Additional Rail Freight Case Studies

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Energy Efficiency Case Studies for Rail Freight Transport

The following Case Studies were first catalouged together from external sources by the Australian Government's Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. Each opportunity listed below contains a number of individual Case Studies that includes a Description of the Opportunity, the Application Relevance, the Potential Benefits and Key Implementation Considerations.


Rail Transport Case Study Opportunities


Engine Switching Locomotives

The applicability of this concept in Australia is limited. Experience suggests that benefits may be accessible only at low throttle levels as there may be some sacrifice of power compared to a conventional single diesel.


AC Traction

AC traction systems replace conventional DC traction motors in a locomotive. They provide higher levels of wheel to rail adhesion and enable less powerful locomotives, or a smaller number of locomotives, to be used for a specific task.


Hybrid Drivetrains

There is limited Australian experience with these systems and the applicability is also low. US studies indicate that benefits may be accessible only when used in low horsepower switching operations, given that full power is needed only intermittently and for only relatively short periods. This limitation is supported by a general lack of linehaul applications using the technology.


Battery Storage and Weight Reduction

Energy storage is a key restriction on range if storage is used. Only one prototype has been developed using this technology. This suggests a long timeframe before a commercially viable system can be competitive and adopted on a wide scale.


Double Stacking

In Australia payloads are subject to lower axle-load limits and have smaller loading outlines on some routes. Double-stacking capability is now permitted with greater clearance on the Parkes–Adelaide–Perth line/segment.


Driver Assistance Software

Driver assistance software uses a portable data logger and GPS receiver which can interface with the train to log location, speed and notch setting. Software then estimates fuel consumption from the data logs to provide instructions to optimise power according to line segment grade and curvature.


Auxilary Power Systems

In Australia a significant amount of dwell time (idling) is spent in passing loops and not in the rail yard, when compared as a proportion of total transit time. At face value, this would indicate that there is a potential need for such systems.


Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes

Extensive trials of ECP braking systems have taken place and Australia is now considered a rapid adopter of this technology across its rolling stock. ECP braking would realise the most benefits in areas of changing terrain where it would allow higher downhill speeds with increased inertia to reduce power requirements when going up the next hill.


Idle Management Devices and Speed Management

Limited idle reduction opportunities exist for main line applications due to regulations that prevent locomotives from being switched off. Additionally, auxiliary power systems may be needed to provide driver comfort in remote locations.


Regenerative Loading / Unloading Cranes

There is a need to ensure that cranes have the flexibility to cater for the variety of container sizes found at Australian rail yards.


Intermodal Train Planning

Intermodal transportation makes the handling of freight simpler, quicker and more affordable by storing freight in containers that can be moved from truck, to train, to ship without having to unload and reload containers.