On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

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jhdeasy
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by jhdeasy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:36 am

John_Perkowski wrote:Amtrak went to Head-End Power because they wanted out of the business of having generators on each and every car.

What do folks think ran the air conditioning before Amtrak? Auxiliary power. Axle generators weren't enough.

It's a cost control thing.
The statement pertaining to air conditioning is not an accurate statement.

Air conditioning on the majority of lightweight passenger cars was powered by the individual car's DC battery system, which was charged by an axle driven generator or genemotor (Spicer Drive) when the car was moving, or by standby ground power when parked in a yard or terminal station. Standy power (240, 220 or 208 VAC three phase) powered the motor section of the genmotor which spun the generator sectiuon of the genemotor which produced DC to charge the batteries, which were used to run the 32 VDC, 64 VDC or 110 VDC car. There was only a limited number of lightweight passenger cars that were self-contained with "auxiliary power" provided by a diesel generator or by a propane fueled Waukesha engine-generator unit or a propane fueld Waukesha Ice Engine.
Last edited by jhdeasy on Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tadman
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by Tadman » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:23 am

@Adirondack, according to this link, the size of a larger generator is 48"x25". I know JT mentioned walling off half an amfleet, but I think a space the size of 1-2 rows of seating on one side of the car would suffice.
http://www.norwall.com/product_pdfs/pdf_file_26584.pdf


On another note, there is an alternative in batteries. With the advancement in electric car design for cars such as Tesla and Fisker, battery packs are becoming more durable and price is going down. A Tesla is literally powered by a couple hundred Sony laptop batteries daisy-chained together. Further, Sony has a profit center built around the sale of these battery packs. I know this because a friend of mine is their lawyer, so this is not some dreamy "what if". Battery packs are easy to adapt to a space given their modular nature, so they could be installed under floors or in walls for space and center of gravity concerns. Further, the same shore-power that keeps trains from freezing up in the winter in the yards could keep the batteries charged rather than requiring an axle-generator and the associated headache of carrying a gas generator around. Finally, given the modular nature of these battery packs, they are easily changed out for maintenance reasons - rather than taking a car out of service for three days due to battery problems, it takes an afternoon to pull from service, forklift the old pack out, new pack in, and shunt back to the coach yard for the next run. Again, this shouldn't be perceived as a total HEP replacement, just a limited emergency backup to keep air flowing and lights on for safety.
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electricron
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by electricron » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:32 am

Adirondacker wrote:Half a car of revenue on every run lost to the occasional need for emergency power....
You wouldn't need half an 85 ft long revenue car for backup HEP for an entire train. Look at the relative compact diesel generator arrangement for a Stadler GTW. There's two independent generator drives in that short power car, although just large enough to provide power for just one car, it's also contain power to move the car as well. A backup HEP unit large enough for an entire train could easily fit within half of a GTW power car. About the same amount of space as a large restroom.
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Jtgshu
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by Jtgshu » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:58 am

While I said half a car could be walled off, (it could) for a HEP gen, obviously, that much space wouldn't be needed, they aren't that big. I was thinking of using that other space for baggage car like needs on trains that don't have baggage cars, or trains that don't need a whole baggage car, but could use a little more room for some larger suitcases or bulky items. You know, the stuff that ends up the end of the cafe car usually in the handicap area...and might actually be used as it would be accessible from within the train, unlike a "cabbage" AEM7, which unless they cut a big hole into the end of one, won't be able to be accessed from the train.

With new cars coming on line eventually, instead of losing half a car of seats for an HEP generator and storage space, you would be gaining half a car of seats, as that car (a rebuilt amfleet for example) wouldn't be there in the first place....
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ThirdRail7
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by ThirdRail7 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:22 pm

Jtgshu wrote:There have been and will be in the coming years relatively large numbers of former passenger Geeps and other model locomotives that were used in commuter service, being retired. Most of these locos have seperate HEP motors. They could be purchased for relatively cheap, installed in a baggage car and kicked on when needed by the flip of a switch.
It's funny you should mention this. There was a plan afoot a few months ago to lease some of the MARC diesels that are being phased out of service. The plan was to situate them in strategic places on the NEC. That way, you'd have a rescue diesel that has HEP, cab signals in both directions and is good for 100mph at your service. I haven't heard any chatter about in a while, so I don't know if it is still going forward.

They had one in Odenton. I'm talking about these engines:
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ThirdRail7
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by ThirdRail7 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:39 pm

Tadman wrote: That said, some sort of backup power might be smart for when the motive power dies. If it takes three hours to rescue a stranded corridor train, should there be a power alternative? Not enough to run the full heat/lights/outlets, but enough to power every third light and run the blower fans in order to keep trains safe? This is the critical issue in this thread. Would you advocate installing a small genset on each lounge or diner that could supply emergency limited power to 4-5 cars? When the food service car is restocked at the end of each run, it's also fueled, rather than having a generator on each car that must be fueled and maintained.

I'm not necessarily in support of such, but it's important to straighten out what we're arguing here. There's no reason to reinvent the HEP wheel, but there might be reason to add a limited backup.

