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Cost of electrification of Railway line

  • 02-06-2015 5:07pm
    #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Does anyone know approximate cost/km for electrification of an existing railway line such as the Maynooth line?


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,995 Schadenfreudia


    Does anyone know approximate cost/km for electrification of an existing railway line such as the Maynooth line?

    Must be astronomical given that 31 years after the DART opened it hasn't been expanded beyond the coastal strip!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ cargo


    I'd say they might be better off looking at something like the new hybrid rains RollsRoyce and others are looking to push. The batteries are on board and recharge under braking etc. A cost benefit analysis could be undertaken looking at it as an energy storage solution. Getting very futuristic here but there might be a post grad paper in it for someone!!

    Anytime I'm on a train in Germany I start thinking about Irish train electrification and then I get annoyed so i stop..


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    Does anyone know approximate cost/km for electrification of an existing railway line such as the Maynooth line?

    I haven't any numbers for here.
    I saw the WCML in England was electrified for £250k per mile in the '90s on an american webpage, but I don't know if that included bridge improvements etc.

    As far as I know, the overbridges were raised ( well the footbridge in Clonsilla was raised for clearance) so you would be looking at just the catenary and transformer/rectifiers
    And the cost of new rolling stock.

    Assuming the signalling is done up as part of the dash2 project.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,902 ✭✭✭ afatbollix


    Its costing £5 billion to upgrade the western main line to Wales and Cornwall in the UK. Its behind schedule too and over budget.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I haven't any numbers for here.
    I saw the WCML in England was electrified for £250k per mile in the '90s on an american webpage, but I don't know if that included bridge improvements etc.

    As far as I know, the overbridges were raised ( well the footbridge in Clonsilla was raised for clearance) so you would be looking at just the catenary and transformer/rectifiers
    And the cost of new rolling stock.

    Assuming the signalling is done up as part of the dash2 project.

    I am just looking for the cost per km for putting in post to string the wires and put in the electrical supply to produce the juice required.

    Rolling stock is another issue and may not be relevant. Currently there are more than sufficient carriages for the Dart, and depending on service levels, a service on, say, the Maynooth line would only require a couple of railcar sets for each slot per hour. Busy times can be supplemented by diesel railcar sets.

    I am thinking of the cost to extend the Dart from Connolly to Heuston on existing track (through the PPT).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    I don't know if the ppt is high enough for electrification. It would be a big job to lower the floor if it needed to be done and darts need to go to Inchicore for work, so that might add significantly to the cost - i.e. keeping one track open/ movnig works to the Dart line etc.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I don't know if the ppt is high enough for electrification. It would be a big job to lower the floor if it needed to be done and darts need to go to Inchicore for work, so that might add significantly to the cost - i.e. keeping one track open/ movnig works to the Dart line etc.

    I would just like a figure, rather than reasons why it cannot be done or should not be done.

    There are other places where electrification could add to life, e.g. Cobh to Cork. Electric trains accelerate quicker than diesels and allow stations to be closer together.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    Aecom costed it at half a million euros per kilometer of twin track in part 2 of their epic report entitled 'rail vision 2030', which is no longer available online.

    http://www.irishrail.ie/index.jsp?i=4482&p=116&n=237

    To get into the technicalities of it, you could use a 'fixed catenary' (basically a steel rail screwed to the roof) to minimise the space requirement.

    I understand that electrification tends to make sense if you are running services more than every 15 minutes in each direction and doesn't make a lot of sense if you are running much less than that. The running cost, according to aecom is reckoned at €5/km for electric, €6/km for diesel. Obviously this depends on a lot of things.

    Obviously you need trains too. Aecom reckon it at €20m for a 6-carriage trainset, but this seems high to me.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Is that €5/km the cost of running per carriage?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    as i understood it it was 5 euros per train, and I presume that was on the basis of a six-carriage train, because that is what they priced for on the capital side.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 KevR


    Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the difference in cost is in electrifying with a 3rd rail -vs- overhead wires ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    It's not going to make a whole lot of difference, I wouldn't imagine. The electrical plant is the same. What you save on poles you will spend on the rail.

    Diesel trains (at least DMUs) don't really accelerate that much slower than electrical trains any more as far as I know. The design has completely changed in the last few decades. They aren't as smooth, that's for sure. But the choice of one or the other is really an economic one.

    If you have tunnels you will want electric, certainly. But if you are building tunnels, you had better have a reasonably high frequency of services anyhow, otherwise you're never going to get value out of the investment in the tunnel.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    I would just like a figure, rather than reasons why it cannot be done or should not be done.

    There are other places where electrification could add to life, e.g. Cobh to Cork. Electric trains accelerate quicker than diesels and allow stations to be closer together.

    You asked for a price for the Maynooth line. Then you asked for a price for the ppt. I'm pointing out that electrifying a tunnel will cost much more and will skew the figures.

    What you want is a price to electrify Heuston to Connolly?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,902 ✭✭✭ afatbollix


    KevR wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the difference in cost is in electrifying with a 3rd rail -vs- overhead wires ?

