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Unread 27-05-2019, 13:31   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default [PR] DART Battery Train Tender Issued

Yes they want to use batteries instead of overhead wires

https://www.nationaltransport.ie/new...sport-history/

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Tender process begins for the largest and greenest fleet order in Irish public transport history
27/05/19

The process to order the largest and greenest fleet in Irish public transport history gets underway today as Iarnród Éireann, supported by the National Transport Authority (NTA), seeks expressions of interest from global train manufacturers for up to 600 electric / battery-electric powered carriages over a 10-year timescale.
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Unread 27-05-2019, 13:36   #2
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The spec which isn't publicly available

Mix of fixed 4 and 8 coach sets of 20-21m coaches
1 toilet per 4 coaches
Battery is expected to weigh in at 3.5-4 tons per coach, life span of 10-15 years for battery
100kph on battery, 140kph+ on overhead
Range of 50km on battery
Immediate need for 500, provision for 100 more in agreement
Maynooth line is first in the queue for the trains


New depot most likely to go in near Maynooth, this will in time replace Fairview
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Unread 27-05-2019, 14:17   #3
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So these can operate 50km from the end of the electrified network. And that is effectively 25km each way. And that means 20km each way because you don't risk running to within it's limits.

I know there are plans for further electrification, but that makes them useless on the Kildare and Maynooth lines. On the Connolly-based lines they would get to Skerries or Wicklow. And the PR release says it's future-proofing against the electrification not being completed.
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Unread 27-05-2019, 14:34   #4
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There is enough to just get to Maynooth and back

BUT here is the stinker you cannot charge while stationary as the overhead wire would melt if you pulled more than about 150amps while stationary. Under full power each 2 coach pulls 500amps so to charge you would need to be able to support much higher currents

So you need a charging module to plug in using something other than the pantograph

The infrastructure to support this starts to get ugly, the wires are cheaper and simpler

And we have been here before, https://www.independent.ie/life/flas...-34252634.html

How green is having to dig up several hundred tons of rare earth elements to make the batteries?

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 27-05-2019 at 14:38.
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Unread 27-05-2019, 18:24   #5
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What is the lead time for having the overhead, substations etc in place and ready for use? Also what about specifications for any new depot or depots? (Let's hope they make a better job of this than was the case for the children's hospital).

With an ever-more urgent need to reduce fossil fuel consumption, what about wider electrification, starting with Dublin-Cork? This should presumably be at 25kv AC from Hazlehatch onwards, which raises the question of dual-voltage EMUs and/or locos. Has any thought or planning been given to this? After all we are supposed to be moving towards electric road vehicles. I would have thought that railways would be comparatively easy to electrify.

Is this the responsibility of TII or the NTA? Does Shane Ross take any interest in such major transport issues?
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Unread 28-05-2019, 00:17   #6
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By any stretch, Heuston-Port Laoise should be electrified.

The Cork Area Strategic Plan allows for electrification between Cork and Mallow.

At that point you have half of Cork-Dublin electrified anyway.
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Unread 28-05-2019, 06:31   #7
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Hazelhatch has been set as the boundary, performance on battery would not be sufficient to run on the 160kph 2 track section.

To be honest we need to pull in the commuting situation if you choose to live 20, 30, 40 miles out you will get a fairly basic service.

The 1500V DC system remains. However if a long distance electrification was to occur it would be 25KV and if Cork goes electric that is the most likely system. Dual voltage trains particularly at 1500V DC are trivial.

The intercity fleet is getting the new hybrid drive and stage 5 engines, for all the talk on emissions rail is already a low emission solution. I've stood next to it, its a great product.

I've been on the Siemens CL Eco CityJet, but thats a retro fit not a new train, the battery isn't green really when you consider having to source 4 tons of rare earth metals per coach to make the battery?
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Unread 28-05-2019, 09:04   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
To be honest we need to pull in the commuting situation if you choose to live 20, 30, 40 miles out you will get a fairly basic service.
Speaking as somebody who spent 13 years commuting 70 miles from Edgeworthstown, this is an odd attitude to be coming from a rail advocate. The reality is that long-distance commuting is the only available option for an enormous number of people living in places like Longford, Athlone and Portlaoise and these people are going to drive if there is no train available.