That's the trick of it, Tadman. I've heard stories of trains being down for hours without HEP and as previously stated:
TomNelligan wrote: At some point it's not just a comfort issue but a safety issue, especially for seniors.
This is indeed about safety. Retrofitting the existing fleet wouldn't make much sense. However, we're ordering new cars and new locomotives. There is no excuse for not being proactive instead of reactive.

As you mentioned, something to power that can power a few cars, or back feed the entire HEP system for a few hours. It took HOURS to get 2257's equipment out of the area. If 2259 wasn't nearby, it would have been a fiasco, that probably would have been on national television!

Additionally, this train was only 15 miles from New York and Sunnyside! What would have happened if it was the Capital Punishment, the Shore-to-be Late Limited or the Auto Pain?
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Tadman
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by Tadman » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:06 pm

That's why I suggested earlier to equip food-service cars with such apparatus. They already require more intensive servicing than a coach, why not keep the intensity of battery/generator service confined to the problem children, too? I understand Keystone trains don't have cafes, but they do have cab cars which again require more intensive service, being classified as a "locomotive" for the purpose of 90-day inspection.

Also, I love the idea of placing laid-up MARC locomotives at strategic points. It's too bad the resale value of moderate-sized road switchers remains high or this would be a no-brainer.
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MACTRAXX
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by MACTRAXX » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:11 pm

TR7 and Tad: The idea to place former MARC GP40WH-2 locomotives around strategically in the NEC is interesting...
The one problem place will probably be NYP and the tunnels...

Everyone: This topic made me think of the generator cars that Amtrak had when the Amfleet cars were new-later 70s
era-to provide HEP with non-compatible locomotives like the GG1s in the NEC...they were short former baggage cars
in the 690 number series...

When Amtrak went with the compatible AEM7s and F40s their use became no longer necessary...MACTRAXX
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:45 pm

Jtgshu wrote:...Also, it might allow for fuel savings on diesel trains, as the P42s wouldn't need to run at such high RPMs to provide HEP, and could be idled down.
This is definitely true. I don't understand why Amtrak prefers a locomotive without a HEP generator, other than its bad experiences with the SDP40F. Maybe they figure that since the locomotive will be at Notch 6+ much more of the time than for a commuter locomotive, it doesn't matter that HEP requires it to run faster than idle?

That said, a separate car just for HEP isn't really an option. I'm surprised Amtrak hasn't equipped the Cabbages with HEP generators - wasn't that supposed to be part of their usage? Tadman's suggestion of a powerpack in the dining car also is an idea worth exploring, or possibly in a bag-dorm, though I still believe that one or two HEP sources per train is plenty.

Dick H
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by Dick H » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:46 pm

The F40PH 406, that is really a cabbage, does have a generator
and has been used to power the consist during display time of the
anniversary train. I do not know if they use that for HEP when the
anniversary train is in transist or get the HEP from the locomotive.

Ken W2KB
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by Ken W2KB » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:25 am

MACTRAXX wrote:TR7 and Tad: The idea to place former MARC GP40WH-2 locomotives around strategically in the NEC is interesting...
The one problem place will probably be NYP and the tunnels...
NJ Transit regularly stages a protect engine (or perhaps two, one electric and one diesel?) and crew between Newark, NJ and the Tunnel. I belive diesels have been used to enter the tunnels to remove a disabled train on occasion.
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MACTRAXX
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by MACTRAXX » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:10 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:
MACTRAXX wrote:TR7 and Tad: The idea to place former MARC GP40WH-2 locomotives around strategically in the NEC is interesting...
The one problem place will probably be NYP and the tunnels...
NJ Transit regularly stages a protect engine (or perhaps two, one electric and one diesel?) and crew between Newark, NJ and the Tunnel. I belive diesels have been used to enter the tunnels to remove a disabled train on occasion.
Ken-Diesels are used as protects around NYP but I wonder if the GP40WH-2 may be too tall to clear the catenary in the tunnels to NYP...

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David Benton
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by David Benton » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:41 pm

with led lighting , it should be entirely possible to use the onboard battery power to keep a train lit during a hep failure . like wise a small number of outside venting fans to assist with keeping the heat down in Summer . cold shouldnt really be a problem , if it is simply pack the passengers into less cars , and let thier body temp do the work .
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by kitn1mcc » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:47 pm

there is also a whole new generation of solar cells that are coming on the market that tiny
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Greg Moore
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Re: On-Board Generators for Passenger Cars?

Post by Greg Moore » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:07 pm

kitn1mcc wrote:there is also a whole new generation of solar cells that are coming on the market that tiny
Let's do the math. 1000 watts/meter^2. That's best conditions.
We can capture say 15% of that, so 150 watts/meter^2.

Figure train car is 80' by 10', I'll round that to 24 meters x 3 meter or 72 square meters.

So we get 10kw. I have to say, that's a bit higher than I would have expected.

But that's assuming all numbers optimistically. You're going to have shade, sun-angle, cloud cover, night time.

I'd say you'd be lucky to get 1/2 of that. So that's 5.4kw. Could probably run some fans and some lights. AC would be stretching it.

And that ignores a bunch of other issues with the idea. Not a terrible idea, but not a panacea either.
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