Incremental improvements will reduce rail's carbon footprint

Although railways have always been inherently energy efficient, the industry is still keen to reduce even further its CO2 emissions. Electrification's contribution to the sustainable railway is complex but worthwhile, offering reliability, performance, maintenance costs and availability benefits. Regenerative breaking is a significant contributor, and is currently undergoing further development. While current from DC electrified lines cannot be returned to the grid, energy can be stored then super capacitors can return power to the lines. In conditions of low receptivity, the regenerative power can drive other railway plant such as escalators. By improving receptivity a virtuous circle is created, leading to less heat dissipation and reduced need for energy to power cooling systems. Hybrid diesel trains, which use batteries to store regenerated breaking energy, are now on trial. This super capacitor technology is also being applied to hybrid trams. Also under review is weight reduction in rail vehicles and the use of computing power to eliminate wasted energy such as reducing idling in stations, and to improve driving techniques. While there are no big breakthroughs waiting to be exploited, it is the relentless pursuit of small reductions which in combination are believed to bring substantial environmental advantages.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 46-48
  • Monograph Title: City Class - 'Going Green'
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 65
    • Issue Number: 716
    • Publisher: Ian Allan Publishing, Limited
    • ISSN: 0026-8356

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01109389
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 25 2008 8:14AM