Thursday, June 11, 2009

Of Montréal Electrification

Looks like Montreal could reap the benefits of electrification sooner than others.
Agence Métropolitaine de Transport and Hydro-Québec agreed on May 5 to invite proposals for a study to determine the feasibility of electrifying four of Montréal’s commuter rail routes totalling 250 km.
In Calgary they ride the wind. Here they could ride the wave.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I was talking to the president of the AMT last week and all he made was excuses to not improve things, there was way to much spin going on.

I doubt that they are going to do some thing like this any time soon, the AMT can't even get it right with trying to protect existing lines like the Doney Spur, install CTC on the Dorion line, or re-dubble track part of the St.Jerome line.

Though the AMT also wants to get the same dual-mode locomotives as NJT.

In transit, Andrew

Justin said...

I have a feeling the high cost of those dual-mode locos is why AMT is looking at full electrificatin. It might be cheaper to run smaller, lighter EMU, instead of loco-hauled trainsets.

arcady said...

Last I heard, the dual-modes are going to be $8 million each, which goes a long way toward offsetting the cheaper costs of trailer cars compared to MUs, and of course is much more expensive than regular electric locomotives. And interestingly enough, studies have repeatedly shown that given reasonable traffic levels, maintenance on electric rolling stock plus catenary is lower than just maintenance for diesel locomotives. It's true for Caltrain, it was also true for LA's aborted trolleybus project, and is probably true in Montreal (and New Jersey).

Matt Fisher said...

I believe so. My first train ride was on the electrified Deux-Montagnes Line! This is the only electrified rail line in Canada (I don't, of course, count typical urban rail transit) that I know of.

And in England, it appears they may electrify some rail lines they were gonna electrify before British Rail was privatized. These, in my opinion, should be electrified.

arcady said...

In Britain, I've heard they're planning some fairly ambitious projects: the Midland and Great Western mainlines from London, as well as filling in a few gaps and adding more diversionary routes. Back before privatization, they were planning on having a program of rolling electrification doing 250 route-miles per year.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

That's a huge savings Arcady. Thanks for the update Andrew, it would be nice if someone would set an example of electrification, such as the Milwaukee Road did back in the 1910's

Justin said...

Arcady:
Electrification is definitely going to happen in the UK. A white paper was put recently that determined electrification will be cheaper in the long run.

arcady said...

One thing that's interesting in the UK is that the freight railroads are lobbying for electrification, probably because diesel is more expensive there with the fuel tax. Or it might have something to do with the fact that the biggest of them, EWS, is now owned by Deutsche Bahn rather than Winsconsin Central.

Adam said...

I really think that unless you have more than three stations in a row that are more than five miles apart, there should be some form of electrification. Electrification only has a high up-front cost; the long term costs are very low, plus it allows for faster acceleration (which is especially important for commuter that use very heavy MultiLevel vehicles; NJ Transit runs them very slowly on the Morristown Line even with electrification, and I know these cars are used with diesel locos, and the acceleration there is probably even slower! This is why electrification is a necessity, not a luxury.

Matt Fisher said...

Golly, I started a conversation about rail electrification in the U.K.! I take credit. :)

And it makes me angry that Caltrain won't even electrify yet. Indeed, they appear to just treat electrification as too expensive (for now), but only when focusing on the upfront costs. They're more concerned about these because these are more immediate concerns to them. It would be very beneficial to do this more in California, which is much denser than Sweden. And in Sweden, 65% of all rail lines are electrified! California is as dense as France and Spain, from what I've found.

Anonymous said...

The CN Deux-Montagnes line electrification and that of the MILW has a common link. That being of the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Rwy.

Also the MILW had an influence on electrification of the FS in Italy.

In transit, Andrew

arcady said...

Caltrain has gotten as far as the design stage of electrification, I think right now they're literally just waiting for bureaucratic process so they can get the approvals and funding to continue past 35% design. And they've been working on getting an FRA waiver so as to be able to run european MU trains. By the way, one big reason that Sweden has so much electrification is that almost all of their power comes from cheap hydro and nuclear, as it does in Switzerland too where the railroads are 100% electrified.

Anonymous: is there really any link between the MILW electrification and Italy other than the common voltage? I'm kind of curious, as I don't really know the history of this at all. Who had the first 3000 VDC system? I know eventually it was used on the Milwaukee and DL&W in the US as well as in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Chile, and Eastern Europe/Russia, the latter at some point converted from 1500 VDC.

cjh said...

The Milwaukee Road electrification process is also part of what broke them financially. It was terribly forward thinking and those sections differentiated them from the other roads to the Pacific but it cost five times what they budgeted for the process.

And then they spent yet more money de-electrifying later. What mystifying management decisions by that company...

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the electrification that broke the MILW, it was the management of the MILW that was cooking the books(just as with Enron).

The western part of the company was making money, though it was the part that got trashed.

Matt Fisher said...

What a shame the Milwaukee Road was de-electrified. This was ironically around the time of the 1973 energy crisis.

3000 V DC, by the way, is also used partly in South Africa, the other dominant voltage there being 25 kV 50 Hz. There, some 40% of all track is electrified. And this month next year, South Africa is hosting the World Cup.

cjh said...

Not that anyone will see it but...

Yes, it (or rather the cost of it) was a big part of what did them in. Sure, they were also engaged in "creative accounting" but they vastly overspent on capital projects very quickly.

They had to enter bankruptcy proceedings in 1925 as a direct result of the debt from the huge sum they had spent in the electrification process over the course of 10 years.

If you think this is an argument against electrification, no, its an argument against spending so far beyond your means (regardless of the reason) that you ruin yourself. This is something that basically all railroads engaged in but the Milwaukee was perhaps the most prone to doing so.