Why Not Battery Powered EMU’s For A Vancouver To Chilliwack Rail Service?

As technology advances, the benefits of a “green” electric rail service will greatly increase. The long distance battery powered train is now upon us.

A FLRT Akku battery powered train could be the answer for a regional passenger service in the Fraser Valley as Battery powered trains could be recharged from strategically placed sections of electrical overhead and at major stations, where dwell times could be slightly extended.

It is time that the Metro Region embrace affordable rail solutions for regional transit, than plan for unaffordable and workable solutions, especially when there is no funding in sight for long kilometres of very expensive concrete viaducts needed for the SkyTrain light-metro network.

STADLER SUPPLIES 55 BATTERY-OPERATED FLIRT TRAINS FOR THE SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN LOCAL TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION Stadler has emerged as the winner from the call for tenders issued by Schleswig-Holstein’s local transport association for the supply of 55 battery-operated FLIRT Akku trains with an option for 50 additional vehicles. With it, Stadler has successfully asserted itself against other concepts in the first call for green technology tenders (not diesel) for vehicles with alternative drives in Germany. In addition to supplying the trains, the contract also includes the vehicle maintenance for a period of 30 years. The order volume is approximately 600 million euros.

The unit has a maximum speed of 140 km/h and range of 80 km in battery mode. The battery can be charged from the overhead electrification, from a fixed shore supply at termini and from regenerated braking energy. The three-car unit has 154 seats and capacity of 310 passengers, and is quieter than a comparable diesel vehicle.

It is possible to charge the batteries during operations under the overhead line and also at non-electrified end stops. In addition, the batteries can also be charged with energy generated during braking.

Stadler FLIRT (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train; is a passenger multiple unit trainset made by Stadler of Switzerland. The baseline design of FLIRT is an electric multiple unit articulated trainset that can come in units of two to twelve cars with two to six motorized axles. The maximum speed is 200 km/h (120 mph). Standard floor height is 57 cm (22.4 in), but 78 cm (30.7 in) high floors are also available for platform heights of 76 cm (29.9 in). Bi-mode electro-diesel, diesel, hybrid diesel-battery, or battery versions are essentially baseline design with a power car inserted in the trainset, which contains the electricity generating and storage components such as diesel engines and batteries that would provide electricity to the train to run “off-wire”.

The FLIRT train was originally developed for the Swiss Federal Railways and was first delivered in 2004. The trains quickly became a success and were ordered by operators in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and, most recently (2018), Canada. As of 18 April 2018, more than 1,500 units have been sold.


2 Responses to “Why Not Battery Powered EMU’s For A Vancouver To Chilliwack Rail Service?”
  1. Steve Cooley says:

    Before exploring the exotic power sources, convince the powers that be, that the Chilliwack to Surrey passenger rail will be an asset to BC.

    Zwei replies: electric trains are not exotic.

  2. Haveacow says:

    I am continually amazed that an area like the lower mainland of BC, an area that claims to be so high tech, yet can’t get its head around the simplicity of a regional rail line using already available track. Yet, will spend billions and you guys will be spending billions ($2.9-$3.2 Billion by current estimates) , on a poorly thought out rapid transit line to Langley. Yes, a regional rail line won’t have the operating frequency of the Skytrain but because of the low to medium levels of expected passengers (too low for a Skytrain line, according to Translink itself), the service doesn’t need it, yet. As the need grows the regional line can be cheaply and easily updated, unlike the Skytrain which is horrendously expensive to upgrade. The advantages of this line and operating technology (DMU’s & Battery powered EMU’s) is that, a great many more kilometers of track can be offered for the same amount of money as 17 km of Skytrain.

    Zwei replies: The same rubes in Victoria are now about to hand over billions for a ultras high speed rail link to Seattle and Portland. The mind boggles that they even considered this.

Leave A Comment