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Investigating discontinuous electrification and energy storage on the northern Trans-Pennine route

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2 Author(s)

In July 2009, the UK government announced plans to electrify the Great Western Main Line and the line between Liverpool and Manchester. It has been widely argued that railway electrification is needed on more routes, but it is more difficult to construct a financial case for doing so. One such case is the heavily-used Trans-Pennine route from Manchester to Leeds via Dewsbury and Huddersfield. The main operator on this route, First TransPennine Express, is currently using high-powered diesel multiple units in order to adhere to stringent performance criteria. These trains are frequently overcrowded at peak times, because the route serves commuters who travel to Leeds, York and Manchester from throughout the North of England, as well as longer-distance travellers. Electrifying the Trans-Pennine route would not be an easy task. There are many areas where the railway is built in cuttings, tunnels, on the side of hills and round tight curves. One way to deal with this problem would be to electrify the railway discontinuously, that is to only install catenary where it is cheap and easy to do so. Modern energy storage techniques could then be used to ensure that trains always have an adequate supply of power. This tradeoff would reduce the overall cost of electrification and therefore enable compelling business cases to be established for more routes.

Published in:

Railway Traction Systems (RTS 2010), IET Conference on

Date of Conference:

13-15 April 2010