I've been lucky enough to mostly work from home for the last couple of years but most people commuting to Dublin from around me drive already because the train times have deteriorated so badly over the last few years.

Nobody living in Longford expects half-hourly service but there is a major need to restore evening journey times to what they were 15 years ago and to provide a later service down in the evening (or at least allow passes to be used on the later buses).
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Unread 28-05-2019, 09:48   #9
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Speaking as somebody who spent 13 years commuting 70 miles from Edgeworthstown, this is an odd attitude to be coming from a rail advocate. The reality is that long-distance commuting is the only available option for an enormous number of people living in places like Longford, Athlone and Portlaoise and these people are going to drive if there is no train available.
Got to agree with you here. The reality in Ireland is that if you've got a place to live (whether you're an owner or a renter), it's quite difficult to move to be close to your place of work. The reality is it will take at least another decade to fix our housing situation.

People commuting from the outer commuter belt don't expect a magical service every ten minutes, they just want some improvements to make their journey a little less hellish. For example, I think most people would accept some standing time is reasonable at peak times, but on some routes at present you can be standing close to an hour. I think we should be aiming for a maximum standing time of 30 mins, and hopefully closer to 15 mins on most services.
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Unread 28-05-2019, 10:15   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
BUT here is the stinker you cannot charge while stationary as the overhead wire would melt if you pulled more than about 150amps while stationary. Under full power each 2 coach pulls 500amps so to charge you would need to be able to support much higher currents
The ideal would be to draw enough power to charge the batteries while in motion. If you need 500amps to drive the train, what's required to draw another 200amps for charging? I'm sure trains in other countries draw much more power than the DART. Are we at the limit of what can be done at 1500V?

The ideal situation would be have a train run Connolly to Bray on overhead power, and arrive back in Connolly (or wherever the overhead lines have got to) with fully charged batteries, ready to head out into the unpowered section.

Also, would it make sense to start electrification from the Maynooth and Hazlehatch ends, so the gap is in the middle rather than at the ends?
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Unread 28-05-2019, 12:38   #11
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I think the issue is that the cable will overheat at the point where it connects with the pantograph if the train is stationary and drawing a lot of current. If the train is in motion, the connection point is in effectively in motion and so the resistive heating is only happening in the one spot for a short amount of time.

This battery idea strikes me as being a bit of a greenwash. At face value, the original idea of bi-mode makes a lot more sense if it's a contingency for delays in electrification. If the electrification is a couple of years late, they'll be ripping out a relatively cheap engine with a year or two to go before overhaul rather than a vastly expensive battery with a decade or more life left in it.

Still, at least the 50km range removes the temptation to run high-density commuter units to Sligo.
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Unread 28-05-2019, 16:26   #12
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I know this sounds a bit nostalgic, but over 80 years ago Prof Drumm's patent battery trains were effectively doing 50km on a full charge. So what's with all this fancy new lithium battery technology?

Also as far as I am aware the Drumm trains used to recharge from a fixed point at Amiens Street, using a pantograph..

The more I think about it the more I fear that bi-modal battery trains will be an excuse for not providing a more comprehensive proper electrification.

Also we should not get advice from the UK on electrification projects. They have a cost over-run history worth of the HSE. So for advice go the Spaniards, the Portuguese, the French, or others who have done electrification on fairly lightly trafficked lines which does not appear to cost the earth.
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Unread 29-05-2019, 13:55   #13
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We have to look at the long term sustainability. Irish Rail is hemorrhaging money due to the need to run these 'thin' commuter routes.

So there needs to be a coherent policy which clearly states there will be no increase in service levels. Set out a service pattern and stick to it. You might be able to justify a train out to Mullingar after 9pm but its sketchy.


The whole battery thing is a stop gap, the trains are the longest lead item, no one wants a fleet of trains you cannot use, equally no one wants wires with no trains.

The charging is a problem that needs to be worked out, a train draws power when stationary, the lights, heating, AC are all heavy electricity users which uses up a considerable amount of the power budget

You cannot really charge while accelerating to to do so would result in trips on the substation at peak hours. You can charge while coasting and braking and a marginal amount while stationary. There is a huge impact on the existing infrastructure which is not scoped with this use in mind.

