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Technologies from Exide have been used in Tubeline’s redesign of its fleet of Electric Engineering Locomotives, which are used for engineering support across the London Underground network.

Although the team responsible for the redesign decided to stick with vented lead acid batteries, new production techniques and cell design has allowed for a number of improvements – particularly in cab size, battery-installation procedures and safety.

A prototype locomotive, designation L24, currently undergoing commissioning and evaluation trials, has had 168 lead acid cells added to the new design using a new, efficient and safer method.

The locomotive has also had the driving cab layout improved ergonomically, new equipment fitted, LED lighting and cab access installed, and egress improved.

The locomotives have been specifically designed to have dual traction-power capability.

This enables engineer trains to travel to and from worksites utilising third and fourth rail electric traction current during ‘traffic hours’, when passenger trains are operating, and by switching to battery power during ‘engineering hours’, when passenger trains stop running and traction current is switched off.

The battery power comes from the 168 lead-acid cells fitted within the locomotive.

As well as providing traction power for the locomotives, the batteries also power on-board equipment and lighting, as well as wagon-mounted equipment.

As well as improving the cab space and ergonomic layout, the taller, narrower cells and layout have allowed the battery cells to be installed from the outside of the locomotive via removable panels – enabling the cells to be lifted into position by a forklift truck in banks of 12 at a time.

This has simplified and sped up the installation and removal of cells – meaning that it now takes two engineers 2hrs 20min to change the battery with a forklift – and reduced the handling risks associated with the installation.

This means that the batteries can be changed any time, not just at weekends.

The improvements in cell design, layout and installation have been developed by Exide Technologies, along with Transplant – the Tubelines department responsible for maintaining and operating the Locomotive fleet.

Exide Technologies

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