And now, hybrid electric locomotives...

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6 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

Personally, I think natural gas is a great fuel for vehicles in general.  For railway use though, it seems like they are going to 'skip over' and go straight to battery electric with regularized power charging stations.  As I noted to @footeab@yahoo.com the tracks don't move, so it's a lot easier to plan out a charging network, and Battery-electric locomotives basically solve the infrastructure problem of having the whole system continuously electrified.  Locomotives also have a lot more 'down time' when they aren't moving than most people realize, making the charging time a non issue if the stations are in the right locations.  As I noted though, my friends at Caterpillar (and apparently the folks at Wabtec) could be wrong.  Even if they are right, the current fleet of diesel-electric locomotives will still be running the rails for 20-30 years at a minimum.  For an OEM like Caterpillar or Wabtec, that may not be a big enough market to be worth investing in equipment to convert it to CNG, but there are other smaller companies for whom it makes sense to chase that business, and some of the rail lines seem to want it.  If you are trying to predict the future, it would make sense to hedge your bets on both sides of the line, but it's probably safe to assume that diesel-electric will be over and done with in a predictable time frame. 

Here is another story on natural gas locomotives. https://www.railwayage.com/mechanical/locomotives/fec-rolls-out-lng/

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General Motors Co will supply electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cell systems for rail supplier Wabtec Corp's locomotives, in a move extending the No. 1 U.S. automaker's reach outside the automotive sector.

Wabtec, based in Pittsburgh, is developing locomotives powered by electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells in response to rail industry demand to eliminate carbon emissions. It has a test electric locomotive model and intends to build a second generation version, with deliveries starting in 2023.


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On 5/30/2021 at 1:27 PM, Eric Gagen said:

It's probably not any worse than a 'normal' diesel engine, and possibly a little better.  Many years ago I did some work for a guy looking to use CNG barges to transport gas to small Caribbean islands for use in electric power stations which were too small to accept LNG tanker loads.  Basically the 'tender' on these CNG locomotives is just a bunch of tubes that are filled with high pressure natural gas, which is bled off through a regulator to provide fuel for the engine as needed.  As long as the pressure isn't enormous, the tubes last functionally forever, and it's 'just' another kind of fuel tank for an otherwise standard diesel locomotive which has had it's fuel injectors reprogrammed, and it's emissions controls chip swapped out for one tuned for the C/H ratio of natural gas instead of #2 diesel oil.  I am sure someone will pursue it - after all, my friend at Caterpillar may be wrong about the future of fossil fuel locomotives.  

Eric is there any work being done on hydrogen fuel cell powered trains?

It seems to me the infrastructure refuelling issue is far less than with road vehicles and there would be no issues in cold temperatures.

Or is this just not economically viable?

Sorry Jay just seen the above lol

Great minds eh

Edited by Rob Plant

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