A railway works order is in preparation for the Maynooth line and thats mainly about the level crossings and other supporting works. Irish Rail doesn't want to get into resignaling and electrification until the solution to close all the level crossings is agreed as this has a huge impact on the signaling design and also the overhead wires design.

That said you could electrify M3 Parkway/Maynooth to Clonsilla tomorrow without need for any permissions, equally electification out as far as beyond Broombridge looks sensible until you consider the possible works needed at Glasnevin Junc to increase capacity and also the new station to link to Metro.

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 29-05-2019 at 14:15.
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Unread 29-05-2019, 21:44   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
Hazelhatch has been set as the boundary, performance on battery would not be sufficient to run on the 160kph 2 track section.

To be honest we need to pull in the commuting situation if you choose to live 20, 30, 40 miles out you will get a fairly basic service.

The 1500V DC system remains. However if a long distance electrification was to occur it would be 25KV and if Cork goes electric that is the most likely system. Dual voltage trains particularly at 1500V DC are trivial.

The intercity fleet is getting the new hybrid drive and stage 5 engines, for all the talk on emissions rail is already a low emission solution. I've stood next to it, its a great product.

I've been on the Siemens CL Eco CityJet, but thats a retro fit not a new train, the battery isn't green really when you consider having to source 4 tons of rare earth metals per coach to make the battery?
Dual voltage will have to be addressed, Belfast-Dublin will eventually be electrified. If north of Malahide was 25kv battery would be ideal for the remaining journey but that's not going to happen equally replacing DART wiring without major disruption and cost.

Heuston side should be fine in theory as fast could be separate and in around Heuston would be more complicated with dual merging but easy to get around. Battery ops and D Undergound would solve most complications.
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Unread 06-06-2019, 13:08   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
The spec which isn't publicly available

Mix of fixed 4 and 8 coach sets of 20-21m coaches
1 toilet per 4 coaches
Battery is expected to weigh in at 3.5-4 tons per coach, life span of 10-15 years for battery
100kph on battery, 140kph+ on overhead
Range of 50km on battery
Immediate need for 500, provision for 100 more in agreement
Maynooth line is first in the queue for the trains


New depot most likely to go in near Maynooth, this will in time replace Fairview
I hope RUI will suggest selective door opening should be a spec requirement. It may not end up been widely used however given the ICR spec and subsequent attempts to fit it failing it should be standard.
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Unread 07-06-2019, 15:06   #16
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Earlier I referred to the UK electrification fiasco. There is a really good article in Rail Engineer ("Getting Electrification Right") which should be compulsory reading for anyone looking at the future of rail development in Irland: See https://www.railengineer.co.uk/2018/...ication-right/

Earlier I also said go to the Continent rather than the UK for advice. Correction I should have said anywhere but England. From the Rail Engineer article it would seem that the Scots have done things properly, with huge cost savings.
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Unread 11-06-2019, 10:46   #17
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I hope RUI will suggest selective door opening should be a spec requirement. It may not end up been widely used however given the ICR spec and subsequent attempts to fit it failing it should be standard.
There will be no selective door opening, it is not needed
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Unread 11-06-2019, 11:07   #18
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The feature I would like to see in the spec is automatic wheelchair ramps. I think it's unacceptable that wheelchair users have to phone ahead to arrange to use local transport (and even when they do, there's a good chance the ramp won't appear).

There must be a system that can deploy a ramp at the push of a button?
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Unread 12-06-2019, 09:23   #19
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This is something being sought

Probably at the first door and the very last door on the train, be a ramp which bridges the gap between the train and the platform edge,
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Unread 12-06-2019, 10:25   #20
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I'm guessing that if there isn't a diesel engine under the floor, the floor can be closer to the platform level, so the wheelchair ramp can be less substantial.

Another factor that is important for wheelchair users to use the train without assistance - the location of the wheelchair ramps needs to be predictable (and preferably a wheelchair symbol painted in the right place on the platform). If the wheelchair doors are always the first and last doors, then there's no chance of them getting caught out if the train ends up the wrong way around (though if they don't have the range to get to Wexford, I'm not sure if that can happen).

However, if there's one toilet per 4-cars, will it be within reach of the wheelchair ramp doors?

Eventually, all trains should be accessible without assistance, but until they are there needs to be some way users can identify which services are from the timetable and website.
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