Moveable electrification system could replace diesel shunting

Wellingborough has become the first freight terminal to demonstrate a moveable electrification system that could help eliminate diesel shunting.

Freight trains are typically loaded and unloaded from above, preventing the use of conventional high-voltage overhead cables. 

However, the Moveable Overhead Conductor System (MOCS) instead uses a rigid conductor rail mounted on hinged gantries. Based on a system already developed by Furrer+Frey and in use by LNER and Eurostar, the equipment allows a train to arrive using electric power before the overhead is swung to one side. 

Funded through the Decarbonisation & Electrification of Freight Terminals project, provision of the MOCS at Tarmac’s aggregates terminal alongside the Midland Main Line in Wellingborough (Northamptonshire) was a joint project between Furrer+Frey GB, Tarmac and GB Railfreight. SPL Powerlines installed the equipment.

The scheme is among 30 initiatives that have won a share of £9 million from the Department for Transport, in partnership with Innovate UK, in a competition to develop technology and ideas that can improve journeys, encourage passengers back onto the network, and reduce rail’s environmental effects.

Noel Dolphin, Head of UK projects at Furrer+Frey GB, said: “The electrification of freight terminals is the biggest technological hurdle to net zero rail freight - and we have just overcome it. The demonstrator shows how we can plug freight yards into electrified rail lines and operate them safely and efficiently with the locomotives we already have - meaning greener, cleaner, and better journeys.”

To read the full story, see RAIL 954.

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