Experts say fuel prices would have to double to make it a feasible option
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/11/2013 -- A battery-powered train capable of traveling over 600 miles on a single charge is now a possible reality according to experts.
Such a technology is apparently available, and could be ready for use much sooner than most would have anticipated, according to a government-commissioned research study.
The study was ordered by the Department of Transport with the significantly more serious goal of attaining understanding regarding ways that trains could run on difficult-to-electrify line. This posed a particular problem as fossil fuel and diesel are likely to become less and less cost-effective over time.
Experts who had been working on the behalf of the Transport Research Laboratory looked into two specific options, both a small battery and a short range or a larger battery for inter-city travel.
The latter seems to be the more feasible to experts, and would involve a relatively larger battery weighing nearly eight tons rather than two, which would propel a train nearly 600 miles at a time.
Using digital models of rail trips, Stratford-Upon-Avon to Birmingham was used as an example, and experts noted how such a train could and would run. The conclusion was that the battery power is "a feasible option for providing electric traction on parts of the rail network where full route electrification is not viable".
According to John Molyneux of the rail arm of the Lloyd's Register group, diesel prices would have to more than double in order for the battery-only train to be necessary. Still, the understanding of how it ought to work is what is so compelling to experts.
"I don't think we'll see these trains in my lifetime," he said. "But they may eventually come, out of necessity rather than of choice. It would be because of fuel prices and the environment."
"The problem with electrification is things like tunnels, bridges and stations," he said. "They're the killers because you've got to break the overhead and you can't have a continuous run.
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