< John Speller's Web Pages Flywheel Railcars

John Speller's Web Pages - Projected Railroads

Flywheel Railcars

Back in the early 1980s, when I was living in Birmingham, England, I used to give a weekly lecture in Stourbridge on behalf of the Birmingham University Department of Extramural Studies. I used to travel from Birmingham to Stourbridge Junction and then on the shuttle to Stourbridge Town. In those days this was a single-coach diesel multiple unit, and most of its energy was wasted while it waited at the platform with between runs.

Enter now the railcar operated by flywheel energy. A small inboard motor, which can be diesel, electric or hydrogen, stores its output as flywheel energy, which is then used only the small proportion of the time that the railcar is actually in on trips. Even the braking can be used dynamically to add to the flywheel energy. Two Class 139 units, each accommodating twenty or thirty people, operated a shuttle the shuttle service between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town. A video of them operating on the branch may be seen here and here.

Other routes under discussion include Stourbridge Junction to Brierley Hill on the currently goods only Stourbridge Junction to Dudley line, between Alton and Medstead & Four Marks on the Mid-Hants Railway, and between Taunton and Langport and Somerton on the West of England main line.

The Class 139 units are built by Parry People Movers, Ltd., a British firm headquartered at Cradley Heath, a couple miles from Stourbridge Junction on the line to Birmingham New Street.
A Parry Person Mover "Class 139" flywheel railcar operating on the Stourbridge shuttle. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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