CRRC unveils “world’s most powerful” hydrogen train
China’s state railway company has unveiled “Ningdong”, the “world’s most powerful” hydrogen-powered locomotive.
According to China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), the new engine can run for up to 190 hours and takes two hours to refuel its 270kg capacity of liquefied hydrogen. It has been converted to hydrogen power from a diesel engine locomotive, in a joint effort between the CRRC Changchun Railway Company and Chengdu Rail Transit.
The Ningdong has several security protections to maintain a high level of safety onboard, including intelligent monitoring and a mechanical interlock on the hydrogen fuel cell system.
Fireproof and heat insulation is included on the Ningdong, as well as a fire-proof wall to isolate the hydrogen storage from the fuel cells. CRRC also says that the hydrogen fuel cells are made using an “explosion-proof design”. An independent ventilation system is also installed for the hydrogen storage room on the Ningdong, which will reportedly replace all the air within five minutes.
Brightline completes Orlando railway extension
Brightline, the only privately-owned intercity rail company in the US, has completed construction of the Orlando railway line extension.
The company says it will launch services between Central and South Florida this September.
The Orlando line extension broke ground in June 2019, one year after operations began in South Florida between its Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations.
Additional stations were opened in downtown Boca Raton and Aventura in 2022 as the 273.5km (170 miles) extension of the railway to Orlando continued.
The company says that construction generated over 10,000 jobs and more than $6.4bn in economic impact for the state of Florida. Brightline is testing high-speed trains on the West Palm Beach–Orlando corridor and says it will test speeds up to 177km/h (110mph) in July.
Alstom launches automated monorail in Bangkok
French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has announced the entry into service of the MRT yellow line in Bangkok, a driverless system able to operate at speeds up to 80km/h.
The introduction of the 30 four-car monorail trains into service follows the 2017 agreement between the Eastern Bangkok Monorail and Alstom to deliver the turnkey Innovia monorail system.
The 30.4km yellow MRT line provides 23 stations along the heavily congested Lat Phrao and Srinagarindra road corridors and plans to link with six other rail lines across the north of the region.
Furthermore, Alstom is set to deliver the system for the MRT pink line, which is expected to enter service by 2024.
The Innovia monorail trainsets were manufactured at the Alstom joint venture CRRC Puzhen Alstom Transportation Systems in China and include a long-term maintenance plan of 20 years.
CMA says Hitachi-Thales merger could reduce signalling market
An investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the proposed merger of Hitachi and the Thales Ground Transportation business could result in reduced digital signalling options for the country’s rail network.
The CMA has said that the €1.7bn (£1.46bn) acquisition by Hitachi found that the two companies are currently “well placed to compete to deliver mainline signalling projects” in the UK.
This means that the merger could reduce the number of credible bidders for digital signalling projects for Network Rail and Transport for London, especially as the two businesses are “global leaders” in the market, according to the CMA.
As a result, the CMA says that remedies to the situation could range from the companies selling parts of their businesses ahead of closing the deal to the merger stopping altogether.
The digital signalling technology works by providing in-cab information to drivers in real-time to allow them to act quicker in advance of upcoming problems on track.
Pilatus Bahnen: world’s steepest cogwheel railway unveils new trains
Pilatus Bahnen, the operator of the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, has rolled out a fleet of eight new energy-efficiency railcars and one freight car into operation at the popular Swiss excursion mountain.
The Pilatus Bahnen is located on Mount Pilatus overlooking Luzern, Switzerland, and runs at an average gradient of 35%, reaching gradients as high as 48% at points.
Built by Swiss manufacturer Stadler, the new fleet is equipped with energy-efficient drive technology from Swedish-Swiss multinational ABB, which the railway says contributes to more efficient, reliable, and sustainable rail operations.
Stadler delivered the double traction rail cars to Pilatus Bahnen as a replacement for the old rolling stock from 1937.
The new trains carry up to 46 passengers each, travelling at up to 15km/h up the mountain, while the descent is at speeds between 8km/h to 12km/h.