CATS: Tram to operate sans overhead wires; is almost fully recyclable at end of life

Number 38 in the Clean Air Technologies Series.

Electric motors are used extensively. They’re in everything from electric drills and shavers to lawnmowers and buses, cars and trains. The sky is the limit.

That these are used in the railway realm is nothing new. What is new, on the other hand, is the way in which power is delivered to these motors in railway applications – we’re talking “wirelessly,” here.

The French company Alstom, has unveiled its Citadis X05 Light Rail Vehicle or LRV.

The company in “Alstom delivers world’s first Citadis X05 Light Rail Vehicle to Sydney, Australia,” an Aug. 1, 2017 press release, writes: “The impact to the environment will be minimised through increased energy efficiency achieved by the use of electrical braking, permanent magnet motors, LED lights, sensor-based air-conditioning and the use of water based paints and non-hazardous materials for construction. Each vehicle is 98% recyclable at the end of its lifespan (30 years).”

The real beauty of this electric tram is that it produces zero emissions while in operation and in recharging, energy from braking can be stored for later railway use, noise levels are kept extremely low and there aren’t any of those unsightly overhead power wires which many abhor and that for the most part, these vehicles won’t end up in the scrap yard (read: “in the waste stream”) at the end of their service lives.

“The new network power supply equipment includes Alstom’s innovative APS technology – a wire-free, ground based power supply that will operate along two kilometres of the alignment through the centre of the City. The network will also benefit from the application of Alstom’s HESOP reversible substation technologies which enable the LRV’s to recover more than 99% of the energy usually lost during braking. The recovered energy can be re-used to power other vehicles running on the same line, or injected back into the network,” the French firm in the release went on to state.

This is a definite breakthrough in railway operational technology.

Meanwhile, in a later release, Alstom mentions testing.

On this, Alstom writes: “Initially the LRV’s will be tested and commissioned at night on a completed part of the network in Sydney’s eastern Suburbs. The vehicles will initially operate as 33 metre sets and will progressively expand their commissioning of the network as further sections are completed. Testing and Commissioning of the entire fleet of 60 LRV’s with [sic] continue into 2019.”

With sets measuring 67 meters long and grouped together in pairs, trains will be able to accommodate up to 450 people maximum which, by the way, equals that of nine buses of standard design, and thereby enabling a total per-hour passenger-carrying capacity of thirteen-and-a-half thousand, will not only make travel for commuters more dependable but at the same time guarantee lower congestion levels on Sydney’s roadways, that is, when the system is fully up and running, according to Alstom in the release.

This post has been updated.

Image above: Alstom

Leave a Comment