Rail Industry Focus

07.11.16

Lighting the way in energy consumption reduction

Source: RTM Oct/Nov 16

RTM’s David Stevenson speaks to Ben Martin, head of asset management at c2c, about the energy-saving programme being rolled out at the operator’s stations.

In an effort to significantly reduce energy consumption, National Express train operator c2c is installing LED lighting at all 26 stations along the route in East London and South Essex. 

The company, which has an environmental motto of ‘thinking about tomorrow with the actions we take today’, said the new lighting will save an estimated 1.2mK Wh every year – the equivalent of more than 700 tonnes of CO2. 

Ben Martin, head of asset management at c2c, said that the new fittings, which will provide brighter light while reducing lighting electricity consumption by 40-50%, provide “a quantum leap” from traditional fittings. 

The programme to replace over 5,000 external light fittings at the 26 stations started in June and will be finished by the end of October, just before the clocks go back. Each light has also been fitted with intelligent control sensors that switch off automatically when no-one is around or as soon as there is sufficient daylight. 

“At this stage, we are replacing all the external lighting. So everything that is in a car park, in a canopy or column will be replaced with LED,” said Martin. “It is quite an undertaking.” 

Discussing the programme of works, Martin admitted there were snags: “Some of the fittings may have been closer to the overheads than you expected, but it was nothing that a bit of careful planning couldn’t resolve. 

“We’ve had a couple of issues with regards to wiring, but nothing that wasn’t insurmountable. We addressed these on a case-by-case basis to allow the project to move forward in a sensible fashion.” 

The team of workers from multi-disciplined integrated service provider MJ Quinn, who have done a lot of work with London Undergroud and DLR in the past, have been working night and day to complete the project. 

Financial savings 

Martin added that the LED lighting, provided by Chinese manufacturer Yaming, will also deliver significant financial as well as environmental savings. 

The cost of the c2c work, which is worth approximately £750,000, should be paid back within five years, he confidently told RTM. 

“We have managed to get a seven-year guarantee on all the products – and that is parts and labour, which is quite a quantum step forward,” said Martin. “It means that our ongoing maintenance costs associated with these fittings for the next seven years is, effectively, zero. 

“From an operating point of view that’s great because, typically, in any given year, we are spending roughly £40,000-50,000 on maintenance of lighting. So, effectively, that spending is now gone for the next seven years. 

“The energy savings, we reckon, are about £130,000 per annum for the remainder of the franchise. But on top of those we get the maintenance savings, and then we have the reduction in CO2 which is about £11,000.” 

While the project is expected to save 1.2mK Wh every year going forward, Martin added that there will be a big push by c2c to extend the savings beyond that figure. 

“The next stage will look at how we can move the entire stations to LED,” he said. “But as part of the external canopy and column lights, we are also looking at a rewiring programme to allow us to switch 50% of the fittings off once the last train has gone through the station.” 

He added that the LED work will form part of the operator’s ‘Smart Stations’ programme, due to be complete by the end of 2019. The aim is to get the enhancement of the controls with all the external lighting done by the end of 2017. 

However, this isn’t all that c2c will be doing as part of its energy reduction efforts. “We are also going to be installing PV at 16 sites, two of which will be depots 14 will be stations,” said Martin. 

“When we have done all of that, and some energy management across the top, there are projections that our energy savings will be up to 40% against the original baseline that we took on at the beginning of the franchise.” 

To give an indication of what the initial energy savings mean, Martin added that they could, hypothetically, provide enough energy to power the operator’s trains for more than 100,000 miles, or 2,500 journeys – which is the number of train services the company runs in an entire week.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

 

Comments

Nickk   07/11/2016 at 18:11

As good as the figures sound, it's barely nibbling at the edges - the addition of Great Western Electrification, Midland upgrade plus HS2 will put an enormous extra load onto the National Grid - taking a look at http://clivebest.com/rgraph/Wind.html on a not-too-cold evening shows the UK gas power stations running at almost full whack, and wind is doing pretty well, but that 4GW could suddenly vanish with a high pressure zone. Come on Government, we need power stations NOW to support these projects, otherwise there will be power cuts (remember the 3-day working week in the '70's?).

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