Traction à la mode

Informed Sources

Cutting edge analysis of the issues which really matter

■ Hydrogen bubble deflating

■ Batteries in the ascendant

■ Electrification delay boosts hybrids

■ Freight setting the pace

With options for traction power equipment proliferating, I thought it was time to produce a layperson’s guide to the technology available and its potential roles in the currently evolving market. As ever, the aim will be to cut through the hype and demolish some current naïve claims and expectations.

Note that I won’t cover bi-modes for passenger services, because they are already with us. While not ideal in either mode, they do provide flexibility. As I write this, when the East Coast main line was closed for engineering works LNER was able to run its Hitachi Class 800 Azumas around the GN/ GE joint line, while Lumo’s allelectric Class 803 services had to be cancelled south of Newcastle.

To establish the baseline, there is classic diesel and electric traction. In the UK this is fast becoming a rarity for a number of reasons, including air quality concerns and the uncertainty surrounding the scope and pace of future electrification respectively. Providing versatility has a price, but is also gaining in value.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

I have a subscription but need to register on site…

You will need your print Customer ID ready to set up an account, you'll find this on your welcome email and cover sheet delivered with each print magazine.

Register now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers