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Date: 10/31/21 13:23
From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: ABHoffmann

Railroading went from stream engines to diesel power and now possibly to battery locomotion.  In diesel’s infancy, UP brought hundreds of GP-9’s, both A and B units.  Santa Fe did similarly but preferred mainly A units.  UP has NOT purchased new power for years, while BNSF slowly added power to it fleet.  Will battery power soon burst onto the railroad stage with hundreds of units suddenly ordered?  That would allow the technology time and incentive to be perfected.  Newsmakers have sort of been quiet on the issue.  But what is railroading now instore for?
 



Date: 10/31/21 13:31
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: czuleget

I am sure it will not be for any long haul power in the Battery field anyway soon. 
 



Date: 10/31/21 13:49
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: Typhoon

czuleget Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am sure it will not be for any long haul power
> in the Battery field anyway soon. 
>  

Diesel took awhile to break into the heavy long haul power as well. 



Date: 10/31/21 14:33
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: MSE

I can't see this happening for at least a decade, if then. 

Two reasons: the electrical grid is already overloaded and unstable at times. Experts I trust are warning we could be in real trouble if it is a cold winter. Wind power is just too unrealiable (the turbines do not turn if wind speeds are below 6 mph or above 26 mph) and solar too inefficient.

Given that it takes far longer to rechage a battery than fuel up with petrol, I can't see them wanting to take the extra time. 



Date: 10/31/21 15:19
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: callum_out

Hydrogen fuel cells and whatever battery is available.

Out 



Date: 10/31/21 16:16
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: PHall

It would take a couple MAJOR advances in power storage technology for "battery" powered units to take over mainline services.
Regular electrification of the mainlines would be faster and cheaper and not require any major scientific breakthroughs.



Date: 10/31/21 16:24
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: billmeeker

Don't forget about electric.



Date: 10/31/21 16:42
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: Lackawanna484

In some accounts, the switch from steam to diesel might have taken a lot longer if the coal strikes of 1946 and 1950 had not happened.

Some railroads came to a halt, others, with diesels, did fine.

In the long run, Mr Lewis and the miners may have over played their hand.

Posted from Android



Date: 10/31/21 16:52
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: HotWater

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In some accounts, the switch from steam to diesel
> might have taken a lot longer if the coal strikes
> of 1946 and 1950 had not happened.
>
> Some railroads came to a halt, others, with
> diesels, did fine.
>
> In the long run, Mr Lewis and the miners may have
> over played their hand.

On the other hand the switch from steam to diesel would have happened a LOT faster if it had not been for WWII! The War Production Board limited EMD's production of FT units to only about 8 or 10 units a day, since the Engine Production Line was charged with furnishing 12-567 and 16-567 diesel engines for the U.S. Navy, thus limiting diesels for the FT units.



Date: 10/31/21 16:58
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: funnelfan

I doubt battery technology will get to the point of being able to fit inside of a locomotive and run a train for a few hundred miles. It would have to be something more radical like each railcar has it's own battery system and electrical motor to drive at least one axle controlled by the locomotive. To make the railroads run all electrical, it's going to mean overhead catenary so that the power used by trains going downhill can route that power to another train going uphill, or a storage system based on gravity (water pumping, ect). But adding catenary is going to be very expensive and impose it's own host of issues. Fuel Cell technology holds better options.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/21 20:28 by funnelfan.



Date: 10/31/21 17:01
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: Lackawanna484

The limits on American Locomotive Company also restricted their diesel expansion.

Posted from Android



Date: 10/31/21 17:49
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: RuleG

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It would take a couple MAJOR advances in power
> storage technology for "battery" powered units to
> take over mainline services.
> Regular electrification of the mainlines would be
> faster and cheaper and not require any major
> scientific breakthroughs.

