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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 3:44 PM

A very encouraging step forward. With time they will hopefully see the wisdom of full electrification for the RID.

JMBasquiat Feb 21, 2024 4:52 PM

2027/2028 is such a long lead time.

But they look good and hopefully Metra will also expand these to other lines as well.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 4:55 PM

^Correct. I think it's good to give them a run on the Bev Branch of the RID but ultimately the RID should be electrified and this kind of BEMU tech used on other mainlines that are unlikely to see overhead electrification.

JMBasquiat Feb 21, 2024 4:57 PM

Yeah, absolutely. I don't think we're likely to see electrification on the UP and BNSF-owned tracks and they're the busiest lines in the system anyway.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 5:01 PM

^Yep. And I think Stadler or other vendors will likely make a bi-level BEMU in the near future that will be essentially an equivalent to the current Metra bi-level fleet, sans locomotive. I know Caltrain ordered a few for Gilroy but I think that's more of a battery storage modified regular Stadler KISS than a specific bi-level BEMU.

Bonsai Tree Feb 21, 2024 6:53 PM

I could see these augmenting off-peak service on other lines in the future. If Metra really wants to increase frequency, these could be the perfect fit. I think bi-level BEMUs are probably a ways away since they are still retrofitting EMDs and have the outstanding order from Alstom for new cars. Alstom is being slow af though with that order and is an utter shitshow right now so who knows.

I am curious what their plan is with the MED. The current fleet cannot last forever, and they'll have to transition to new sets soon. I'm hopeful that this order means they'll go with Stadler for the MED (hopefully KISS).

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2024 7:04 PM

Seems like DMUs would be the better choice, not having all that battery weight to pull around. But maybe there's free federal money for battery-powered stuff.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonsai Tree (Post 10148603)

I am curious what their plan is with the MED. The current fleet cannot last forever, and they'll have to transition to new sets soon. I'm hopeful that this order means they'll go with Stadler for the MED (hopefully KISS).


The IC Highliners ran for about 40 years so I don't think it's going to be any time soon, unless they sold them to some third world country where they'd fit right in aesthetically.

Klippenstein Feb 21, 2024 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10148632)
The IC Highliners ran for about 40 years so I don't think it's going to be any time soon, unless they sold them to some third world country where they'd fit right in aesthetically.

This does seem like good news for a potential MED to Union Station connection. It'd have to be able to transition from wires to battery to make that switch no?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 10148618)
Seems like DMUs would be the better choice, not having all that battery weight to pull around. But maybe there's free federal money for battery-powered stuff.

I read somewhere that batteries are only 10% of the weight, but I haven't been able to find the specs. I wonder how long it takes them to recharge.

Busy Bee Feb 21, 2024 9:26 PM

Depending on the technical specifics and design of a charging system, a BEMU wouldn't necessarily have to be so loaded down with battery array weight that it looses it's efficiency edge with power consumption. Battery capacity could be engineered "just enough" so it has enough energy to make it to the next station which would feature a fast charge pantograph (or max ability to skip up to a couple stations and still run under own power) on lines highly unlikely (unless the energy zeitgeist gods change the Class I railroads minds) to receive OCS overhead electrification like UP and BNSF. Enabling express runs utilizing BEMU trainsets though seems like it would still require a distance of OCS so batteries could charge in motion. Speed of quick charge would be of upmost importance as dwell time increases would and should be a non-starter.

I would just like to acknowledge that this entire conversation about BEMU tech on one of the countries busiest commuter rail systems is an extremely American conversation. Most contemporary nations would just invest in full electrification - and would have done so decades ago.

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2024 9:47 PM

The countries you have in mind were heavily reliant on coal-fired electricity, and didn't have easy access to diesel prime movers (patents still in place) during the interwar and postwar years when they made the decision to electrify. (More recent high speed rail networks are electrified for other reasons). Branch lines throughout Europe commonly use DMUs.

In the US, we had diesel-electrics by the 1930s, and so didn't have to face the insane expense of stringing wires for a few dozen trains each day. Only the Illinois Central had to bite that bullet, and now Metra faces the cost of maintaining that expensive legacy.

Nouvellecosse Feb 21, 2024 9:49 PM

Battery vehicles tend to be heavier depending on how much range they have, but nowhere near enough to outweigh their greater efficiency. A battery powered vehicle has near universal efficiency advantage over internal combustion vehicles of the same size since so much energy is lost through the process of burning fuels to convert it to usable power. Over half the energy in the fossil fuels is lost as waste heat. And unless it's a hybrid vehicle which is also heavier than a standard ICE setup, you also lose energy every time you stop since all your momentum is also converted back to waste heat by the braking process.

