Former District line tube train to start GWR battery-train trials in west London

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Former District line tube trains* will begin working in West London this Spring as GWR brings a transformed ex-tube prepare to West Ealing for testing.

GWR Class 230 prepare – ex London Underground (c) GWR

GWR introduced plans two years in the past to interchange its diesel trains working the road between West Ealing and Greenford and signed a contract with Vivarail to trial new battery-charging expertise on quick department line railways.

Vivarail had purchased a fleet of previous District line trains and was creating methods of changing them for mainline use on department traces, powered by batteries as a substitute of overhead wires. Nonetheless, Vivarail entered administration in December 2022, however the venture was saved when GWR agreed to purchase the mental property, rolling inventory and tools referring to the FastCharge battery expertise.

The FastCharge expertise goals to unravel the issue of delivering dependable, battery-only trains on department traces, eliminating the usage of diesel traction.

One of many foremost issues with battery powered trains was the time taken to recharge the batteries on the finish of every journey alongside the department line. To unravel that, the FastCharge system can ship charging energy of as much as 2,000kW – that’s eight occasions extra highly effective than Tesla’s Supercharger. At West Ealing, the place the expertise shall be trialled for the primary time this spring, the prepare will take simply 3 ½ minutes to cost the batteries earlier than restarting its journey on the Greenford department line.

Using batteries for prolonged operation has sometimes been constrained by their vary and meant widespread implementation has, till now, not been attainable. It additionally negates the necessity for overhead electrical traces that are costly and influence the panorama.

In contrast to different charging applied sciences, the FastCharge system might be put in between the working rails in just a few hours, with minimal disruption to the prevailing service or, within the case of West Ealing, no disruption in any respect.

It makes use of quick cost rails which are absolutely lined by the prepare and reside solely when the prepare is charging. That is very completely different to third-rail programs the place the rail is reside on a regular basis and is arguably a safer method to take.

The prepare expenses from the cost rails utilizing retractable shoegear (electrical contact pads) fed by two track-side battery banks. These are constantly ‘trickle-charged’ from the grid with a 63 Amp connection akin to a home provide.

After greater than 1,500 hours of testing on the Lengthy Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire, GWR’s Class 230 battery prepare started a collection of check runs on the community earlier this week. The check runs will function between Lengthy Marston, Evesham, Honeybourne and Moreton-in-Marsh. As soon as accomplished, the prepare shall be despatched to GWR’s Studying Prepare Care Depot forward of transferring to West Ealing. As soon as the trial commences in west London, the battery prepare will run in non-passenger service alongside scheduled passenger companies.

So, it’s one thing to maintain a watch out for.

GWR Engineering Director Dr Simon Inexperienced stated: “This work has by no means been achieved earlier than and we’re main the best way to assist the Division for Transport and Community Rail perceive what’s required to roll out this expertise on the UK’s rail community.

“Solely now has there been a mixture of battery functionality and charging expertise that allows a department line prepare to function to the identical timetable as a diesel unit, and but nonetheless cost safely and with minimal influence on the native grid energy provide.

“Clearly our specialist engineering staff have been working round the clock to make sure that this FastCharge system has been absolutely examined and that there shall be adequate cost for the prepare to function to the timetable on the Greenford department line.”

GWR has already carried out simulations on different department traces within the Thames Valley to discover the way it might be rolled out even additional sooner or later. It’s hoped the expertise may at some point see battery-powered trains in operation throughout the UK’s roughly 2,000 miles of 80-plus department traces.

*Sure, they’re not technically tube trains however sub-surface London Underground trains, however most individuals name them tube trains.

This text was revealed on ianVisits


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Author : london

Publish date : 2024-02-08 12:50:58

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