Fuel Cells May Find Success on the Rails

Study examines use of fuel cell technology in supplying train traction power, providing electricity to the catenary system that powers the railcars; and powering maintenance yard buildings, railroad stations, and the rail line signal and control system.

Published: 12-Nov-2007

THE Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering recently releas d a report entitled "A Study of the Feasibility of Utilizing Fuel Cells to Generate Power or the New Haven Rail Line." This study was mandated by the Connecticut General A sembly and conducted by CASE on behalf of the state Department of Trans

The purpose of this study was to explore using fuel cells to generate electricity for a variety of applications related to New Haven Rail Line operations. These include supplying traction power, providing electricity to the catenary system that powers the railcars; and powering maintenance yard buildings, railroad stations, and the rail line signal and control system. Although the study’s focus was on the stationary power needs of the New Haven Line, the development of onboard traction power and auxiliary power for rail cars were also discussed.

The study examined all New Haven Line power applications to determine which, if any, would benefit most from the use of fuel cell power, and to identify any technical issues with using fuel cells for these applications.

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