And ICE vehicles aren't all that light either. They have to carry big tanks of fuel which battery vehicles don't, and the fuel burning engines are also much bigger and heavier than electric motors. So yes ICE vehicles are usually a little lighter but that's pretty much irrelevant for most aspects of operation. The only thing that really beats battery vehicles in efficiency are those using overhead wires.

Chicagoguy Feb 22, 2024 2:04 AM

Speaking of Metra, the new bi-level Alstom cars were originally scheduled to be delivered beginning in 2024. Do we know if these are still in line for delivery this year?

JMBasquiat Feb 22, 2024 2:38 PM

I think they said that production would start this April.

Alstom is very late with these, which is a real shame. Metra needs the new cars badly.

electricron Feb 22, 2024 4:51 PM

While discussing batteries on Stadler built trains, I just wanted to point out Merseyside Rail in Liverpool experience with battery equipped EMU third rail metros. These are 4 car, 5 trucks, first and last trucks motorized, metro trainsets. They have the two options besides third rail shoes, they have space for batteries or transformers under the cars for catenary power through a pantograph.
They have found the range they could extend the train using batteries is around 15 miles, some have reported up to 20 miles, in normal weather. They are studying how far they could go in winter weather this winter, so the results have not been published. Many speculate as low as 10-15 miles in winter. So I suggest an extension beyond third rail will probably be limited to 5-6 miles.
Regular operations have to run in the cold of winter just as much in the heat of summer.
Of course, they could run the trains further, up to the 10-15 miles if they were willing to park the train at the terminus, non-third rail station for multiple hours, because the batteries will charge much slower in cold weather. Not likely to occur with a service frequency of every 10-15 minutes.

Whenever looking at using batteries for propulsion, do not ignore the effects of cold temperatures on battery performance, in both the discharge and charge cycles. Too many of us have in the past.

Randomguy34 Feb 22, 2024 5:47 PM

Here's a video of the new Stadler trainsets. Since they're charged by overhead wires, they could implement partial electrification on some of the lines so that trains can turnaround faster after completing their route

Video Link

electricron Feb 23, 2024 3:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10149415)
Here's a video of the new Stadler trainsets. Since they're charged by overhead wires, they could implement partial electrification on some of the lines so that trains can turnaround faster after completing their route

Video Link

From an accommodating news release, these trains from 100% full charge will have a range between 45 and 65 miles. The Beverly branch of the ex-Rock Island Corridor is 16.3 miles. So even in winter, a round trip 32.6 miles in length, should easily be achieved by these trains. So they probably only need to recharge the batteries at one of the terminus stations. Stadler reports it takes 25-30 minutes to recharge the battery from 20% to 80% charge. If they had charging stations at both terminus stations, after just 16 miles of travel, it would take far less time to recharge the batteries to 80%.

Those are ifs. Another if is at what battery temperatures these facts occur at? Will the battery compartments on the trains be heated, and if so how?

The news release also suggests 8 two car FLIRTS (BEMU) have been ordered, 80% of the funding coming from CMAQ funds, and 20% form Illinois sales taxes. METRA has options at the same price for an additional 8 two car trainsets, and 32 additional trailers. If all the options are used, that would be 16 four car trainsets. How the options would be paid for was not mentioned.

If you are wondering how the interiors of these trains could appear, besides the video linked, there are many videos on line from TexRail in Fort Worth and Arrow from San Bernardino on youtube. Even reviews from several youtube train reviewers, like Simply Railways.

ardecila Feb 29, 2024 4:22 PM

Metra CEO Derwinski announced yesterday they are looking to boost speeds on Metra Electric from 65mph up to 79mph, and maybe even 90mph. Apparently it just requires some minor upgrades to the signaling and OCS power systems.

At 65mph, the express trains on the Main Line do Homewood-Hyde Park in 20 minutes, and Homewood-Millennium in 37 minutes. Per my back-of-envelope math, boosting speeds to 90mph would reduce this to about 16 minutes and 32 minutes respectively. There's not as much benefit for local trains, since they won't have time to get up to 90mph between stops.

Busy Bee Feb 29, 2024 4:37 PM

Wow... that is good news.

Randomguy34 Feb 29, 2024 6:21 PM

There were a lot of tidbits Derwinski shared at the meeting during the Q&A portion. He mentioned the CTA is looking at a station near Ogden/Lake, which Metra has to account for when considering transfers to their potential Fulton Market station


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