LNG for passenger transportation on rails?

Polish regional railway operator Polregio is interested in using alternative energy solutions for passenger transportation. To this end, the company is examining the possibility to use the LNG-powered locomotives in its activities. The project is being carried out together with Gas-Trading, the company focused on the delivery of natural gas.

More and more railway operators are looking for new energy solutions. Some pay attention to the battery-powered trains, another to the hydrogen vehicles. Polish company Polregio is currently examining the opportunities for using LNG in its operations. In this regard, it is supported by Gas-Trading, the supplier of natural gas to the various customers across Poland.

“Last year we have signed the agreement with Polregio. It stipulates that the locomotives operated by Polregio could be powered with LNG. This project is innovative. Nobody has ever done this in Poland before. The project is underway. We are providing some analysis,” said Tymoteusz Pruchnik, CEO of Gas-Trading, at the conference ‘Railway on energy’ (‘Kolej na energie’ in Polish) which took place on Wednesday, 19 February, in Warsaw.

Infrastructure limitations

At the same time, CEO of Polregio Krzysztof Zgorzelski specified that the project is dedicated to the hybrid locomotive being able to power from the electric wires and LNG. As a result, they will be able to run on both electrified and non-electrified routes and, therefore, the company will manage to offer better connections to the passengers.

Polregio’s chairman also noted that there are infrastructure limitations for the LNG-powered rolling stock. “If something runs on gas, it is not allowed to run via a tunnel. That is the question for us,” added Krzysztof Zgorzelski. It is worth to note that the mainline running via the city centre of Warsaw lies underground. That’s why this type of locomotives can not be used for the connections that start or end in the heart of Warsaw. However, the railway company runs across Poland and, therefore, it could find the routes for the LNG-powered rolling stock.

Polregio

Polregio was incorporated in 2001 as Przewozy Regionalne. As of today, it is owned by the state company Industrial Development Agency and the regional authorities. The railway operator is focused on suburban and regional passenger transportation. It is the largest railway company in Poland in terms of passenger traffic. Last year it carried around 89 million passengers or about 26.5 per cent of the entire passenger traffic in the country.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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