Metra issues challenge to create battery-powered, zero-emission locomotive

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MisterUptempo

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From Progressive Railroading -

Chicago's Metra is challenging the industry to create a zero-emission commuter locomotive by converting an older engine from diesel to one powered solely by batteries.

At its April meeting, Metra's board approved a request for proposals (RFP) seeking manufacturers to propose solutions to convert three of its older F40PH-3 diesel locomotives into zero-emission, battery-powered units.

The RFP will be issued in the upcoming days; the contract is expected to be awarded in the fall and the first solutions are anticipated about 30 months later, according to a news release.
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Ryan

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There's a lot of room for batteries in that car body. I'll be very interested in what comes of this.
 

Seaboard92

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It actually makes a lot of sense on a commuter locomotive. They get used for maybe 2 hours each morning and 2 hours each evening. Some Metra lines are busier and they might get a full day then. Always back in the same home terminal in the evening. I think this is a good place to test it on here.
 

Tlcooper93

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I always wondered why this hasn't been explored already. Given the purpose of commuter locos, it seems like a perfect fit.
Do you think its more econimical/effective than electrifying the Chicago area commuter network?
 

MisterUptempo

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Considering how many Metra commuter lines aren't under their direct control, developing a battery-powered loco may be the only option for Metra to eventually rid itself of diesels. I'm not sure BNSF or UP would willingly permit electrification, even if Metra had the money to do so.

But if, after 2 1/2 years of development, a workable battery loco is found to be impractical, or not achievable, it should bolster the argument that electrification is the only worthwhile option going forward, justifying pressure from legislative and regulatory bodies on less-than-enthusiastic Class Is.

Perhaps Metra, or DOT/FRA, should consider developing a hydrogen-powered loco as well, to run within the same timeframe as Metra's project, as opposed to waiting 2 1/2 years for results on a battery loco, finding it doesn't work, then waiting another 2 1/2 years on the hydrogen experiment.
 

jis

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So what's new? Other than yet another battery powered locomotive project. We are close to be able to get working models. If the operating pattern guarantees sufficient down down time to charge them then they should be quite feasible for coupla hundred miles run at least.

 

MARC Rider

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It seems that battery-powered locomotives would be great for switchers and other yard work, and I know that 20 years ago, they were already working on various kinds of "green" switchers, such as hydrogen fuel cells, hybrids, etc. Has any of that technology moved out of the testing phase and into production? It seems like such power would have a great impact, as yards are places where locomotives are always moving around in a relatively confined area.
 

nullptr

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Considering how many Metra commuter lines aren't under their direct control, developing a battery-powered loco may be the only option for Metra to eventually rid itself of diesels. I'm not sure BNSF or UP would willingly permit electrification, even if Metra had the money to do so.

Ironically, the line they mention using this on, Rock Island, is owned by Metra.

They have discussed trying to electrify it, and EMUs would make sense with stop spacing on the Beverly branch, but that will probably cost more than these 3 battery locomotive.


It seems that battery-powered locomotives would be great for switchers and other yard work, and I know that 20 years ago, they were already working on various kinds of "green" switchers, such as hydrogen fuel cells, hybrids, etc. Has any of that technology moved out of the testing phase and into production? It seems like such power would have a great impact, as yards are places where locomotives are always moving around in a relatively confined area.
I don't have an answer bur Metra also has an RFP out for zero emission switchers, (or 1, at least) .
 

me_little_me

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It seems that battery-powered locomotives would be great for switchers and other yard work, and I know that 20 years ago, they were already working on various kinds of "green" switchers, such as hydrogen fuel cells, hybrids, etc. Has any of that technology moved out of the testing phase and into production? It seems like such power would have a great impact, as yards are places where locomotives are always moving around in a relatively confined area.
And long before that, they were charged with compressed air or compressed steam. They were called fireless engines and used on trams, in yard work, and more.
 

jis

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In addition to BNSF's battery powered locomotive project ... .here are some examples of battery powered regional trains that are already in the process of being deployed...


 

jis

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Here is an example of a Hydrogen (Fuel Cell) powered regional train in commercial service...

 

jiml

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Britain has a project ongoing putting batteries in old subway stock that has been substantially refurbished for above-ground use on short routes. There's a report about it on YouTube a couple of years ago.
 

west point

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An advantage of battery locos is not having to wait for the engine to load . For yard work that makes kicking cars much easier. For commuter it allows immediate acceleration out of stations. However IMO there still is a lot to learn about battery's ability to operate in the rough environment of RRs. High density batteries may not like all the jostling that goes on a moving train ? .
 
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