The World`s First Solar Powered Railway

Discussion in 'Historic & Abandoned Railways' started by gormo, May 14, 2019 at 10:25 AM.

  1. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Folks,
    I am in Byron Bay at the moment, which is on the far north coast of New South Wales for our overseas friends.
    It is the most Easterly point on the Australian coast line.
    I happened to come across this very short, sort of, preserved railway, which claims to be the first solar powered railway in the world.
    They have converted a couple of rail cars. One from 1942 and one from 1965. There are curved solar panels on the roof of the rail cars, which charges a battery system fitted, I think underneath the floors of them.
    There is a back up charger at the other end of the line....3kms.... in case they strike a run of overcast days, plus diesel loco back up if anything goes wrong.
    We didn`t have much time to talk to the crew as the train was leaving within minutes of me taking photographs and we didn`t have time to take a trip on it, so my information is basic.
    The rail cars are practically silent.........I have video but not enough wi fi allowance at this hotel to upload it.
    Photographs are below.

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    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  2. mikejh

    mikejh Full Member

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    Would only be able to run a few days a year in the UK.

    Cheers Mike
     
  3. steve

    steve Full Member

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    Thanks Gormo.

    Beautiful restoration too
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Will the real Gary please stand up... Staff Member Administrator

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    I believe that set of 620/720 class railmotor (661 and 726) was restored and prepared by the chaps up at Lithgow State Mine Railway, before it was sent to Byron. They done a fantastic job on the two cars.

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  5. Toto

    Toto Staff Member Founder Administrator

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    Beautiful paint job. They look absolutely pristine. :thumbs:
     
  6. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes they are wee rippers and worth a visit if you are in the area.
    Unfortunately a ride on the rail cars conflicted with our time frame, so it was not to be.
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  7. Bazzmund

    Bazzmund Full Member

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    I can see the DfT seeing this as a way to achieve the no diesels by 2040. A kiddies solar battery kit hard wired into a 170.
     
  8. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    More info here :-
     
    Gary and jakesdad13 like this.
  9. jakesdad13

    jakesdad13 Staff Member Moderator

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    What an amazing railway! The fact that they are selling power to the national grid too is fantastic.
    Great find Gormo and a brilliant video, thanks Kim.

    Pete.
     
  10. Gloria Aldridge

    Gloria Aldridge Full Member

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    A lovely railway,
    Might be a cause for network rail to organise in the UK :avatar: I don't think. As mentioned previously the coaches look immaculate a lot of work gone into restoring them by a dedicated team well done to them:tophat:.
    Regards,
    Gloria.
     
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  11. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Good find Kimbo....:thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
    Thanks for posting the video
    :cheers::tophat:Gormo
     
  12. Echidna

    Echidna Full Member

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    Hello All,

    actually, that is a bit of misnomer , as even on an overcast day, solar panels will still generate electricity as light is the activator. Obviously, a sunnier day will generate more electricity, but a cloudy day will still generate some electricity.

    The Centre for Alternate Technology in Dyfi Valley Slate Quarry near Machynllyth, Wales demonstrated this decades ago, and solar and wind technology has come a long way since then. I remember listening to this on ABC Radio 3LO on Robin Williams Science Show ( Melbourne, Australia ), which is still being broadcast to this day.

    As the CAT has been off grid since 1973 the viability of solar powered trains is not as far fetched as you would initially think. I have often wondered if electric trains that utilise power supply systems designed to accept regenerated power, if it would be possible to collect solar power and return that to the overhead or third rail power supply as well. ( I understand that DC current supply can also accept regenerated power, if this is correct, then a whole lot of possibilities are opened up. )

    Regards, Echidna
     

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