Conrail studied electrification of its Harrisburg - Pittsburgh line in the 1970s.  If any line warranted electrification, this certainly would have been one of them, due to its very high train volumes.  The study was undertaken during an era when the price of petroleum-based energy shot up rapidly.  Yet, here we are 40+ years later and nothing has happened.  I believe a major reason for Conrail not electrifying this line and other railroads not electrifying their heavy volume lines has been the extremely high costs of "regular" electrification.  Additionally, the Milwaukee Road de-electrified its two electric segments on the Pacific Coast Extension, again, during an era of rapidly rising diesel fuel costs.

Here in Pittsburgh, Wabtec, Genesee & Wyoming and Carnegie Mellon University announced in September of this year a partnership to further develop battery electric technology for locomotives.  It may not be a "here-now" technology, but Wabtec and Carnegie Mellon University are not stupid and I am more optimistic about the future prospects for battery electric locomotives than others in this thread.   Here's a link to an article about the event at which the partnership was announced:

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/wabtec-genesee-wyoming-carnegie-mellon-form-consortium-for-rail-sustainability-effort/

 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/21 18:34 by RuleG.



Date: 10/31/21 18:04
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: Lackawanna484

Pennsylvania Railroad also looked at electrification of the Harrisburg to Pittsburgh segment in the 1930s, but the war got in the way.



Date: 10/31/21 19:13
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: suvart

We'll have to wait and see how viable batteries can become. I don't know much about what BNSF/the class one's thought about Wabtec's unit, but BNSF's silence and Wabtec's pivot to partnering with Genesee and Wyoming and a university probably isn't a great sign.  

SP occasionally looked at electrifying several mains, dating back to the Harriman days and continuing thru the 60's/70's. Same thing as others have mentioned, the capital costs were just too much for them to justify. The environmental and operational efficiency benefits of widespread electrification would be undeniable, but for something like that to happen you'd probably have to see heavy government subsidies/investment, or maybe some sort of system where RR infrastructure is treated like highway/road infrastructure and the network run via something like open access (that'll be the day).



Date: 10/31/21 19:25
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: 2720

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> PHall Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > It would take a couple MAJOR advances in power
> > storage technology for "battery" powered units
> to
> > take over mainline services.
> > Regular electrification of the mainlines would
> be
> > faster and cheaper and not require any major
> > scientific breakthroughs.
>
> Conrail studied electrification of its Harrisburg
> - Pittsburgh line in the 1970s.  If any line
> warranted electrification, this certainly would
> have been one of them, due to its very high train
> volumes.  The study was undertaken during an era
> when the price of petroleum-based energy shot up
> rapidly.  Yet, here we are 40+ years later and
> nothing has happened.  I believe a major reason
> for Conrail not electrifying this line and other
> railroads not electrifying their heavy volume
> lines has been the extremely high costs of
> "regular" electrification.  Additionally, the
> Milwaukee Road de-electrified its two electric
> segments on the Pacific Coast Extension, again,
> during an era of rapidly rising diesel fuel
> costs.
>
> Here in Pittsburgh, Wabtec, Genesee & Wyoming and
> Carnegie Mellon University announced in September
> of this year a partnership to further develop
> battery electric technology for locomotives.  It
> may not be a "here-now" technology, but Wabtec
> and Carnegie Mellon University are not stupid
> and I am more optimistic about the future
> prospects for battery electric locomotives than
> others in this thread.   Here's a link to an
> article about the event at which the partnership
> was announced:
>
> https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/
> wabtec-genesee-wyoming-carnegie-mellon-form-consor
> tium-for-rail-sustainability-effort/
>
>  

The recent operation of the Wabtec FLXdrive lithium/ion battery
powered locomotive on the BNSF between Stockton and Barstow,
CA. brought out some interesting possibilities of battery powered
locomotives. Being this is a One Off test unit, it was added to a BNSF
locomotive consist to determine viability of battery powered units and
their effect on fuel reduction and CO2 reduction.

During this test period the average reduction in fuel consumption was
11%, with the eqivalent savings of 6200 gallons of diesel fuel and an
approximate reduction of 69 tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

The main drawback is the limitation of only 30-40 minutes of operation
at the full 4400 horsepower output of the locomotive. The batteries are
recharged while the locomotive while the unit is in dynamic braking.

I have not seen or read anything about the amount of time it took for a
full recharge of the 18,000 batteries used in this unit. The recharging
is done during dynamic braking or at a lineside charging station, located
in Stockton at the time of the testing. One thing that did come to mind when
reading about the testing done on the BNSF and a phone conversation
with a representative of Wabtec, was they should look into adding a feature
that could tie the dynamic braking of the other units in the consist to the
battery powered unit to potentially recharge the batteires faster!

I beleive that the push for "greener" alternatives for cars, trucks, locomotives
and even off road agricultural and construction equipment, is going to take
a Multi Generational effort rather than a Right Now mandate.

Even though strides have been made in the current electric vehicles of today,
the production of components of these vehicles still rely on heavy mining and
processing of natural resources and rely on electric power produced using
coal, natural gas, hydroelectric and even nuclear sources!

When this country can produce an electric powered car that has a range of a
minimum of 500 miles, costs under $30,000.00 to purchase and will not cost
an arm, leg and an a**hole to replace the battery pack in the vehicle, then I
say let's continue using all forms of energy available to us, so this country
can continue to move forward at all levels, until we have the truly GREEN
machines that won't adversely affect our environment!

One thing I would like to add, is that ANY manufacturer, ANYWHERE in the
world, MUST be required to develop ways to recycle their products BEFORE
they go on the market! We should not be using ANY product that cannot be
recycled economically and efficiently!

Mike

 



Date: 10/31/21 20:18
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: Gonut1

The long and the short of this debate is the ability of a locomotive to generate it's own power, on board, similar to the diesel locomotive today. The cost of the required overhead catenary is extreme considering the distances required here in the U. S., probably prohibiting any serious installation, outside of frequent comutter operations such as San Francisco, will not be warrented. Whatever power will be eventually support freight transport is unknown today, there will certainly be a replacement for diesel, it is just totally unknown today. In my youth it was predicited to be nuclear, What a dream that was. Batteries, I don't even like my laptop on batteries or even my cell phone. I really don't like reliance on a battery for any application. None!
Gonut



Date: 10/31/21 21:24
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: junctiontower

Where so many people go off the rails so to speak on this is that they see a car that can go a few hundred miles on a charge and go, why not a truck, a train, a farm tractor, a bulldozer?  Well because once you get a car actually moving, it only takes a a few horsepower to keep it moving down the road.  Not so for all of the "heavy haul" vehicles that require high output over a long period of time.  How long do you think you can make 4400 HP with batteries?  The other question is, for what each unit will cost, what will be it's availability, it's maintenance costs, its lifespan? What do you do if you lay out say 5 million each for a few of these and 10 years down the road, new technology completely obsoletes them? When bigger better diesels succeeded the first and then second generation diesels, there was ALWAYS job suited to their lower capability.  Is that going to be the case for locomotives that have an interim battery technology?  Ask anybody who shelled out hundreds of dollars on pre-lithium ion power tools, only to have them shortly be turned into paper weights.  I had to throw away about five hundred worth of perfectly good power tools, because even IF you could get a replacement battery, they would cost more than the tool is worth and and be half as good as the new stuff.



Date: 10/31/21 22:10
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: callum_out

As Mike says, wait'll we start trying to figure out how to dispose of millions of battery cells, znd solar panels, and
prop blsdes and other things that by sheer voluime are worse than nuke wastes.

Out 



Date: 11/01/21 00:25
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: PHall

All we need to solve the power problem is Dilithum Crystals and Anti-Matter.



Date: 11/01/21 05:26
Re: From Steam to Diesel to Battery?
Author: goneon66

callum_out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As Mike says, wait'll we start trying to figure
> out how to dispose of millions of battery cells,
> znd solar panels, and
> prop blsdes and other things that by sheer voluime
> are worse than nuke wastes.
>
> Out 

https://www.americanexperiment.org/it-costs-532000-to-decommission-single-wind-turbine/

66



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