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alternates to diesel haulage for freight in the uk in the next 10 years


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10 hours ago, newbryford said:

 

Are any of these new terminals designed for traffic other than containers?

I don't think so; but if a container-handling forklift can use them, then so can ordinary ones. Doncaster Railport seems to have lots of warehousing adjacent to it. I'm not sure about the two terminals south of Derby. 

Highland Spring mineral water are having a siding installed for traffic from their spring; this will presumably go to Daventry, which can handle both vans and containers.

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Perhaps the wagons could become hybrd units,  incorporate battery packs and traction motors,  traction motors which can function as a motor for acceleration/ascending gradients,  or switch to become  generators to recharge the battery when braking or decsnding a gradient (regenerative braking as with a hybrid car)  the locomotive would be  in communication digitally with the loadof wagons

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31 minutes ago, Pandora said:

Perhaps the wagons could become hybrd units,  incorporate battery packs and traction motors,  traction motors which can function as a motor for acceleration/ascending gradients,  or switch to become  generators to recharge the battery when braking or decsnding a gradient (regenerative braking as with a hybrid car)  the locomotive would be  in communication digitally with the loadof wagons

Older readers may remember the 'self-propelled' Lowmac that the RTC at Derby developed. To be more accurate, it was an unpowered wagon, given a nudge by a loco, as they were apparently having problems with an autonomous one.

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2 hours ago, Pandora said:

Perhaps the wagons could become hybrd units,  incorporate battery packs and traction motors,  traction motors which can function as a motor for acceleration/ascending gradients,  or switch to become  generators to recharge the battery when braking or decsnding a gradient (regenerative braking as with a hybrid car)  the locomotive would be  in communication digitally with the loadof wagons


Ferdinand Porsche was a notoriously clever chap, and he came up with something not hugely different from this idea c1912.

 

During WW1, “road trains” that he designed were used by the Austrian-Hungarian army. There was a tractor up- front, with engine and generator, and each trailer had a traction motor. Some (all?) were built to be rail/road convertible, so that they could use rail as much as possible, then swap to road, then split-up and have a couple of horses tagged on for the ‘last mile’.

 

No batteries involved to my knowledge, because batteries were truly awful at that date.

 

More relevant:

 

I honestly don’t see a viable alternative to diesel over the coming decade while there are significant gaps in the electrification of key freight routes in the UK.

 

Priority must be / is being given to port-to-inland-container-terminal routes, and there is a way to go even on that.

 

Many other freight flows are really very difficult from an electrification viewpoint, because they use routes that carry relatively few trains each day, meaning that the Infrastructure costs can’t be spread very far.

 

Personally, I would not put huge resource into developing non-diesel alternatives for main-haul off-juice, because efforts in this area border on being unhelpful distractions. I would focus instead on (1) finishing electrifying the prime container routes; and, (2) getting really, really serious about making electrification cheaper, so that it can penetrate where it is currently unaffordable, which I’m not at all convinced NR has yet focused hard enough on*.

 

Any resource devoted to ‘non-diesel’ for UK rail freight haul should be of the “watching brief” kind, possibly by sponsoring benchmarking work by academics, with the ‘real work’ being done where the markets can bear it, ‘heavy road’, and transcontinental rail freight. UK rail freight is only big enough to be a ‘fast follower’, not a leader, in this field.

 

In the mean time, rail should be promoting the huge advantages it already has for heavy haul over longer distances ........ even using diesel, the pollution produced per tonne.mile of haul on rail is a lot less than by road, because frictional losses are so much lower. 
 

 

 

* Making OLE for low-use routes cheap (again) is one part of it, another may be in using line-side energy storage, to allow low-capacity grid connections to be used where train-frequency is low. Line-side stores ‘trickle-charged” from weak power supplies, then discharged by rarely passing trains, may be a huge help on some freight routes.

 

 

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On 24/04/2020 at 15:09, Nearholmer said:

In the mean time, rail should be promoting the huge advantages it already has for heavy haul over longer distances ........ even using diesel, the pollution produced per tonne.mile of haul on rail is a lot less than by road, because frictional losses are so much lower. 
 

 

 

 

It is correct that railway locos are frugal with fuel and can produce low emissions,   also   HGV Artics are quite efficient/low emmisions( Nox + Pms).   I believe a big Artic  lorry will return 10 mpg when laden,, those HGVs have effective properly engineered  exhaust treatment systems which actually work!   Unlike the  cut-price systems fitted to diesel cars

The  Eu intent of diesel cars before petrol was an under the counter move to favour  the French/German refineries,  and to ring fence the Eu car market to exclude Japanese/Korean  manufacturers

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I think it's worth pointing out that we can actually coast for miles when working diesel hauled freights, saving a lot of fuel in the process - there are numerous places on my route card where I can coast at 60mph with a 66 on a class 6 train for twenty or thirty miles, with the engine idling at around 700rpm. Given a clear run this is very easy, until of course you start hitting double yellows when you've caught up with the train in front of you, meaning when he gets away again you're on the throttle to get back up to maximum speed. Using the gradients to your advantage helps no end too.

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It is a sad indictment that rail has a mature and fully commercialised zero emissions at the vehicle technology which has been in use for many decades but somehow this country managed to make unaffordable. Other transport sectors have faced major challenges to get to where rail was in the 1930's.

 

That said, we will need alternatives to electrification and I think we will see some technology fragmentation.  I think batteries and fuel cells will be suitable for many passenger services but for freight I think the internal combustion engine operating on low/zero carbon fuels is probably the best solution, perhaps with series/parallel battery hybrid systems. There is a lot of development of such fuels, ammonia seems to have a lot of advocacy just now. Personally I'm not too hot on biofuels,  at least not the existing ones. 

 

That said, the big problem for freight in this country is geography. We live in a small country with population quite highly concentrated in a few clusters and with coal use in freefall. Rail is good for trunk intermodal flows but road distribution is still necessary to get boxes to the customer and in many cases those truck journeys can be as long as the rail segment.

 

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17 minutes ago, jjb1970 said:

 

That said, the big problem for freight in this country is geography. We live in a small country with population quite highly concentrated in a few clusters and with coal use in freefall. Rail is good for trunk intermodal flows but road distribution is still necessary to get boxes to the customer and in many cases those truck journeys can be as long as the rail segment.

 

 

Absolutely; One of the ideas regularly put forward is re-opening (or rather, rebuilding), the Port Road from Dumfries to Stranraer, with lorries going to or from Northern Ireland conveyed by train from a railhead, presumably somewhere near Carlisle, to Stranraer, or perhaps Cairnryan, thus avoiding the A75. However, while it is a lovely idea, I can't see how there would ever be sufficient traffic to justify either the huge cost of building the line, or even its operating costs. Unless the rail haul is long enough to give a major advantage over road, eg between the south/Midlands and Scotland, road haulage is likely to be both cheaper and faster than rail.

 

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If the rail journey is long enough overall (probably from the south coast or Midlands at the most) then running to Stranraer via Ayr would probably be viable anyway.

 

"Reopen route xyz" is usually a solution looking for a problem, sadly.

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I don't know what it's like now, but when I worked in electricity generation NR ( or was it still Railtrack?) weren't particularly enthusiastic about extending rail even where potential biomass plants were adjacent to lines. More than once in preliminary discussions the response could be paraphrased as " we're happy to talk if you don't mind wasting everyone's time" so effort concentrated on road transport.

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