge BE14.5BB 8-axle locomotive, presumably the BE means Battery Electric and BB signifies 4 axle BB span bolster bogies. 14.5 must indicate the battery capacity.

Dave

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 18,252 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, January 8, 2022 8:33 AM

The article notes the 14.5 is megawatt-hours.

This will be interesting to watch.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • 4,362 posts
Posted by M636C on Saturday, January 8, 2022 7:33 PM

The artist's impression is in FMG colours:

https://www.facebook.com/progressrail/posts/1553214641704538

A cowl unit with a pantograph...

Peter

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,093 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, January 8, 2022 7:35 PM

Overmod

The article notes the 14.5 is megawatt-hours.

This will be interesting to watch.

 

Is that in stand alone service or MUed to diesel electrics that charge the batteries?  If stand alone, how long would 14.5 megawatt hours last in actual hours under "average" service conditions.

The second gen Wabtec engine, according to a Railway Age article, is capable of 40 minutes stand alone service. 

Jeff

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 3,738 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, January 8, 2022 7:43 PM

What is Fortescue's track profile like?

Since they run from an inland mine to an ocean port I'm thinking that their loaded trains would mainly travel downhill, providing an opportunity to recharge the battery unit from regenerative braking. 

Even 40 minutes of free throttle time on each empty return trip could provide some substantial fuel savings.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • From: Palos Park, IL
  • 183 posts
Posted by bogie_engineer on Sunday, January 9, 2022 9:42 AM

I suspect the 14.5 mega-watt hour capacity, and the resulting weight, is needed for their intended service, otherwise why add the complication of designing a standard gauge version of the GBB 4-axle bogie used on the SD70ACE-BB in Brazil. Lower capacity on 6 axles would have been much less development cost and likely quicker too. However, having that bogie in the parts bin may result in similar North American 8-axle locomotives in the future.

Dave

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,102 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Sunday, January 9, 2022 10:56 PM

After seeing the cause of this morning's apartment fire (Li-ion batteries are thought to be the ignition source), I'd want some guarantees from the battery manufacturer on fire safety.

EDIT: Later reports state the probable cause of fire was a space heater. Still want to be very careful with fire risk from Li-ion batteries.

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,724 posts
Posted by YoHo1975 on Monday, January 10, 2022 11:22 AM

Not worth it's own thread until it's announced, but UP is, per Trains Newswire, finalizing a contract for Battery Electric yard locomotives. Will be interesting to see what they get.

 

THey didn't say it would be Progress/EMD, but of course they are the ones that have a yard switcher type product already available. AS apposed to Wabtec's mainline unit.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,754 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, January 10, 2022 2:13 PM

YoHo1975
Not worth it's own thread until it's announced, but UP is, per Trains Newswire, finalizing a contract for Battery Electric yard locomotives. Will be interesting to see what they get.

THey didn't say it would be Progress/EMD, but of course they are the ones that have a yard switcher type product already available. AS apposed to Wabtec's mainline unit.

Thought UP switchers run on graffiti.  

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • 1,102 posts
Posted by Erik_Mag on Monday, January 10, 2022 9:32 PM

One potential benefit from a battery yard switching is near instant throttle response. Back in the 1960's, the Milwaukee put up wires on a number of tracks serving customers in the Butte are because the crews liked the instaneous throttle response. 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,052 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 5:06 PM

Balt shoots...HE SCORES!!!

LOL, Balt! LOL!

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,052 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, January 13, 2022 12:14 AM

Here are a few of Balt's afoementioned graffiti-powered switchers.

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/792475/

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • 4,362 posts
Posted by M636C on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 6:09 AM
All four Pilbara iron ore lines have signed up for battery locomotives... Rio Tinto started off with a Wabtech unit. Roy Hill, also a Wabtech customer followed with an order. FMG, a Progress customer ordered Progress Rail's unit discussed here above. BHP completed the set with orders for units from both Progress and Wabtech. What is interesting is that the reports indicated that units from BOTH builders will be 14.5 MWH with BB-BB wheel arrangements. Peter
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 18,252 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 7:08 AM

kgbw49
Here are a few of Balt's afoementioned graffiti-powered switchers.

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/792475/

Please remember Brian Schmidt's ban on posts discussing the g-word.  I would hate to see this thread taken down or cut up as several others have recently been... Whistling

Peter: any word on which of the Pilbara operators will be modifying diesels for hybrid operation with the battery units?

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • 4,362 posts
Posted by M636C on Thursday, January 20, 2022 8:49 PM

The battery units are due in 2023 or later.

I think Rio Tinto placed the first order with Wabtech, so should be the first to operate one. Rio currently run three units on a train, which I think is limited by a relatively short 2% grade against empty trains. If a 7MWH baterry unit will provide enough power on this grade to replace a Dash 9 or ES 44DCi, then the unit might be able to be put into traffic replacing a diesel.

Fortescue are actively pursuing other aspects of carbon reduction. One of their ex UP SD9043 units is being tested on alternative fuels and has been tested using ammonia. A Dash 8 unit has been purchased from a leasing company to allow similar tests with a four stroke engine.

Fortescue have opted for a 14.5 MWH unit, which might suggest that they will add it to their usual two unit trains so it can work for the whole journey as required.

Peter 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy