Alstom wins order for new DART (Dublin) fleet

jopsuk

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Battery power to extend Dublin commuter services as Alstom wins DART fleet renewal​

13 December 2021
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IRELAND: Alstom was formally confirmed as supplier of up to 750 suburban multiple-unit cars for Iarnród Éireann as part of its DART+ Programme on December 13, having been named preferred bidder in June.
An initial firm order of 95 vehicles has been placed by the national railway for the Dublin suburban network. This comprises 19 five-car articulated EMUs for the 1∙5 kV DC network, of which 13 will also be fitted with batteries for off-wire operation. The €317∙8m price for the initial order includes substantial design costs for the full framework agreement which is expected to see a rolling programme of train deliveries over the next decade.
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Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, Alstom group CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge and Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority Anne Graham joined Iarnród Éireann’s Chief Executive Jim Meade at Inchicore Works in Dublin to formally sign the contract, with the operator noting that this is ‘the largest and most sustainable ever’ fleet order for Ireland’s public transport network.
Funded under NTA’s National Development Plan 2021-30, the order forms part of the DART+ Programme to more than double the commuter capacity and treble the length of suburban electrification in the greater Dublin area.
Due for delivery from mid-2024 and expected to enter service in 2025, the DART+ cars will be based on Alstom’s X’Trapolis family. Some adaptation of the design will be needed to fit the 1 600 mm gauge Dublin network. Arrival of the new trains will enable the withdrawal of the original DART EMU fleet introduced in 1984.

Longer sets in development​

The articulated five-car X’Trapolis sets will a similar length to the existing four-car DART EMUs, with wide gangways between vehicles to improve passenger circulation. They will have a maximum speed of 145 km/h.
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Future orders are expected to include a 10-car version, which would be the longest train operable on current infrastructure. This would be formed of two five-car half-sets with full bogies on the inner ends of the centre cars but would be gangwayed throughout. The longer sets would have capacity for at least 1 100 passengers.
The design will prioritise PRM accessibility, with each of the low-height doorways being equipped with an automatic retractable step that offers the potential for unassisted level boarding, subject to platform height modifications at some stations. There will be improved facilities for families and cyclists, including dedicated storage areas, and charging points for personal electronic devices, e-bikes and e-scooters.
Modern passenger information systems featuring large TFT screens and aids for those with sensory impairments are to be fitted, as is advanced CCTV with cameras throughout every vehicle. The driving cab design is to be developed jointly with DART crews to ensure an ergonomic and user-friendly design.

Battery power to Drogheda​

Battery traction will allow the trains to run beyond the existing 52 route-km electrified network pending the further extension of wires as part of the DART+ Programme. Rapid recharge facilities are to be installed at some stations to support BEMU operations, while regenerated braking energy will also be used to top up the battery, giving trains an off-wire range of more than 80 km for a recharging time of less than 20 min.
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This should enable Iarnród Eireann to extend DART services as far as Drogheda, where fast charging would be provided. The electric-only trains would be deployed on existing DART services linking Malahide and Howth to Bray and Greystones, in order to maximise capacity. The trains would be maintained at the existing DART depot.
Alstom will provide a range of support services, including three simulators to support driver training. A Technical Support & Spares Supply agreement will cover the first 15 years of operation.

can't say I'm impressed at them going for battery power rather than more wires, but there we are
 
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berneyarms

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can't say I'm impressed at them going for battery power rather than more wires, but there we are
Under the DART+ programme, they are actually planning on electfrifying the lines to Maynooth and M3 Parkway, and the line through the Phoenix Park Tunnel to Hazelhatch (and three platforms in Heuston).

These two parts of the DART+ project (DART+ West and DART+ SouthWest) will reach Railway Order application stage in 2022.

The DART+ Coastal North and DART+ Coastal South plans are due for initial public consultation in 2022, with Railway Order Applications to follow in 2023.

The 13 x 5-car BEMUs are being ordered to expedite the rollout of new stock on the Northern Line to Drogheda pending the outcome of the DART+ Coastal North planning process. They well be ready to enter service in 2025, while the infrastructure will follow, which may include electrification to Drogheda.

More information is at https://www.dartplus.ie/en-ie/home
 

berneyarms

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oh, so the battery investment is essentially temporary?
Well that will depend upon what DART+ Coastal North plans end up being in terms of extending the electrification north from Malahide to Drogheda.

But they will effectively allow for redeployment of 29k stock elsewhere.
 
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Under the DART+ programme, they are actually planning on electfrifying the lines to Maynooth and M3 Parkway, and the line through the Phoenix Park Tunnel to Hazelhatch (and three platforms in Heuston).

These two parts of the DART+ project (DART+ West and DART+ SouthWest) will reach Railway Order application stage in 2022.

The DART+ Coastal North and DART+ Coastal South plans are due for initial public consultation in 2022, with Railway Order Applications to follow in 2023.

The 13 x 5-car BEMUs are being ordered to expedite the rollout of new stock on the Northern Line to Drogheda pending the outcome of the DART+ Coastal North planning process. They well be ready to enter service in 2025, while the infrastructure will follow, which may include electrification to Drogheda.

More information is at https://www.dartplus.ie/en-ie/home

Will electrification be done at 1500 V DC, or 25 kV AC?
 

duesselmartin

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I asked that in a Facebook group. Although I got no primary source, it was said to be at 1500 Volts to be compatible both with the existing system and with the national power grid.
Martin
 

Thewanderer

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The electrification will be at 1500V dc. IE have confirmed this in staff briefings. Didn't hear anything about the national power grid, not sure where you got that from. The reason is to be compatible with the existing electrification. Of course when you start wiring the Cork line, a long term goal is that going to be 1500 v dc or the standard 25kv ac? I can see Belfast being wired to Dundalk or Newry at 1500v dc and then 25kv ac onwards to Belfast.

The new trains for the Enterprise service will need to be capable of operation on diesel, 1500v dc and 25kv ac. Sounds like a procurement nightmare to me.
 

stuu

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The new trains for the Enterprise service will need to be capable of operation on diesel, 1500v dc and 25kv ac. Sounds like a procurement nightmare to me.
Dual voltage doesn't actually need much more equipment so it doesn't have to cause much of an issue, perhaps Hitachi might offer an 800 derivative with an extra pantograph? Alstom have made bi-mode trains for SNCF which are also dual-voltage, although they would need redesigning to fit
 

MarcVD

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Of course when you start wiring the Cork line, a long term goal is that going to be 1500 v dc or the standard 25kv ac? I can see Belfast being wired to Dundalk or Newry at 1500v dc and then 25kv ac onwards to Belfast.

The problem with 25 kV ac is the non symmetrical load taken from the national grid. DC electrification takes power equally from the 3 phases to make DC current. AC electrification takes from one phase only. You need a very strong grid to accept large non symmetrical loads. Not sure the Irish grid would stand it.
 

edwin_m

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The problem with 25 kV ac is the non symmetrical load taken from the national grid. DC electrification takes power equally from the 3 phases to make DC current. AC electrification takes from one phase only. You need a very strong grid to accept large non symmetrical loads. Not sure the Irish grid would stand it.
However static frequency converters, as recently installed in the UK, get round that problem. They can take a balanced load off a 25kV three-phase supply and use inverters to generate a single-phase 25kV for the traction.

Conversely DC supplies need Grid feeders much more frequently, which might be difficult in the more rural parts of Ireland. You could provide a high-voltage feeder along the route to supply the substations, but you don't need it at 25kV because the catenary itself does that job. It's possible to imagine the 1500V extending to the limit of most suburban operations at say Drogheda, and then continuation on to Belfast at 25kV with dual-voltage stock on the Enterprise (not sure dual voltage plus diesel is worth bothering with). The battery units could provide through service to places beyond the voltage changeover by using their batteries under the 25kV wires.
 

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