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Saving diesel on the railway

 
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:38 am    Post subject: Saving diesel on the railway Reply with quote

Although railways make fairly efficient use of diesel fuel, the rising cost is a matter of some concern and ways to economise are being considered.

A recent study of fuel used by the modern(ish) class 66 freight locomotives showed that as much as 30% of the total fuel used was whilst stationery with the engine idleing.
There is general fear of stopping locomotive engines, lest they fail to start again and cause hugely expensive delays to other services. (in the good old days of BR, locomotives were regularly left running for weeks at a time, if they were known to be problematic re starting)
With the engine stopped, no compressed air is available for braking, and even if the engine starts promptly, delay in setting off will result whilst awaiting sufficient air pressure

In the case of class 66 locos, the starter batteries are rather small, and of a lower voltage than on older designs.
Re-starting after a brief shutdown is no problem, but a brief shutdown does not save that much fuel.
In the case of a prolonged shutdown, then lighting and other equipment may discharge the batteries to the point where starting is doubtfull.

A modification is being proposed whereby the engine will shut down automaticly. To ensure reliable starting, a small auxillary diesel generating set is to be installed that will charge the batteries and supply heating, lighting, air conditioning etc.
This was my idea Smile I am pleased to say.
It was ruled out as adding needles complication originally, but at todays fuel prices is more worthwhile.
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Last edited by adam2 on Mon May 14, 2012 11:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savings are also possible on older designs.
The now old Inter City 125s were recently fitted with new engines, these are not only more efficient at moving the train, but also save fuel when stationery.
If the train does not move for 10 minutes, then engine management system shuts down the fuel supply to alternate cylinders of the engine. It alternates which cylinders are supplied with fuel, about every 10 minutes, for example if stopped at a terminus.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My pet hates about railways (well, stations really) are the noise and the fumes - engines left running for what seems like hours; I always knew in the back of my mind that they would come up with good reasons for leaving them running but still.

Would it not make more sense to be able to plug the carriages into the mains to keep the lights on, rather than run a generator?
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
My pet hates about railways (well, stations really) are the noise and the fumes - engines left running for what seems like hours; I always knew in the back of my mind that they would come up with good reasons for leaving them running but still.

Would it not make more sense to be able to plug the carriages into the mains to keep the lights on, rather than run a generator?


In theory, yes, but in practice no.

In the case of freight locomotives these are often stationery for hours in sidings or at loading and unloading points. It would not be feasible to provide a suitable mains electricity supply at each such place.

In the case of passenger trains then it is possible to provide a mains supply at major termini and this used to be done.
The practice has however fallen out of favour and it is now seldom, if ever used.
Different types of trains use different voltages, requiring either a multiplicity of different supplies, or fitting every train with a converter so as to use standard mains.
At higher voltages and currents the elf an safety would require special training for the persons connecting/disconnecting. A fair bit of diesel fuel can be purchased for the cost of employing such.
If the trained person is not available on time, very costly delay minutes will be incurred by the train company. Several days worth of diesel could be purchased for the cost of a delay.
On many modern trains the air conditioning is directly powered by the engines and would not be available without the engines running.
On most trains the compressed air for braking, door operation, and air suspension is obtained from an engine driven compressor and would not be available without running the engine, unless an aditional electric air compressor was fitted.
And there would still be the slight fear that the engine might not start !

Some modern diesel mulitple units have been modified so that when stopped, only one engine need be run rather than all 3 or 4. Sufficient compressed air and electricity for lighting being produced thus. In many cases no air conditioning would be available in the vehicles without a running engine.

Increasingly customers expect electricity on board for laptops etc. and this is not easily achieved without running engine(s)
Food and drink needs refrigeration on long distance trains, and power may be needed for preparing hot food.

In the future I suspect that Diesel trains will use electricity for ALL auxillary purposes, rather than mechanical drive from the engine.
This would simplify the use of an external electricity supply, or the running of only a single engine when stopped to supply compressed air, air conditioning, refrigeration, cooking, customer power, lighting, and so on throughout the train.

It was all a lot simpler in steam days !
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23700069@N03/5979031416/

Link to picture of train plugged into shore supply to avoid running the engine.
That was years ago though, and is not the norm now for the reasons given in previous post.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like electrification would be a simpler option!
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adam2
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
Sounds like electrification would be a simpler option!


In many ways, yes it would be.
Electric trains though are not exactly improving resilience though, being 100% reliant on grid power.
And of course diesel fuel may be stored against shortages unlike electricity.
Electrification also means many years of disruption, with no effective service at holiday times.

Electrification of the Great Western route is being actively considered at present.
The heritage industry is rushing to try and get the route listed before the work starts, so as to prevent electrification, or least render it unaffordable.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
The heritage industry is rushing to try and get the route listed before the work starts, so as to prevent electrification, or least render it unaffordable.


B****rds!!

They missed saving Reading station which is being demolished now to put more platforms in. I suppose they could object about putting all those nasty gantries trough an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There is always the choice to use diesel to generate the electricity for the electrified railway or even coal or nuclear or wind.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
adam2 wrote:
The heritage industry is rushing to try and get the route listed before the work starts, so as to prevent electrification, or least render it unaffordable.


B****rds!!

They missed saving Reading station which is being demolished now to put more platforms in. I suppose they could object about putting all those nasty gantries trough an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There is always the choice to use diesel to generate the electricity for the electrified railway or even coal or nuclear or wind.


The heritage industry have managed to list numerous structure before electrification starts.
This does not totally prohibit the work, but will probably require a few more years of studies and consultations.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-19045675
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has been found that the air at Birmingham new street station is "dangerously polluted" Some of this pollution is no doubt from road traffic, but the majority is believed to be from diesel trains that wait for some time at new street with engines running.
This station has been extensively improved recently, so much for progress !

As discussed above, there is a great reluctance to shut down train engines for fear that they wont start.

The new shorter DMUs are worse than the old locomotive hauled trains in this respect because they are powered by truck engines under each coach, and the short trains are stopped in the middle of the platform which is enclosed.

By contrast, the old trains had a diesel locomotive or power car at one or both ends. With a full length train, the locomotive was in the open air at the platform end.

I also suspect that the number of DMUs using Birmingham new street was under estimated. Someone probably believed some hugely optimistic timetable for electrification which is already years behind schedule and running at several times the original cost.
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PS_RalphW



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There have been DMU's at Birmingham New Street since at least the 1970s. They were the standard train format on the line from Hereford. I hated going to Birmingham on the train because of the stench of fumes (and noise of idling engines) in the station.

It seems noticeably better in terms of smell and grime these days, but of course the worst pollution is invisible and odourless Sad
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Pepperman



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Went to Bristol the other weekend and the electrification process is well underway.
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