The latest news, trends and data from the rail industry
ith the global rail industry facing increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact, operators and governments are emphasising the importance of finding greener fuels and alternative propulsion methods to cut down on emissions. Electrification and battery power remain at the forefront of discussion around replacing diesel-powered locomotives, but many countries in Europe have highlighted the potential of hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology, which produces electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen in a chemical reaction, and leaves water as the only emission.
The introduction of hydrogen-powered trains on major rail networks is no longer a pipedream. French manufacturer Alstom’s revolutionary Coradia iLint has been a fixture in the headlines since its first appearance at InnoTrans 2016, with the train already running on several lines in Germany, and the company is now in discussions to bring it to other countries, including the US. Both France and the UK have outlined plans to introduce hydrogen-powered trains on their networks by 2022, with the latter testing a hydrogen train demonstrator, named HydroFLEX, on a mainline railway this year.
Recently, a study commissioned by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) analysed the extent to which fuel cells and hydrogen technologies could be introduced within the European rail market. The study showed that some of the current hydrogen-powered rail cases in Europe highlight a positive total cost of ownership for fuel cells, while in others it could be the ‘most adequate zero-emission alternative’.
The amount to be allocated towards Ireland’s heavy rail infrastructure over the next years, according to the Government of Ireland.
The number of passengers that used US operator Amtrak’s services over the 2019 fiscal year.
The date when the final ever Virgin Trains journey left London Euston on 7 December 2019, prior to the takeover of the UK’s West Coast main line franchise by Avanti until 2031
The number of railway staff being mobilised by Network Rail to deliver around 380 separate rail projects to the UK’s network over Christmas and the New Year.
The intended length of the route being built as part of the €6bn Rail Baltica project.
Maximum temperature along the Rail Baltica route, according to a new report into the effect of climate change on the multi-national project.
EU commits $966m to modernise Polish rail network
The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) has selected CloudMoyo to deploy its Operational Testing System (OTS) across all locations. TRRA expects the new OTS to increase safety and ensure that all locations comply with regulations. The OTS solution is a key part of the CloudMoyo Rail Transportation Management (CRTM) solution suite. It leverages advanced analytics to create master test plans and enables testing in the field using mobile devices. This solution integrates with Oracle HCM, Microsoft Active Directory File Server (ADFS) and other systems. It provides a single platform for all tests related to safety and operations. The OTS displays an overview of the progress and status of tests via embedded dashboards.
Nigeria awards $3.9bn Abuja-Lokoja rail line contract to CRC
The Danish Ministry of Transport and Housing has announced that it will begin trials of battery-powered trains on two railway lines in Denmark next year. Battery trains are currently being tested in Austria and Germany. In this development, the governing bodies of Copenhagen, Zealand and Central Jutland reached an agreement with the Danish Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht to allow testing in their districts. From the end of next year, battery trains will operate on the line from Helsingør to Hillerød in North Zealand, as well as on the Lemvig line in northern West Jutland. Prior to this agreement, the ministry conducted an analysis of the operations of battery trains in collaboration with DSB and Movia in North West Zealand. They concluded that the line from Holbæk to Nykøbing Sjælland was appropriate for battery trains. This means that it would be feasible to replace the existing diesel trains with battery trains at the end of their lifespan, in approximately 2025.
Etihad Rail awards $435.5m contract to Hitachi Rail
Alstom has won a €430m contract from the Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence for the renewal and automation of Marseille metro in France. The company will be responsible for the development, supply and installation of the operating system and equipment for the Marseille metro’s automatic operation. Alstom will also order 38 four-car metros with rubber tyres and upgrade the AV passenger information in the stations. The trains are expected to be operating on the Marseille metro by 2024. Alstom said that the trains will operate in a semi-automatic mode until mid-2025 on the M2 line and until 2026 on the M1 line. The trains are expected to be fully automated after this. The new 65m long trains will be equipped with the latest technologies to help improve customer comfort and have a capacity of up to 500 passengers.
Arup Technical Risk project director and senior consultant Albert Law, after rail industry body RSSB appointed Arup to produce a ‘route map’ for hydrogen-powered trains in the UK:
“Safety remains critical to the rail industry’s aim to deliver low-carbon passenger journeys whilst improving customer performance and customer experience. It is vital that we treat the railway as a system, and when deploying new technology, we must interrogate the operational approaches, constraints and regulatory obligations. Managing technical risk early creates an efficient, safe and reliable environment for train operations, delivery and ultimately passengers and freight."
Canadian National Railway executive vice-president and chief operating officer Rob Reilly, after news that the Canadian National Railway had met US requirements for PTC implementation:
“This milestone is a testament to the tenacious dedication of our CN railroading family. It has been a tremendous journey, full of challenges and obstacles, which we overcame. This milestone is a testament to the tenacious dedication of our CN railroading family. It has been a tremendous journey, full of challenges and obstacles, which we overcame. We can be proud that we met our regulatory targets and implemented a broad new portfolio of innovative technologies in geospatial information systems, location tracking, data analytics, machine learning, automation, a new dispatching system and safety and reliability engineering.”