posted on 3rd Mar 2022 09:38
On 12 April 2021, Arriva Nederland started regular operation of WINKs. These are dual-power units, equipped with both an internal combustion engine and traction equipment for 1,5 kV DC from the overhead line, supplemented by auxiliary batteries. The WINKs now run in diesel mode using HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil), with the auxiliary batteries being recharged from the EDB while the train is in motion and the energy stored in them being used to accelerate the train or to meet the energy needs of the passenger comfort elements when the train is stationary with the engines switched off.
In 2017, when Arriva Nederland ordered 18 WINKs, it was stated that in line with the planned electrification of part of the network served, the diesel engines would later be replaced by traction batteries for running on other non-electrified sections. However, this information was disputed last year when we wrote our article by the parties to the contract themselves, claiming that the provinces in question were moving towards hydrogen vehicles.
In the end, however, common sense seems to have prevailed, and at the end of August 2021 ProRail, Arriva Nederland and the provinces of Overijssel, Gelderland and Fryslân announced that they are working together to test and introduce battery operation of WINKs. As a first step, it was therefore planned to carry out test runs with a WINK adapted for battery operation in December 2021, for which purpose traction batteries were added to unit 605.
Due to covid circumstances, the test runs were not carried out until the end of February this year and were the first ever such tests in the Netherlands. They took place on two non-electrified lines: Almelo - Hardenberg (24 February 2022) and Arnhem - Zevenaar - Doetinchem (25 February). WINK then crossed over to Doetinchem station on Saturday morning 26 February, where it was open to the public, before returning to Groningen in the evening.
During the test runs, measurements were made of the battery discharge and recharge rates when running at different speeds, transitions from overhead line to battery or diesel engine and vice versa were tested, and acceleration when running under catenary and power consumption were also measured. The results will be used in the further development of traction batteries and will also be used to select a zero-emission technology for railways in the (eastern) Netherlands.