    The EU has banned 3rd rail on all new track. It also costs more as you need more sub stations (Every 8km) Where as over head can have one every 60km.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    You asked for a price for the Maynooth line. Then you asked for a price for the ppt. I'm pointing out that electrifying a tunnel will cost much more and will skew the figures.

    What you want is a price to electrify Heuston to Connolly?

    I don't know if electrifying underground would necessarily be more expensive than overground. There are really fewer safety issues with electricity underground than there are overground for example, because you are sheltered from the elements.

    No doubt the PPT would benefit from some TLC, but if it is fit for passenger trains as it is, and you don't want to upgrade the speeds, it isn't going to be all that expensive in comparison to the rest of any project.

    You would also need to build overpasses to carry the extra frequency that would be entailed to make it all worthwhile. You might need this at level crossings with the road and you might need it to link to other railway lines in a way that maximises throughput (i.e., avoids crossing other train lines)

    There is the difficulty of how many trains per hour you can fit through the junctions. But this is really only where the difficulties really start.

    If you open a high frequency service from Heuston or Coolmine, or wherever to the centre city, there is a very real problem of what you are going to do with the trains when they get there. If you want to turn 'em around, you are going to hold up at least one platform and probably two permanently. If you are going to run them on, you are going to have to decide if you are going to reduce the frequency of current services on the southern part of the DART line or if you are going to sort out the level crossings (an expensive thing to do in a low density area. If you reduce the frequency of DART trains on current DART services in favour of trains the Heuston or Coolmine line, you are then going to have to figure out where you are going to park and turn around incoming trains on the existing northside DART service.

    But really, somewhere or other, you need to build a tunnel. A billion-euro type project becomes inevitable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    I don't know if electrifying underground would necessarily be more expensive than overground.

    If you have the height. If not...


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    You asked for a price for the Maynooth line. Then you asked for a price for the ppt. I'm pointing out that electrifying a tunnel will cost much more and will skew the figures.

    What you want is a price to electrify Heuston to Connolly?

    I'm looking for a ball park figure for how much it costs (per KM) to electrify a dual rail line such as the Maynooth line, or any such line - all things being equal. I accept to electrify a tunnel such as the PPT would cost an amount specific to that tunnel. The PPT is not that long and would add a bit to the likes of Connolly to Heuston but I doubt it would double the cost or anything like that.

    Does anyone have an idea of the likely figure?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    0.5 million euros/km


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    0.5 million euros/km

    Thanks for that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,194 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    If you read Irish Rail's 2030 vision, they give an estimate of how much it'll cost them to electrify Cork and Belfast


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    cgcsb wrote: »
    If you read Irish Rail's 2030 vision, they give an estimate of how much it'll cost them to electrify Cork and Belfast

    I read it and they do not give any figures for infrastructure, only passenger numbers and the like.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,188 ✭✭✭ lucernarian


    I don't know if the ppt is high enough for electrification. It would be a big job to lower the floor if it needed to be done and darts need to go to Inchicore for work, so that might add significantly to the cost - i.e. keeping one track open/ movnig works to the Dart line etc.
    Thanks for this, I've asked about this before and I was hoping someone could enlighten me. I imagine, given the points that exist at either end of the tunnel that one tunnel could be closed at a time without too much hassle?

    I have lived adjacent to the line before and I found I rarely heard trains more frequently than every half-hour. This would obviously fluctuate and be higher during busy maintenance periods but I am wondering why that would add significantly to the cost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    A rigid catenary just doesn't require very much height.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,188 ✭✭✭ lucernarian


    I presume there's some other catch to using rigid catenary? I mean, they don't even use rigid overhead catenary on the Shanghai Metro for instance. They use 1500VDC overhead wire catenary, like the DART and the majority of non-Shinkansen Japanese trains. The Delhi metro has it, but at 25kVAC.

    Is there anything in the Dart Underground proposals dealing with the kind of catenary that will be used?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,079 ✭✭✭ antoinolachtnai


    Madrid I believe has low voltage (1500V or 3000 V DC) rigid catenary.

    I think there is a report of a survey of the PPT along with the DU papers somewhere, but I can't seem to find it online now. I really don't know what the head height is, but it looks ok from some of the pictures I've seen. I certainly don't think it's the biggest obstacle to electrifying the tunnel.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,487 ✭✭✭ Mutant z


    Im afraid we will need to relay the tracks before we can start electrifying them.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Mutant z wrote: »
    Im afraid we will need to relay the tracks before we can start electrifying them.

    Why? Did they relay the line from Bray to Greystones, and the line from Howth Junction to Malahide?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,379 ✭✭✭ newacc2015


    Mutant z wrote: »
    Im afraid we will need to relay the tracks before we can start electrifying them.

    Why? The commuter is the same gauge as the DART. It is not that difficult to do if it required

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MKcTbYDP7w


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,372 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    Why? Did they relay the line from Bray to Greystones

    I think they did as there's a lot more trains per day since they extended the Dart.


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,132 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    loyatemu wrote: »
    I think they did as there's a lot more trains per day since they extended the Dart.

    Do you have a link to that rather than just an opinion?


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