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Battery electric traction

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by burnham-t, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. burnham-t

    burnham-t New Member

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    Apologies if this has already been discussed, but I'd be interested to know if any heritage railways have considered battery electric railcars for off-peak service, in the light of the increasing emphasis on "green" energy?
    The Royal Deeside Railway have the experimental 2-car unit that ran on the Ballater branch (very appropriately) and a couple of the German ET 150 (Class 515/815) sets have been preserved in Germany.
    So probably any larger-scale use would require either new build or a conversion of a diesel unit.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. seawright

    seawright New Member

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    My thought is that the capital outlay for the batteries would have been prohibitive however the enterprising Aussies have already run with this idea.
    https://byronbaytrain.com.au/
     
  3. Legrandanglais

    Legrandanglais New Member

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    I was designing a Tender Tank based in an MS&LR 3000 Gallon variety but modified to sit on the ROD tender frames we have - I jokingly called it a 'Hybrid'
    Yes there were questions - What type of Batteries were we going to use, and were the motors going to be in the Tender or the dummy Firebox???
    Yes have a larf - but by the time we finish 567, Boris will have pledged to abolish coal fired traction!
     
  4. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Groundle Glen have a battery loco, as do Laxey Mines. not sure what they use them for though...
     
  5. Ploughman

    Ploughman Part of the furniture

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    According to Preserved Rail Stocklist there are 39 Greenwood and Batley Locos ranging from narrow gauge to Standard.
    Many are ex mine locos.
    Some operational and some listed as scrapped.
    They can often be found to be named as GreenBat.
     
  6. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    For most railways I would expect them to simply not run any trains if demand is that low, so I wonder how many heritage railways actually need to provide an off-peak service?
    (As in must provide, rather than simply providing fewer trains to cover low demand).
    PS. Not criticising the original question, just a genuine interest in the answer to this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    D1039 likes this.
  7. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    As does Amberley's Chalk Pits Museum (Another Groudle link, as this is Polar Bear's home, along with two original GGR toastrack carriages - plus an additional matching new build).

    Listed as 'operational' are a (privately owned) 1917 Brush Traction (from HMEF Queensferry, Deeside) and three 1953 vintage Wingrove & Rogers*, ex-Redland Brick. There's also a 1931 English Electric ex-Post Office listed as a display item.


    * No? Me neither!
     
  8. mdewell

    mdewell Well-Known Member Friend

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    I have 82 battery Electric locos listed in my database (at http://www.heritage-railways.com/locosdb/locos.php). Unfortunately there is no way to search on the webpage by power type, so . . . here is the full list.

    As usual, any additions or corrections gratefully received.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
  9. Cartman

    Cartman Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the North Stafford have one?
     
  10. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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  11. estwdjhn

    estwdjhn Member

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    There are a couple of ex-Spondon locos around. They a four wheel battery electrics, which had pantographs for charging on a siding with overhead wires.
    One is based at Foxfield, but I don't think it's batteries have been in a suitable condition for it to have been run for many years.
     
  12. The Green Howards

    The Green Howards Resident of Nat Pres

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  13. William Shelford

    William Shelford Member

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    At Leighton Buzzard we have NG23, a 48hp Baguley-Drewry Battery Electric loco, built in 1974 for use at RAF Chilmark, a underground armaments depot in Wiltshire.
    Obtained in 2010 it was found to be in very good condition, but in need of new batteries. Once these had been purchased (at no small cost), together with a suitable charger, the loco has been successfully employed as the Page's Park shunter.
    It is now fitted with our standard two-pipe air brakes and can be used on passenger trains if required, as it can run all day on a single charge, before being recharged overnight.
    Three of these were built (and all rebuilt/overhauled by Andrew Barclay in 1987), NG24 is preserved on the Goldern Valley Railway at Butterley, and NG25 on the South Tynedale Railway.
    NG23.jpg
     
  14. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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    265 NCB No4 Westoe Colliery  (Ian H Hodgson) 264b.jpg
    Not forgetting E4 at the Stephenson Steam Railway. Which has been restored to operate using batteries in an attached wagon. It is currently requiring attention to the cells.
     
  15. Robkitchuk

    Robkitchuk Member

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  16. Dan Hamblin

    Dan Hamblin Part of the furniture

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  17. DcB

    DcB Well-Known Member

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    Was interesting that the Vivarail refurbuished Underground d78s run a short s distance temporarily on "fork lift" batteries for the Island line last week.
    One set of the old 1938 stock is going to Epping and Ongar which they hope will run on modern batteries. Presumably using less size than the unit at Action?.

    The Ashover Light railway at the Peak railway also has a small narrow gauge 1926 battery loco from the Spondon power station working which might be open to the public in 2021?
    http://www.alrs.org.uk/site/?page_id=1199
    Video link from someone posted on Facebook! Seems to run very smoothly
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
  18. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    There's the $64,000 question (a figure which, incidentally, looks to be somewhere around the lower end number needed to shift a 25mph 2car set!).

    Around 5 years ago, Elon Musk reckoned a ball-park $100/KWh price for batteries represented the tipping point over ICE costs. At the time, that figure was still north of $600, so Musk's words got gleefully jumped upon by the 'it'll never happen' brigade, who clearly never learn. Tesla, who now manufacture their own batteries, announced the magic $100 barrier was breached a couple of months back. Costs still have a ways still to fall, but the curve is lessening and there's obviously a lower figure dictated by raw materials prices.

    Does that mean now is a good time to go for it? I'd reckon not quite yet. Reason? As battery tech improves, we're on the cusp of 'solid state' cells. From a technical standpoint, sorted for a while now, the hold up has been scaling manufacturing to realistic production levels, which (personal view here), based upon announcements by Toyota, who'd previously been holding back, finally seems to have happened. Keep an eye on the news - even those dinosaurs can't miss this development! The principal advantages of solid state are (1) charge/discharge cycling doesn't degrade the cells (2) fast charging can be a matter routine, with slow charging only dictated when it's cost effective to do so and (3) there's no possibility of overheating during fast charging.

    Further down the road, other cell architectures are being developed, but I suspect nothing will hit the market in less than 5 years. Of these, keep an eye out for Carbon-ion, which would remove the need for rarer, more expensive metals and has all the hallmarks of a real game changer.

    Methinks the best place to start would be reenergising the BEMU, languishing as hauled stock, pending new batteries. Common sense would seem to dictate a close look at the MLV design, before any suggestions to pile into anything more historically sensitive.
     
  19. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Well-Known Member

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  20. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    The ERTMS system is said to be difficult to implement on steam locomotives because it has a significant continuous current requirement. Could you recommend an appropriate type of battery to cope with this?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021

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